How Marketers Can Adjust to New Consumer Behaviours

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By Kaila Mathis

From Covid-19 to the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement and concerns regarding sustainability, 2020 has brought big changes for businesses and their customers. These events have propelled a shift in what consumers prioritize in their shopping, as shown in a new study from customer engagement platform Braze released.

The events of the past six months have brought an increased focus on brand values, reliability of products and alternate purchasing methods, according to the study. Consumers are also keeping a close eye on companies’ responses to the pandemic—no longer is brand familiarity enough to hold on to customers.

Understanding these consumer behavior shifts can guide the decision-making of brand marketers during the quickly approaching high-pressure environment of holiday shopping (especially as they try to make up for dips in retail spending over the past few months). Here are four key takeaways from Braze’s findings.

Focus on mobile acquisition

Consumers who shop online are 10 times more likely to make a purchase—and 12 times more likely to make a second purchase—as opposed to shopping at a brick-and-mortar location.

This finding coincides with a 60% increase in digital acquisition from Q1 to Q2, a jump that Myles Kleeger, president and chief customer officer at Braze, said is four times larger than a typical quarter-to-quarter increase.

Braze doesn’t see the mobile trend ebbing any time soon. While 86% of respondents expect to be comfortable returning to physical retail stores within the next six months, 83% of them will continue to shop online as much or more than they have in the last few months because of the pandemic.

Kleeger explained that even older generations are interacting more with ecommerce and mobile ordering services, simply because they had no choice when brick-and-mortar stores closed. This led to higher rates of comfort using mobile services, which then turned into new habits.

He recommends getting consumers signed up for online messaging, whether that is push notifications, text messages or email marketing (where revenue has skyrocketed by 86% during the pandemic), and constantly look for ways to engage shoppers in new ways, such as online delivery, BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store), and new mobile apps and web experiences.

Target your messaging

Personalization at scale is now possible. Marketers can define a target audience, study their behaviors, and tailor ads to their wants and needs. Now, more than ever, Keegler said companies need to figure out their targeting strategy.

Each generation and demographic has different priorities right now. Brazen found that Gen Z cares the most out of all age brackets about price (though another recent study said Boomers were the ones more likely to seek out deals). Millennials react to brands’ responses to Covid-19. Gen X is trying new brands, and sticking with them. Boomers are the most comfortable shopping for food and beverages in stores.

These differences in behavior require tailored messaging to each group. Making ads reflective of the audience you are looking to acquire is incredibly important.

“Figure out the type of customer you’re looking for, find out everything you can about their purchasing patterns, lifestyle choices, habits and so on, and then determine the best way to reach them,” said Keegler. “If you can do that through mobile, your likelihood of gaining loyal consumers seems to be a lot higher right now.”

Remember that your audience is human

In times when consumers are struggling with health concerns, unemployment, social justice issues, and a multitude of mental and physical burdens, brands have to remember to be respectful in their messaging.

“Understand who you are, who your customer is, and when it is safe to be advertising proactively, as well as when it is not,” said Keegler.

If you don’t, now is the time when consumers will make you pay for it. “You have to be in touch, or else you risk getting shut out,” he added. “They will drop you, they will move on to something new, and then you’ll never see them again.”

So before you decide to move forward with a new campaign, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Is it relevant to the times we’re in?
  2. Is it helpful or valuable to consumers?
  3. Is this ad something people will truly care about?

And if the answer to any of those questions is no, save the ad for when it will be more appropriate.

Learn to do more with less

Ad spending is down, especially in sectors such as retail that took a big hit from the pandemic. This means that with less revenue coming in, marketers will have to get more creative with their spending habits.

Keegler advises companies to emphasize engagement and retention metrics to make sure the success of campaigns is lining up with the dollars spent on them. When those dollars are running low, look to more cost-effective ways to reach consumers, such as creative social campaigns.

When campaigns do require significant spend, ensure they reach audiences that will be likely to engage and make a purchase.

Credit: Ad Week

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