The supply chain may be slow this holiday season, but marketers can’t afford to be. Here’s how marketers can move quickly to stay top of mind for consumers despite supply and shipping complications.
Marketers must always be agile in their holiday campaign planning, as they juggle consumer demand with their brand’s ability to fulfill orders. This is becoming more complicated due to global supply disruptions. Low product inventory and uncertain shipping timelines have put limits on which products marketers can promote, since consumers don’t want to be advertised a product that is sold out or that they can’t get in time for the holidays.
The holiday season is vital for many brands that benefit from consumers’ eagerness to shop. The last thing marketers want to do is lose share of voice by holding or pulling ads to manage shoppers’ expectations. Marketers and advertisers need to be able to plan campaigns for weeks ahead, even if there is limited inventory or shipping limitations.
Instead of focusing on short-term sales, focus more on building long-lasting brands.
While marketers should typically nurture customers and prospects across the entire shopping journey, focusing on brand-building efforts that secure consumers’ business in the long term alleviates some of the inventory pressure until the supply chain steadies. For brands who prioritised quick sales during the pandemic this might represent a shift in pace. For brands under inventory pressure, it is crucial to attract new prospects and keep them interested until stocks replenish. This will ensure that you have a steady pipeline of sales. Moreover, continuing to execute conversion-oriented tactics when supply is low risks turning off customers who, upon realizing the product they were advertised isn’t available for purchase, lose trust in the brand.
Emphasizing upper-funnel activities not only buys brands time until inventory levels resume, it widens the brand’s audience. This strategy could also increase the effectiveness of lower-funnel activations in the long term, since they will be available to a wider audience. As evidence, a recent SME study of the personal electronics industry found that the ROI on a brand’s incremental spend would be 78% higher than the baseline if the brand took a long-term approach. The ROI on a brand’s incremental spend would be 78% higher than that of the baseline, but it would only be 8% lower if they pursued shorter-term goals.
Switching to a long-term approach doesn’t need to be a dramatic change. For instance, marketers can swap activations designed to deliver immediate ROI with ones that show delayed returns; an example would be replacing a “Buy Now” call to action button with a “Sign Up for the Waitlist” one. By adding customers to an email database, marketers can automatically provide updates when sought-after products are back in stock—as well as keep customers in the loop about future promotions. Consumers will continue to be drawn by the upper-funnel effort to buy from the available stock. This produces sales until the supply chains stabilizes.
If inventory delays are slight, it is important for brands to keep customers in mind by advertising. In response to the prevalence of choice and access—U.S. consumers say that 12.1% of their online purchases involve a brand they had not purchased before—brands don’t want to lose future business by spurning any customers with false promises this season.
Map media buying to invent is a fast and efficient process
A lot of companies are pushing the envelope when it comes to holiday marketing. They add local TV ads and other campaigns that target those who have returned home from the holidays. But these larger-budget placements may be counterproductive if supply chain disruptions occur. Brands cannot easily pull TV or magazine ads if inventory runs low—nor would they want to, given the spend behind them.
Marketers must choose media channels with greater flexibility to edit or remove ads if there is a shortage of product. For example, if a brand knows there’s a chance it can’t get product to consumers by Christmas, they should prioritize campaigns on their owned channels or place media buys on social media—where it’s easier to change or halt a campaign in-flight—instead of on traditional platforms.
Brands smaller than large should capitalize on the moment
With larger corporations struggling with supply, there’s an opportunity for smaller brands (who may have inventory) to intervene and take over larger competitors’ market share. As bigger brands peel back on advertising—or continue to promote ads that don’t align with inventory, which could frustrate customers—smaller businesses should double down on advertising to reach They consumer bases.
By identifying the seasons’ most sought after products and showing how their own products deliver on consumers’ wishes, marketers can redirect shoppers’ attention to their business. Over one-10th of consumers’ online purchases involve a new brand, so how can marketers make those purchases their brand? Marketers can use the remaining strategies to keep that relationship going and promote sales once they’ve made an initial connection with buyers.
Marketers shouldn’t just rush to land placements, though. Marketers should use data-driven insights to make purchasing decisions, like which platforms and when their customers gather on them. Digital-forward media planning tools allow marketers to obtain audience insight such as media habits and shopping patterns, along with information on competitors in the market. This gives them the ability to optimize their marketing and differentiate themselves.
Holiday season is a time when supply chains are tested. But, this pandemic has made things more difficult. Supply chain disruptions shortchange many arms of a brand, but marketers can do their part in alleviating the burden by redirecting shoppers’ attention and encouraging long-term engagement. By being agile in what is being advertised—as well as when and where—marketers can mitigate consumer frustrations and in turn lock in their business for months to come.
Destination CRM originally published this article.