More than a year after the first COVID-19 lockdown wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, consumers have finally started to return to in-person shopping at pre-pandemic levels.
As shopping behaviors slowly return to normalcy, small and medium businesses across the nation are re-energizing their marketing efforts. As they do, it is important to remember that much has changed over the past year, and many of the old marketing approaches no longer apply.
Since March 2020, the adtech industry has shifted its focus to consumer privacy. Even with Google’s recent decision to delay the removal of cookies, MAIDs and cookies are becoming essentially defunct and marketers are now facing the challenge of finding new ways to personalize ads for individual consumers. However, these challenges also present opportunities for brands to innovate and future-proof their marketing strategies.
With this in mind, here are three strategies brands can implement to give them an edge in our post-pandemic life ahead.
3 Marketing Strategies to Give Brands a Post-Pandemic Edge
- Focus on solutions based on accurate first-party data.
- Take advantage of geofencing.
- Keep messaging consistent across all platforms.
1. Utilize Accurate First-Party Data
Investing in machine learning-powered solutions such as lookalike audience modeling is a great way for retailers to leverage their all-important first-party data and reach the right audiences on a personalized level without being dependent on a single identifier.
Lookalike audience modeling utilizes ML algorithms to assemble a scalable model of the company’s ideal target audience based on the characteristics of its current customers. This marketing tactic can help your brand grow and expand its reach while still staying privacy compliant.
Before implementing any sort of lookalike audience modeling, though, companies need to make sure that their existing data is accurate and up to date. After all, the ML model is only as good as the data on which it is based.
2. Take Advantage of Geofencing
As more consumers return to in-person shopping, location-enhanced contextual data through geofencing is becoming increasingly useful to brick-and-mortar retailers hoping to better understand consumer behavior and ensure that they are reaching the right audiences at the right time.
Geofencing is a location-based tool in which a program or app uses GPS, radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi or cellular data to define the boundaries of a specific geographic area.
Once this virtual perimeter has been set, consumers can trigger targeted marketing messages — such as a text, in-app notification, mobile ad or another form of communication — when their mobile device enters or exits the specified boundaries.
Even though more mobile users have begun to opt out of tracking, geofencing still allows for privacy-compliant contextual targeting of consumers, enabling retailers to expand their audience through an approximate location approach.
Marketing campaigns that utilize geofencing tend to yield a higher return on ad spend, because geofenced data allows retailers to determine those consumers who are most likely to interact with their services and products.
3. Keep Messaging Consistent Across All Platforms
As much as retail strategy has shifted for companies in the past year, consumer expectations have changed as well. Even as people become more opposed to cookies and tracking, they still expect brands to know them and create a personalized experience.
In today’s hyperconnected world, there are numerous ways for brands to get in touch with their customers, from email campaigns to text notifications. With these varying consumer touchpoints, marketers need to keep their messaging consistent across all channels, so that they can maintain the level of unified communication necessary to build brand loyalty.
With the light at the end of the long pandemic tunnel finally in sight, there are still many questions left to be answered about how companies can best position themselves for success in the post-COVID world. Taking these uncertainties into account, brands should take the time to rethink their marketing strategies in the future and find ways to innovate.
Those that focus on better understanding consumer behavior and personalizing their customer experience will give themselves an immediate advantage in this new and evolving environment.