Of the many changes the world has gone through in the past year since the start of the pandemic, consumer behaviour and evolving expectations from brands is an important one that is also critical for marketers and advertisers.
To understand how marketers have reacted to the effects of the pandemic and the resulting changes in consumer behavior, over the last year, Borderless Access conducted an online study in the United States, India and Singapore and in several countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The study gathered responses from approximately 1000 respondents consisting of marketing and advertising professionals from different industries.
The study explores marketing activities and budgets, preferred marketing channels, perceptions, experiences, and implementation of traditional and digital marketing and advertising methods. In this blog, we talk about the findings of the US market and how it compares to the rest of the target markets in our study.
Marketing activities and budget since the pandemic
In the US, 32% of respondents said they had reduced their marketing activities, while 30% said they had increased it. This makes sense considering certain areas of consumer activities have seen a slum since the pandemic, while others have seen a spurt in activity. In contrast, globally, only 20% of the respondents said they had increased their marketing activities. On the other hand, roughly 19% of respondents everywhere said they had either stopped marketing activities altogether or were focussing on digital marketing methods.
Meanwhile, 46% of US marketing and advertising professionals said their marketing budget had remained the same, whereas 49% of the global respondents said their marketing budgets had reduced significantly.
Marketing channel preferences and their performance
As is to be expected, social media and websites were the most preferred mediums of marketing, with 60% of the respondents picking them for their marketing activities. Digital online publications, mobile apps and television followed next. Interestingly, only 24% of the respondents choose print media, which was lower than radio, at 36%.
For comparison, the global average stood at 59% for social media, followed by 53% for websites, followed closely by digital publications and mobile apps. Also, only 29% of respondents preferred television and once again print media was preferred less than radio (19% vs 21%).
In terms of ROI, the majority of the respondents (63%) agreed that social media performed the best. Television came in close, with 60% of the respondents picking it, followed closely by mobile apps. While radio was preferred over print media, the latter delivered better ROI according to 45% of the respondents. A similar trend can be seen globally, with social media leading, followed by websites. However, 38% of the global audience said television provided good ROI, which means this channel is more effective in the US.
Preferences and perceptions about digital and traditional media
While preference for digital forms of media is high, marketers and advertisers don’t wholly discredit traditional forms of media just yet. 17% of the respondents felt digital is growing but is still only embraced by younger audiences. While 44% felt the industry must not disregard traditional forms of media just yet and that it is still relevant. This sentiment was higher than the global average of 22% and 25% for the respective sentiments.
36% of the audience in the US also felt that marketing on digital forms of media is more relevant now since the start of the pandemic and 20% believe that the pandemic has drastically increased the world’s reliance on digital forms of communication. 11% of the audience also felt that the pandemic has rendered traditional media irrelevant, while another 10% believe that any headway made by digital during the pandemic will even out over time.
On the matter of social media, 24% of the respondents agreed that advertising on social media is more successful than programmatic and other platforms. At the same time, 29% believe that social media is often misused and misunderstood.
Elements critical for the success of digital marketing
Of the several aspects of digital marketing that impact the performance of brand marketing efforts on digital platforms, 59% of the respondents said having a strong social media presence matters the most. Content and email marketing came in next on the list of preferences, picked by 49% and 48% of the respondents respectively. The same aspects of social media were picked by respondents across the globe as elements most critical for the success of digital marketing.
The future of marketing and advertising
According to a majority of marketing and advertising professionals (70%), the future of marketing activities will be carried out through digital marketing, followed by social media at 58%. VR/AR, voice-based marketing and smart-wearable-based marketing are some of the upcoming forms of marketing picked by 34%, 28% and 40% of the respondents respectively.
A digital age, with a hint of traditional
The US marketing environment has fully embraced digital marketing, especially social media and is certainly experiencing the benefits. This trend has only accelerated since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Marketers are also welcoming newer forms of reaching out to their consumers such as through OTT marketing and other tech-based communication channels.
At the same time, traditional forms of media have not been abandoned. Television and radio continue and event print media to a certain extent continue to be good investments as forms of communication.
The pandemic has certainly established a digital trend and brands have a good reason to ride this trend, while also striking a balance with certain traditional forms of connecting with their consumers.
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