As we move into the second quarter of 2021, Easter is a great time to reflect on marketing plans for the rest of the year and 2022. Three months of lockdown, homeworking and home-schooling have left little time to reflect. So, what have we learnt so far this year?
Easter is a time to reflect (and eat cake)
Whilst tucking into chocolate eggs, hot-cross buns and Easter Simnel Cake (here’s a great recipe if you want to have a go), marketers should take stock. Budgets remain frozen or fully allocated for many and much work is being done in-house that was previously outsourced to specialists.
Way back in 2020, we outlined some trends to watch out for in 2021 and the game continues to move on. With so many people living and working at home, expenditure delayed and holidays postponed, the landscape has changed. We thought we were reclaiming our freedom at the start of 2021 but were instead plunged into more restrictions. Let’s look at some learnings so far.
A great time to celebrate
In-keeping with the lighter mood as the first phase of restrictions were lifted on 29th March, Easter is now upon us. We are all looking forward to shops, gyms and hairdressers re-opening in April and being able to see people indoors during May. Should there be any last-minute re-opening of borders in July and August, the summer scramble will literally take-off.
But let’s not just focus on holidays. There are plenty of reasons to be positive this Easter:
- Easter spending set to double that of last year according to Retail Times (including Easter trees – who knew?)
- Retail, leisure and beauty re-opening in April
- Pent-up demand for holidays with TUI taking circa 170,000 bookings for summer 2021 according to The Times
- Car sales are -38% down on the same time in 2020 according to SMMT ahead of summer visits to showrooms
- Over £100bn of Covid savings for households during 2020 according to the Guardian ahead of easing restrictions
- The business confidence index was the lowest for three quarters in mid-January according to the CBI so expect a bounce in mid-April 2021
Reflecting on marketing plans
Marketing plans are not static documents to file in a drawer (or a virtual one at least). The best plans are not laid in stone and are subject to continual review through evaluation, additional customer research and current trends. A strategic marketing plan runs from 1-5 years so it pays to keep your plan up-to-date and relevant.
Furthermore, given the changing nature of the economy, many may not have the appetite for medium-to-long term planning. After all, changing restrictions has undermined consumer and business confidence. But even a 3-month plan or what little spend you have secured to run campaigns still needs to stack up. Did you achieve your marketing goals? Were your success metrics the right ones? What ROI did you achieve on your investment?
Easter trees and new marketing channels
No trend stays the same forever. One minute you are decorating the Christmas tree and then you are hanging eggs, bunnies and chicks on an Easter tree. 2020 was the year of personalisation, voice search and position zero search. 2021 was supposed to be the year of ABM, digital-first experiences, influencers and growth from partnerships. So, where are we now?
In 2020, Facebook rolled out Facebook Shops and Instagram added a dedicated ‘Shop’ page under their ‘Explore’ tab to capitalise on the growing social commerce trend. After all, with so many eyes on social media through mobile screens during lockdown, there is a huge audience. In early March, TikTok extended its ecommerce offering with Shopify to Europe as they target ‘in-post shopping’. According to Kantar, 83% of TikTok users have purchased goods and services inspired by trending content. Social commerce is here to stay and big brands are keen to monetise your social feed.
That clever Easter bunny needs instant answers
Additionally, there is a big technology move towards ‘instant research’ or ‘rapid customer research’. Move over focus groups and surveys, there’s a new game in town. These primary research tools enable digital methods of obtaining rapid feedback from users, potentially testing out a new product idea in days rather than weeks or months. This moves the game on from emails to give your opinion or invites to get a sneak peak of a new idea. Think of it as crowdsourcing feedback online and you wouldn’t be far wrong.
Unfortunately, there is a long way to go until digital tools can understand bias, how the brain responds to stimuli and predict our responses. We use digital tools to measure the brain’s response to marketing, such as through a mobile phone or laptop, but these still require a trained neuroscientist to interpret the results. If you need customer research to support your post-Easter marketing plans, why not egg-hunt our neuroscience services.
Happy Easter from Think Beyond
As a consultancy, we offer a range of strategic planning services. We keep abreast of the latest developments in marketing so that we are always in a position to advise you. Most importantly, our plans are underpinned by research, expertise and metrics. So, if you are looking for enhancements, to create plans or enact them, we are here to support you.
If you would like to discuss your post-Easter marketing plans, simply pop a few details into our contact form to ask for a call back.
Finally, why not see what webinars and seminars are upcoming to plan your personal development for the rest of the year.