Retail sales have seen a serious decline, the lowest since 2003. Cash is king over credit and while food retail outlets aren’t affected quite as severely as those of non-durables, a general slowdown in retail spend has been noted.R
In the ad industry we are more than aware of the consequence Ã¢Â€Â“ a definite cut in advertising budgets. This is certainly not the smartest move as those in control of ad spend should be running harder just to stand still at this stage of the game. The situation looks bleak for the entire advertising industry.
Retail marketers are becoming aware that they need to make their ad spend work harder and smarter and have thus begun investing within the communities that actually purchase their products, rather than using a shotgun approach. They’ve taken to free and sold community papers and have seen a significant turnaround for their efforts.
Retailers need to get to grips with the community in which they operate. Understanding the local dynamics from where they draw their customers is extremely important. It’s all about reaching the maximum number of your likely customers, all of the time.
In the past, retailers chose to advertise in regional and national papers, as a cheaper option to reach the shopper. As community dynamics within South Africa has and continues to shift, so too has the marketers’ perspective of this type of approach. There is an ever-increasing move into targeted communities, via a community newspaper which has now evolved into a reader’s first choice media shopping mall environment.
Innovation is key in the advertising arena, if you are to stay ahead of the game. Consumers are much more vigilant in today’s times and as a result won’t part too easily with their disposable income. They will compare prices more often than not and are out to find the best local bargain possible.
In essence, it’s not just about targeting ready consumers. On the flip side, they are more prone to screening out commercial messages, unless their headspace is tuned into pre-planning a purchase. This seems to be the core of the community paper success. Readers actually actively look and pay attention to local shopping prices and opportunities. In a nutshell, reach and mindset equal success.
In this challenging time, the pressure is on marketers to make their communication work harder and stand out. Efficient investment, measurable response and outcomes are now imperative.
The winners will be those astute practitioners who understand the dynamics Ã¢Â€Â“ maximum reach of ready consumers, at the right time, in the right communication environment and with appropriate creative and/or offers.