It’s not been an easy time for brands but Devon MacDonald, President at Cairns Oneil, the strategic planning and buying agency, has some solutions as we hit the fall
We’ve all been through another year of change with a realization that it will never be ‘normal’ again. Beyond our lives at home, this has left marketers with the very real sense that there are more questions ahead before they finish off the year and ready for the next.
With that in mind, and using our strategic knowledge of the media industry, there are three key trends that marketers can appreciate, embrace and capitalize on right now.
A big two years for TV
Are you kidding? You thought we’d say TikTok or the Metaverse. But, no, we see real opportunity in television in the next 24 months. While we have seen client metrics focus on lower funnel success, we have also witnessed renewed understanding and interest in building awareness, and the importance of this in terms of brand building. So, of course that means TV right? Yes, but it is different. Today “traditional TV” doesn’t need to be measured by reach and frequency.
We should instead chart outcomes. The deployment of targeted buying of traditional TV through products like Bell’s S.A.M. and Corus’s Cynch can give even the most modest spend a chance to deliver awareness and consideration at scale. Add Connected TV (CTV) to this and, in the next 24 months, new streaming access to audiences of Disney+ and more, can deliver real scale for cord-cutters and traditionalists alike.
For clients comfortable with broadcast television, CTV and OTT present opportunities to expand their current awareness programs to new consumer sets with existing creative assets. For clients who have shied away from television in the past that are attracted to the audience-based targeting and digital video performance metrics that CTV and OTT provide, this combination of OTT and traditional is a terrific recipe for success, at affordable investment levels. These opportunities are equally providing a demonstratable link to again showing how awareness can support performance
Making the most of fragmentation
There is a danger of diminishing audience performance within Demand-side Platforms (DSPs) as reach is impacted by privacy changes and content erosion. We continue to evaluate and onboard tech (including DSPs) for our internal trade desk CO2. This can also benefit brands with their own desk in terms of consultation on additional tech, target building and data activation.
Now it’s time for TikTok. The social platform’s initial audience size was partially fueled by the pandemic, but it continues to grow. Video formats on other social platforms are looking to replicate that success in building engagement so that they aren’t left behind. In relation to this, we have been talking fragmentation since the introduction of MuchMusic and TSN in Canada. The proliferation of content opportunities across OTT and CTV are also building on the increasing fragmentation of time across social. But can you name the platform where you last watched a hit show? Don’t worry, most people can’t either.
In both cases we are encouraging clients to continually explore options, but to ensure that strategically they remain focused on the platforms that best support their business objectives. That’s because there’s a real danger in chasing trends while not increasing budgets. Performance can be severely impacted if spend is spread too thinly across platforms, leading advertisers to wonder why certain KPIs look strong, but the outcomes disappoint.
Invest to grow
Study after study has shown that advertising, especially when it comes to brand advertising, aids in the long-term health of a brand. So, no problem, let’s keep spending, 2020-22 was a glitch right? But the budgeting process is the toughest of all right now, and whether clients have had a banner year or are still working out of the pandemic impacts, this budget season has been difficult for all. With uncertain economic times ahead of us and supply chain issues lingering globally, marketers now also have “economist” added to their job descriptions.
We know for certain though that the brands that paused marketing during the pandemic had the hardest time climbing out of it. Private companies might be more open to the idea of continuing to invest spend as supply chain challenges are solved and the fear of recession fades. The pain of reduced EBITDA for one or two years will be offset by a much healthier future. And what about the opportunity cost? Holding, delaying, are natural options but being proactive here can pay off in terms of preventing competitors from entering your category or solidifying a first-to-market position.
As a result, we believe consumers are looking for value and choice and will scrutinize each decision in the household. That presents an opportunity for both new and existing brands.
Where do we go now?
In terms of next steps, each of the three trends re-enforce the importance of goals-based planning. To encourage this, we’re integrating client web and sales data with media performance to level-up decision making because it’s clear that using data to make informed decisions and measure results is paramount to success.
More fundamentally, if you work back from business objectives to make informed decisions and create smart media opportunities then you will win in your category. And then do the same in 2023.
Cairns Oneil is a member of the Institute of Canadian Agencies. Report on Marketing is where leading Canadian agencies showcase their insights, cutting-edge research and client successes. The Report on Marketing provides a valuable source of thought leadership for Canadian marketers to draw inspiration from. Find more articles like this at the Report on Marketing.