Many of us have been back in the office for a while having returned to the same pace that we left 2011. Long gone are the days when the advertising industry literally closed on the December 15 and reopened on January 15. Virginia Hollis, Johannesburg MD of The MediaShop, hasn’t let the grass grow underfoot before predicting five important trends she believes will influence media this year.
This is a very subjective article, and before anyone asks, no, I do not have any research to back up what I think.
We are all “time starved”! There is not one person that I know who doesn’t complain about not having enough time – “I never seem to find the time for …”, “I’ll set aside a couple of hours tomorrow …” (ja right!), there are never enough hours in a day. So media needs to bear this in mind.
So what I’m saying is: consider how you speak to your audience. Long wordy editorials, are you kidding? But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear what you have to say. We want information, and we want it in bite-size chunks so we can move on to other things. And most important, we want it now! Because if you don’t give it to us when we want it then we will find move to another medium to get the information.
2. The Shopper
In a cash strapped economy, consumers become very price-driven and value conscious, and they will actively be looking for the best deals. Even the ‘better off’ are conscious of price. So consumers will be using discount offers and they will be price checking, in-store promotion will become more and more important to FMCG.
Store brands are no longer considered to be ‘inferior’, and this is a very real threat to branded products. Brands are going to have to find ways to communicate and connect with consumers on an emotional level to protect brand equity. More and more brands are going to be relying on media to come up with innovative solutions to protect their market share.
We must also not forget the power of word of mouth. The consumer knows a good deal when she sees it and she will share the information with friends. No one brags about how much they paid for things anymore.
Lastly, we must not forget that South Africans are becoming more and more internet savvy. It is so easy to log in and find the product we want and where it is the cheapest. This means that brand loyalty is constantly under strain.
Following the purchase journey to engage consumers has never been more important.
There is a lot of pressure on people to live well and stay free from obesity, and not just in South Africa. Government could look to ban or restrict advertising in certain sectors and this would have a serious effect on all media. A number of categories have been self-regulating for years, like no direct advertising to children, or no advertising before 8 or 9 pm on television.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes to try and ensure that Government does not pass legislation. If legislation is passed there will be ramifications across the entire industry.
Maybe I’m sensitive to this because I’m no longer in the prime 25-49 market. But seriously, marketers and media planners need to pay heed to the fact that as society ages we become generally wealthier. No more school/varsity fees, often bonds are paid off…So why is there worldwide resistance to marketing to this lucrative market?
Why is it that marketers and media people think that because you are 50+ you no longer a viable consumer? We don’t stop living, we still buy new cars, we still travel, and we still buy consumables!
5. Soft Power
First of all ‘what is this’? For a while now there has been a move internationally to talk to consumers with warmth, sensitivity and honesty. What this means is that brands are becoming more ‘human’. So essentially if a mistake is made, they own up to it. Not every product is wonderful.
The immediacy of digital has almost forced brands to talk to consumers, and listen to their gripes. What this means to companies is that they have to be more transparent.
What does this mean to media? We have to start relooking the way we target consumers. Demographics are limited; you need to start identifying the person you want to talk to.
This story was first published in The MediaShop’s first 2012 newsletter, Media Shop Talk.