The Drum’s Can-Do Festival recently ran a panel where participants discussed the new sector of consumers created by the global pandemic from which the world is currently trying to recover. With extraneous outings restricted and physical locations closed, consumers were forced to look for scarce necessities in places they don’t usually frequent. Combined with the fact that a large number of people also picked up a hobby or two, shoppers are looking for things they don’t regularly purchase at places they might not have even known existed a few weeks ago. The question now is: Will these new consumers, many of whom have never interacted with brands they’ve recently discovered and purchased from, continue to purchase in the same highly digital ways they have been? Personalized retargeting company Criteo’s answer is most likely.
Know Who Your Customer and Identify Them
According to Criteo: “Our results showed that 85% of those who found a new brand are planning to purchase through them again. These new online shoppers are certainly here to stay. And in terms of stickiness, it’s all going to come down to knowing who your customer is and being able to identify them.”
Brands and businesses of various sectors rarely experience such a drastic influx of consumers unrelated to their marketing efforts. In a time where every conversion and dollar counts, brands are faced with the daunting task of speaking to and holding those new customers—a group they might not even know much about. Though the world is at various phases of re-opening, there is a fair amount of consensus that the physical and browsing method of shopping most consumers are used to may never return in totality. And so, the success of brands in the coming months and year will lie in their ability to bridge their brand experience gap between physical and digital experiences for all consumers, new and returning.
New Digital Expectations
Meeting the digital experiences consumers have come to expect doesn’t come easily to every brand. This is especially true for brands whose core purposes or products don’t translate to digital as seamlessly as others, this includes sectors such as gyms, pubs/bars/restaurants, group classes, and other activities that rely on physical locations. However, Think with Google reports that: “Since the beginning of March, search interest in online shopping and how to buy online has grown by 2X worldwide. In the U.K. alone, online shopping soared to become 30% of retail sales in April, up from 22% in March.”
And no matter whether your brand embraced digital completely pre-COVID-19, or only to a mild extent, there’s been an unmistakable increase in digital brand presence and aspects that brands need to incorporate to their core functions. A McKinsey study enforces the understanding that by embracing digital to the extent consumers expect can give brands an undeniable advantage in the marketplace. Steering your brand to a level of digital maturity so that it can offer a branded digital experience for consumers is no longer a question of ‘being on the cutting edge’, it’s become a necessity and a crucial aspect to the customer experience.
Six Factors for Digital Maturity
Ahead of the curve, as usual, Think with Google reported last year that having best-in-class digital marketing could bring brands back as much as 20% extra revenue, at 30% lower costs. This was a pre-COVID era and so only 2% of businesses could be classed as such, with most other brands being in the early stages of digital maturity. Now, a mere year later, digital maturity has become a key success point in business. What brings a brand to digital maturity? According to Think with Google’s report, it comes down to six traits:
- connecting first-party customer data across multiple touchpoints
- linking marketing objectives for unified brand goals
- automating tasks and tailoring messages for maximum impact
- establishing strategic partnerships with shared marketing objectives
- training and hiring for advanced data science and analytical skills
- having agile multifunctional teams with an established test-and-learn culture
With the majority of people, as consumers and workers, spending more time at home and online than ever before, your brand’s digital assets and online customer experience are of crucial importance. It’s imperative to the success and future of your brand that your assets bridge the gap from physical stores to a curated online experience.
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