Chris Jefford, founder/strategy director at Hometown, discusses what he believes to be the five things that marketers will need to know about consumers in 2014.
1. They will spot you jumping on the marketing bandwagon a mile off.
If 2013 taught us anything it was that the birth of royal baby George did not provide brands with a shoo-in to send out a pointless piece of direct marketing, or worse, a slap-dash Facebook post with the picture of a crown super imposed onto a product. Consumers deserve to be credited with more intelligence than that, and they can spot a bandwagon brand a mile off.
The major event next year will be the World Cup, and woe betide the brand that reels off some loosely-fitting, highly questionable marketing activity to try and cash in on the sporting glory. The World Cup's global marketing plan will already be a cluttered advertising landscape, so any brand attempting to join in needs to demonstrate some real added value to the experience of this event. Otherwise they will find themselves joining the failures of marketing past in Private Eye's “Desperate Marketing” column.
2. This was the year of content and now consumers expect it as standard.
It's been the ongoing debate all year: will 2013 be the year of content? If the Sainsbury's Christmas campaign or Coca-Cola's “Share a Coke” work is anything to go by, then yes, it definitely was. The upshot of this means that multi-channel storytelling and the sharing of content is what consumers now expect as standard, rather than it being an added engagement tool for a brand campaign.
3. Confidence is big, bold, brave and creative. And that is contagious.
The UK has slogged through the worst recession in decades and we have all lived through the slow, hard road to recovery. Consumer confidence and retail sales have been understandably low year on year, but 2013 has seen a slight improvement. Consumers are spending cautiously still, yes, but they are spending more, and this years' introduction of Black Friday really did act as a boost to retail sales and consumer sentiment.
Starting with this backdrop of slow, cautious growth therefore, businesses can start to take the bold steps forward that consumers will look to that signal business confidence, which means making big, bold and brave creative campaigns. Creativity will be an important stronghold in consumer confidence in 2014, because confidence is contagious.
4. Microtargeting is being welcomed in the home.
The developments in the microtargeting space have come thick and fast this year, from Sky's TV ad tailoring service AdSmart to Apple's iBeacon. AdSmart gives brands the opportunity to target specific audiences during live TV breaks, while it lets consumers see more of the products they are interested in. iBeacon is Apple's location-sensing technology that pushes relevant ads, product information and offers to its customers' devices when in store, and could signal a complete turnaround in consumers' experience of the retail space.
While iBeacon has been described as “the internet of things in your pocket,” consumers are increasingly comfortable with tailored advertising coming into the home, through their TVs and their individual devices. And the technology is no longer the clunky, blindly-firing-ads-into-the-ether prototypes of the past; it is intelligent and it's only going to get more sophisticated.
5. Remember that consumers are humans.
The excitement of increasingly predictive models of data analysis for brands, of the ability to track digital footprints and to use this to identify new emerging consumer trends, means that when developing new products or campaigns and bringing them to market, it is easy to lose the human being's place in the marketing activity.
Consumers are people, and they won't respond to advertising that doesn't take into account their very real and functioning lives outside of a new product. At Hometown London, when we try to solve a marketing problem for a client, we place their consumer in an empty room and then build a profile of their lives. We then see where there is a place for the client's brand to add some values in their lives. We call this human-focused advertising.
First published on mandmglobal