The year of the customer

Twenty twenty-three is shaping up to be the year of (really) getting to know your consumers. NZ Marketing explores the trends set to play important roles in the marcomms space over the next 12 months, and how marketers can tap into these to prepare and adapt to changing consumer behaviours.

  1. Values-based advertising

British entrepreneur Richard Branson has said: “The brands that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond profit.”

While certainly not a new idea, values-based advertising is set to only grow in 2023. As the world recovers from the pandemic and deals with the economic side-effects of three years of uncertainty, consumers are increasingly wanting to support businesses that share their values.

Although this is a big shift for many businesses, leading with purpose can keep a business alive.

Senior Marketing Lecturer at AUT, Drew Franklin, says consumers are becoming increasingly discerning about their decision-making at a values-based level even with products and services that may have otherwise been considered more commodity-type offerings.

“Leading your communications with an authentic brand purpose can serve to articulate the guiding principles of your organisation, or brand, and build positive esteem within the marketplace. This is also becoming increasingly important as marketers seek to build positive brand esteem with current out-of-market buyers that may need their products or services in the future.”

2. Video and podcast marketing

In the increasingly crowded advertising market, trying to cut through the noise can be difficult. That’s why many marketers are opting to delve into creating literal noise and video to stand out from the crowds.

According to NZ On Air’s July 2021 report ‘Where are the Audiences’, audience numbers are growing with the daily reach of podcasts in the country at 13 percent, up year-on-year and seven percent since 2018.

Over in the UK, research company Tapestry found that podcast advertising commands the highest levels of attention of any media channel, with 65 percent of listeners paying attention to podcast adverts over TV ads at 39 percent and radio at 38 percent. 

Drew echoes this sentiment saying that “video and podcast marketing has become an increasingly important part of an overall communications and interaction strategy for organisations and brands”. 

“Increasingly, the most effective video and podcast content remains largely ungated so that decision-makers can interact with this content more readily.

“Many organisations are also using these channels to develop thought leadership communications strategies,” he adds.

3. Better storytelling 

Humans have been telling stories since we learnt to communicate with each other. It’s an integral part of how we understand the world, share knowledge, and make progress.

The Harvard Business Review is predicting that data-driven storytelling is set to become increasingly popular in content marketing especially with brands. Marketers can employ this fundamental communication method within the context of customer data by appealing to their audiences’ emotions with powerful results.

“We are storytellers by nature, and organisations and brands can tap into a more visceral and emotional response to well-crafted communications by telling a creative and contextualised story around their product or service,” says Drew.

This is not about making up a story for your brand warns Drew, but rather articulating what it already stands for. 

“Creative storytelling is a powerful communications tool that can add objective value to your business or brand when done
well, as well as offer a distinctiveness in
the marketplace.

“The danger of an inauthentic story is that consumers and decision-makers will punish a brand for messaging that is incongruent or inconsistent with reality.”

4. Real-time messaging

With technology allowing us to do more, it’s no surprise that marketers too are harnessing its power to increase personalisation and have more control over how customers interact with brands. 

One channel that is expected to grow is live, online chat (AI-augmented or otherwise).

“This can serve an overall communications strategy well as a means for consumers and decision-makers to quickly access information, but not at the expense of more face-to-face, or human-centric, interaction,” says Drew.

“Recent research (particularly in business-to-business markets) suggests that maintaining relationships through these channels as part of
a wider communications strategy can be effective, but for nurturing and flourishing relationships, face-to-face interaction is key.”

5. Elevating customer experiences

Following years of varying degrees of lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings, marketers are now presented with the opportunity to turn their attention to elevating customer experiences (CX).

Drew says that this could involve investing in wider experiential ecosystems that have been missed in recent times when seeking to interact with marketplaces.

“The concept of integrated marketing communications and aligning our messaging in and through all consumer touchpoints in the marketplace has again been brought into focus. This is particularly important as consumers and marketers are becoming more discerning of their spend.”

The effects of good CX are well known, but equally important is a grasp on how and why different elements of communication strategies work together he says. 

Avatar photo

About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *