Why brands are shifting audience research internally
The role of the agency is changing.
Many brands are changing course, redistributing their budgets to better control their production, with more emphasis on the internal. It is a change that has been going on for years.
While 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and reluctance to commit, digital ad spending is starting to pick up again. In the United States alone, digital ad sales are expected to increase 13% to $ 161 billion in 2021.
And for the first time, digital ad formats are expected to account for two-thirds (67%) of all ad sales.
But despite huge investments injected into digital, many are still struggling to see a return.
It comes down to a number of factors that are fueling a massive shift in the marketing landscape, ultimately forging a new relationship between agencies and brands. Here’s why.
1. Consumers have changed, and brands need to change too.
Today’s consumers demand to be understood.
â They buy more online.
â They proactively research products.
â They are not afraid to criticize the brands that target them, often via social networks.
â They choose products and services that reflect their opinions and lifestyles.
â They block marketing that they don’t want to see.
To be up to it, you have to get to know them – where and how they spend their time, what gets them out of bed each morning and what qualities define them.
Reaching your target segments no longer means leaving the reins to media agencies to create and place your investment in the right channels.
Doing internal audience research means investing in your target consumers; split your media, your content and your creativity so that they correspond to their behaviors, and shape them so that they adapt to your different micro-audiences.
In short, it means taking more responsibility for your targeting.
For brands, audience research methods have gone far beyond seemingly old things like focus groups. Thanks to today’s market research, brands can shake up their strategy and dramatically improve their targeting.
2. In the digital world, insight is everything.
Knowledge of consumers has always been crucial for brand positioning and marketing strategy.
But today, he takes on a whole new role within the marketing agency and the brand’s teams.
Previously, this was a long process involving multiple branches of external research, which meant identifying a workable idea took time and resources.
Today, annual planning cycles and one-year personalities aren’t enough – speed and agility are absolute imperatives to follow.
And with the added challenge of juggling several different datasets with different methodologies, the data didn’t just take time, it didn’t add up.
But in the digital world, knowing your target market and consumers is paramount.
Today, every forward-thinking brand knows that customer focus is key – and can only be achieved by putting deep knowledge in the driver’s seat.
Insight is embedded in every action, every decision, every idea – guiding everything from brand positioning and strategy to digital advertising, content, public relations and beyond.
And as it becomes more important, it becomes a more important goal for brands.
Now, brands carry out large-scale audience research in-house to directly obtain the information that makes a visible difference.
Why? Because the latest technologies make it easy to reach a new audience or optimize their existing reach.
3. Technology is paving the way for a new brand.
We live in a real-time economy where time is money. And in the wake of a global pandemic, this has never been truer.
Reaching (and responding to) consumers at this critical time and touchpoint in the consumer journey is the bread and butter of any brand. But when the insight, strategy, and effort are external, it’s hard to be responsive enough.
Disruptive technology strengthens brands by giving them more control, more knowledge and more visibility than ever before.
By using research to explore the ‘blind spots’ of their target audiences that were previously off limits, brands can find out everything they need to know.
Solutions like GWI make âinstant perspectiveâ a reality – allowing marketers to land the job themselves; something that just wasn’t possible before. Now they are:
â Rationalization their processes.
â Align their strategies.
â Improve their efficiency in targeting.
Today’s new, data-driven brands take more responsibility and ownership of their strategy, keep a clearer eye on how their spend is allocated, and invest more in strategic thinking and creative talent. . And it’s an approach that is paying off.
4. Strategic thinking is making a comeback.
Radical changes in consumer behavior have left marketers with a new set of priorities. Coming out in front is the shift from tactical to strategic.
In an effort to keep pace with a large number of rapidly changing trends, a lot of emphasis has been placed on tactics, short-term gains, and real-time data.
Unfortunately, that meant that the strategic thinking forged by real research, deep segmentation, and fine targeting had taken a back seat.
Big brands are now turning to the fundamentals of strategy, having realized the overwhelming need for strategic thinking versus tactical immediacy.
To do this, they internally use robust, reliable and up-to-date consumption data to infuse customer orientation into their end-to-end strategy; tell them who to target, where to invest, what to measure and how to optimize.
It seems obvious now, doesn’t it.
5. Agencies and brands work on their strengths.
But all this does not mean that agencies are losing importance.
Agencies will always be essential to brands for their expertise and creative talent – it’s the way they work together that changes.
This new relationship allows agencies and brands to work even more closely and establish a new dynamic.
This means sharing the workload in a more strategic way that gives brands the transparency and control they want, as agencies implement their strengths.
In this way, brand expectations can be managed more effectively – and great results are much easier to achieve.
Basically, you need to have a aligned view of your target audience. It starts with the use of reliable and consistent data.
Brands need to learn from their agencies, using the tools and resources at their disposal to put this into practice.
In today’s disrupted landscape, you don’t just need excellent consumer knowledge, you need knowledge you can trust.