After a long winter and emotionally burdened by a pandemic that continues one year later, consumers are likely eyeing springtime with some hope. For merchants and brands, Vic Drabicky, chief executive officer of January Digital, this is the time to key into their needs and fuel their optimism.
Drabicky, whose firm offers media, data analytics and strategic consulting, said retailers and brands should roll out campaigns immediately and infuse it with what consumers need right now: joy. And they also need to meet the consumer where they are, which is increasingly on paid social and connected TV. For the spring and summer, the messaging is as important as the channel where it is delivered.
“Brands need to find ways to bring customers joy,” Drabicky said, adding that the past year has been challenging, and apparel retailers should not only offer the right fashion, but present it with positive messaging.
For marketing executives, Drabicky said the past year created significant headwinds for them in regard to developing impactful campaigns simply because of the pandemic’s unpredictability. “Companies have to be agile in their marketing. We may think we know what the future is going to bring. But consumers have developed new habits, which will be lasting. So, brands and retailers need to have not just one marketing plan, but two or three while also being flexible and ready to adjust.”
When asked about the accelerated digitalization of fashion apparel and retail, Drabicky described it as a significant challenge, and found that brands tended to do two things in response. “They broke into two categories with one group immediately doing product and marketing testing while the other group just retreated back, taking a more conservative approach.”
The more nimble and agile companies that tested “outperformed the conservative companies, hands down, and across the board,” the CEO noted.
Aside from testing often and being agile, Drabicky said brands need to diversify their digital marketing efforts, “which means looking at connected TV [CTV] and paid social,” he said. With CTV, the channel is affordable and allows for more creativity versus traditional TV. Drabicky said the same creative used for YouTube can be used for CTV, and can even be done in-house.
In a blogpost earlier this month penned by Tierney Wilson, managing director of January Digital, Wilson noted that “CTV has become as impactful as (if not more than) any other marketing channel at engaging customers in a digital forward environment.”
Wilson noted that while there are misconceptions that CTV has “infinite barriers to entry,” the channel is as accessible to brands “as any other performance media channel, such as paid search or paid social.” She wrote that the targeting and measurement capabilities, “in tandem with no upfront investment requirements, makes CTV a must for any brand looking to push their digital marketing strategy and capitalize on a channel that enables audience-first targeting.”
According to January Digital, there are more than 84 million households who are streaming CTV, which is six million more than cable TV subscribers
Drabicky said due to all of these changes in the market, shifts in consumer behavior and the accelerated digitalization of the industry, companies need to consider putting digital channel spending into the core of their marketing plans.