The 2023 landscape for marketers is a complicated one. However, the concerns seem to be fairly consistent: losing current customers and struggling to define and reach audiences. The response on how to work in this new landscape is largely data-driven.
Episode 11 of the Business to Human podcast includes a portion of a longer webinar event I hosted with Dipanjan Chatterjee, the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester. In this conversation, he provides incredible insights around:
- How consumers are responding to the 2023 shifts
- Marketers’ top strategies to navigate current challenges
- The implications of data usage and how data affects decisions
How consumers are responding to the 2023 shifts
Last year introduced never before seen challenges to consumers and marketers alike.
With society just barely getting over the final stretch of a pandemic, facing a geopolitical crisis, the war in Europe and a recession, an unprecedented economic disruption is bound to happen. What does this mean for consumers?
Supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, COVID-19 and the Great Resignation are just some of the main changes that marketers are learning to navigate, attempting to keep up with consumer response to these new circumstances. And while these shifts may suggest the opposite, consumers are spending more and their market activity continues to increase.
In 2022, consumer savings were at a high after spending went way down throughout the pandemic while large amounts of money were still coming in from unemployment and stimulus checks. But in 2023, these numbers are starting to decrease again.
“Now you’re seeing savings rates revert to the prior years, and perhaps even lower, and you’re seeing credit card balances steadily pick up. So we may be at an inflection point. This is a time to be quite careful and take it a day at a time and see how consumer behavior unfolds,” explains Dipanjan.
Marketers’ top strategies to navigate current challenges
With an ever-changing economic landscape ahead of them, marketers must constantly adjust their strategies. And given the challenges of 2023, the choice of adjustments can come as a surprise.
Most people would think marketers would cut their budgets back as the economy is making such shifts but most report that is not an issue, with some even raising their budgets suggesting that the budgets are not at risk.
The current focus is marketers’ short-term goals, as many consider this is a temporary phase of change. This includes experimenting with customer engagement by increasing advertising presence.
“When someone is at the moment of purchase consideration and you as a brand aren’t available to them mentally to put on your shortlist, then it’s game over for you. You’re not even in consideration,” explains Dipanjan.
That advertising presence is bound to bring in new customers. And when it comes to keeping the customers you already have, another shift seen this year is a focus on loyalty and rewards programs as marketers grow more and more concerned about losing current customers. And to further incentivize loyalty, marketers are also pushing for more promotions and deals for consumers.
All these changes go to show that while navigating the current economic environment can be nerve wracking for marketers, what’s working best at the moment is making smaller changes to their already existing tactics and short-term strategies.
The implications of data usage and how data affects decisions
The world of marketing today is extremely data-driven and technology-centered.
However, data usage can become overwhelming quickly, and best practices are only seen when the right data is examined. Seeking out those key insights can set your company apart from others. But figuring those insights out is the hard part.
This is where technology becomes a marketer’s best friend.
“No marketer has the degree of data and analytical expertise to be able to wrangle all of these terabytes of data and make sense of it, so they need to lean heavily on the kinds of resources that can provide them that. That’s why the technology piece becomes so important,” says Dipanjan.
Making the most of the technology that’s available to you can introduce you to a ton of insights that may have been overlooked before and allow you to get to know your customer and what drives their decision-making, turning your endless amounts of data into useful insights. Knowing what your customer is looking for, how they weigh their options and where they get their information will allow your marketing team to deliver the most relevant brand experiences.