Brands taking a “one size fits all” approach to marketing will annoy more people than they appeal to because, unsurprisingly, customers want their brands to be authentic. While scattergun marketing has never been a recipe for success, it’s easier to fall into this trap during a period of rapid change or uncertainty. The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone this way – as a result, the people brands engaged with 12 months ago aren’t necessarily the same consumers today.
People are, ultimately, less likely to engage with, or buy from, brands in the same way they did before the crisis. A common trend we’re seeing with consumers is the increased demand for more authentic and genuine communications around the cost-of-living. This was a key takeaway from our research, which found that three in five (58.3%) people now expect brands to be more authentic as a result of the crisis, with the vast majority (84%) reporting concerns about the rising living costs.
Sink or Swim
The results from adopting this approach are plain to see; close to two-thirds (64.1%) of people are now more likely to purchase from brands if they share authentic communications (i.e., messages that are caring and understanding of consumer needs and circumstances) during the cost-of-living crisis.
It’s clear that we’re at an inflexion point – a real ‘sink or swim’ moment. Brands need to learn who their customers are today, so they can successfully adapt their marketing to be genuine and authentic.
On the flipside, brands that don’t make this change risk alienating their customers altogether.
The biggest challenge we’re seeing is being able to follow trends that change seasonally, at a time where peoples’ expectations and financial situations are constantly changing. No one’s experience of the cost-of-living crisis is the same; our research found that, while half of people (52%) want to see personalised messages reflecting their recent purchasing history or personal preferences, a smaller grouping (21%) are uninterested in this level of personalisation altogether. This makes marketing to individuals much tougher and emphasises the need for timely, relevant data on every customer.
Showing You Care
The wider picture is that we’re witnessing a seismic shift in potential share of wallet. For brands to show they care about how this is affecting customers, they need to build up their understanding of each individual’s wants, needs, and the current state of mind shaping their purchasing habits.
While different people have different preferences, most people want businesses to be authentic.
It’s something our research brought to life, with the stats showing nearly two-thirds (62.9%) of people want companies to be more aware of the emotional and financial impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on them. However, there’s a fine line to walk here, between recognising and supporting people through pain points, and coming across as ambulance chasing or insincere.
By leveraging timely data to build a 360-degree view for every customer, brands will be best placed to observe their journey. This helps them intervene at the right time with the right message. For example, a customer’s recent buying behaviour may indicate that they’d be receptive to trying a different payment method. Our research found that 20% are now “much more likely” to use Buy Now Pay Later, while 22% are less likely to do so. Being able to point people towards a buying option that suits their situation is just one example of how personalisation can bolster the user experience.
Keeping It Authentic
Alongside any UX considerations, there’s a clear business outcome from understanding customers.
Considering the financial pressures most people are currently under, authenticity is more than just a buzzword – it’s a key differentiator that could decide whether someone engages with, or buys from, a brand. We found that 64% of people are more likely to purchase from brands that share authentic or genuine communications, for example in the form of email newsletters or social media posts.
This indicates that, when consumers feel like they can trust a brand throughout a crisis, they’re much more likely to stay loyal and buy products from them. This can develop into a longer-term relationship that stems from genuine brand affiliation, lasting well beyond the financial downturn.
By leveraging their understanding of each customer, brands will also be better placed to avoid the pitfalls of the cost-of-living crisis. By not using timely, relevant data at a time when peoples’ situations are constantly changing, brands risk sharing irrelevant or irresponsible marketing.
The dangers of these types of marketing are clear when it comes to turning off – or even offending – customers. The next blog in this cost-of-living series will explore just how rife forms of irrelevant and irresponsible marketing are at the moment, and how brands can avoid falling into this trap.
For more information on how Tealium can support your authentic marketing efforts, schedule a free demo today.