The deteriorating rand value will arguably hold the greatest change for South Africans in 2016. According to MyBroadband, the rand lost over 30% of its value against the US dollar in the previous year, with 13% of that value lost in the last two months. Needless to say, as a result, more and more activities and items that were previously enjoyed regularly will now be considered luxuries as they are becoming too expensive for the South African consumer.
Spend and behavioural changes in travel, entertainment, eating out, shopping etc. are expected. As budgets become tighter, spending priorities will shift, and cutting back and scaling down will be the route taken to saving money (Media24 Lifestyle Trend Report). Unfortunately, due to varying macro-economic factors, advertising budgets will decline too. Working with smaller budgets to advertise to consumers who are becoming increasingly difficult to reach presents a challenge to marketers. Effective advertising may even call for marketers to focus rather than dissipate their efforts by doing fewer things well, instead of trying to be all things to many people.
TV will continue to decline in relevance due to the increasing digitisation of the TV experience. With the rise of on-demand services such as Netflix and ShowMax, which are available at lower premiums, growing in popularity in South Africa, they are expected to provide fierce competition and induce shifts in overall consumer viewing behaviours over time.
Uninterrupted binge-viewing of downloaded or streamed series will still continue. The watch-whatever-you-want-however-long-you-want-to-with-no-advertising will continue to make consumers increasingly difficult to reach. The weakening rand has made the cost of programming and production more expensive, which will result in a price hike, making DStv more and more expensive for consumers with many threatening to ‘downgrade’ or shift from the platform altogether. With price increases scheduled for 1 April 2016 (source: MyBroadband), it will be interesting to see the changes in the TV landscape.
Cut through the clutter
Consumers are constantly inundated with information and messages daily so it’s becoming difficult to not only reach them but also to cut through the clutter and make an impact. As a result, ‘relevant reach’ should move away from just being present in their high dwell time spaces with generic messaging but instead towards being present in contextually relevant ways, with creative specific to each platform and personalised and tailored to the individual user.
These customised/personalised messages delivered in real time, will demand that marketers be agile. “Consumers are currently sharing what they do, what they like and what they think, and they are expecting to interact with brands and their campaigns in the same way”. Social listening and technologies such as real-time bidding will allow for this. This calls for a different approach to targeting altogether, as marketers need to move away from segmenting target consumers by demographics and vague segmentation tools such as LSMs. Mindsets and need states are the most relevant ways to target consumers.
The reality of the rise in ‘ad-blocking’ culture and the challenges presented to advertising is imminent. Consumers, especially Millennials, are growing increasingly annoyed and distrustful with brands playing in their spaces. As a result, they are “pulling back”, going as far as paying premiums or even skipping an entire experience in order to completely avoid ad exposure.
Globally, the top five reasons that consumers are most likely to block ads are 1) to limit visual clutter and improve overall experience, 2) to enhance browsing speed, 3) controlling privacy and avoid being tracked – clearing cookies, (4) reduce data usage and 5) reduce battery use.
This will naturally put pressure on brands to find ways to ensure their advertising messages are still seen. Weaving brand messages into storytelling, content and influencer marketing will continue to present an opportunity to reach consumers. Key to this is using relevant and valuable messaging and moving away from the hard-sell approach that tends to irritate consumers.
The explosion of influencer marketing was evident in 2015 from many brands across different categories. This has become a popular way to replicate the word-of-mouth notion but on a larger scale by leveraging big personalities and their large social media following and thus assumed influence. We will see more and more sponsorships and partnerships with media owners, blogs and content hubs; many brands will also move into their own content dissemination space, thus blurring the lines between brand and publisher. This will make advertising less block-able and more tactical.
The pursuit for lifestyle maximisation and authenticity is still very imperative. The way in which to really connect with consumers has increasingly provided them with one-of-a-kind- experiences. People increasingly want to be more involved in more interesting ways to create and collaborate.
If #FEESMUSTFALL is anything to go by, the biggest change makers to look out for in 2016 and for many years to come are the South African Millennials. Affectionately known as the Afrillenial (Student Village), they are smart, demanding, passionate, opinionated, risk-averse and their power is undeniable. Their ”online-mega” phone has made the South African youth a force to be reckoned with, and they will continue to shape the way in which brands behave.
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