Generation Z as a pivot point
One of the greatest concerns of clients in recent times has been the declining effectiveness of marketing campaigns. It is no coincidence that this trend has increased as younger generations of consumers have been incorporated into brand strategies and as they occupy a significant place in brands’ business objectives.
The problem seems to lie in how media strategies, and specifically digital media, have been driven to generate impact on younger audiences. This is especially the case when it comes to Generation Z (aged 16 to 20), but we also see it with a slightly older age group, Generation Y, also known as Millennials (aged 24 to 34).
It is time to be more mature in our digital strategies, basing decisions about a brand’s digital activity on the likely business impact for each option and on indicators that measure the true usefulness of digital channels. We need to assess data on digital interaction with brands, and understand that this does not correlate with growth in sales. We are obviously speaking about digital awareness, but we shouldn’t forget that favorability and consideration can decrease unless there is careful management of a brand’s digital budget,
We see, in our AdReaction “Gen X, Y, Z. Engaging across generations” research, how digital campaigns need to be qualified: targeted at the consumers who are most interested in a particular category or brand, and delivered at a time and place that is most likely to generate a favorable response to digital ads.
In short, this means making the most of programmatic platforms and DMPs (data management platforms) to guide campaigns to produce positive results for a brand and, ultimately, stronger sales.
In our research about the impact of digital campaigns, consumers tell us that the time has come to minimize the use of annoying formats; they want content to be adapted to the space in which it will be shown, not to repeat over and over again online a message you have probably already seen on television.
Analyzing the total impact of a media strategy on a given brand provides strategic learnings on how to maximize their return on investment in this new environment. For example, it allows us to know whether using online video provides incremental exposure to a campaign among light TV viewers, and therefore inform future changes in our investment model. It can also provide us with valuable information on the role that each medium plays in a campaign, and help us understand any synergies between online video and the point of sale.
It is vital that brands understand the behavior of these new consumers; their habits have developed quickly, and these habits have launched trends that will quickly become habitual behaviors.
Consumers are drawn to brands they feel are interesting to them. So, let us be relevant to them, tell them stories they want to hear at the times they want to hear them, and let them participate in the content. Don’t just talk about participation and giving opinions. Let them customize content and even co-create with the brand. We must be more careful in managing a brand’s digital presence; the channels must work for the brand, not the other way around. Brands lose out when they compromise themselves to match the objectives of a particular channel. Yet often they continue to massively invest in these channels, which have requirements that detract from the quality of the message.
And we also need to be conscious of the size and capacity of the screens that consumers are using and adapt the content to them. Advertising should not only be adapted to the smaller screens of a mobile, but also adapt to the way people use them. Technology is a powerful creative tool that our younger consumers understand very well. They incorporate it into their daily life; advertising must do the same.
Finally, let’s measure what matters and brings value. Each campaign has an effect on the brand, and each specific media works in a different way, so brands need to measure what each element delivers. There are often synergies between channels that are especially effective at boosting brand consideration. Similarly, there are some digital campaigns that get their objective regarding leads but that generate negative sentiment. This is a business problem, as the client risks adding consumers to their CRM programs who have low purchase intention.
In summary, we must take advantage of the changes brought about by the habits of new consumers; we must change with them, learn from them and improve. Now begins a new era for brands, in which it is necessary to adapt marketing strategies and work in an integrated way, understanding that channel, message and experience are – for the consumer – happening simultaneously. Pivot now, and the effect on a brand will be positive and enduring. Are these not fascinating times?