By Himanshu Arora
The past few years bore witness to remarkable changes in consumption patterns and how brands have responded to them. For starters, the pandemic turned everything around, stopping rising trends while giving way to some unexpected ones. Brands have had to introspect and realign their marketing strategies to match these changes.
If anything, consumer likes and preferences are changing constantly. The abundance of market supply means that they can switch from one brand or product to another before you know it. The real task lies with brands who are able to capture and subsequently, hold onto the attention of the consumers. This forms the crux of how brands have operated for so long, particularly in 2022.
If you have a specific need, there’s a product or service for it:
The market is becoming more personalized by the minute. You get access to content that is tailormade exactly for your likes and preferences. This means that you don’t have to adapt to what’s available, but the market’s supply is moulded around your demand.
Since consumer preferences are becoming more personal, delivering products and services Direct To Consumers (D2C) also grew in the last 24 hours. You ask, and they deliver right to your doorstep. The customer is truly king, now and in the future.
D2C channels not only make sure that you don’t have to compromise on your tastes and wants but a shift in consumer behaviour as a whole. There is a gigantic increase in the openness to experiment with new products. A decade or so ago, a family had one brand of soap they used, one electronics company they purchased from and one type of food they ate- they picked one brand and stuck with it consistently.
But right now, there is a generational shift. We’re open to experimenting with new skin care products, food, electronics, and every other consumer product until we find the right fit for us.
Power of distribution:
With multiple channels of distribution & not restricted to the legacy channels of General Trade, modern trade etc, there is an opportunity for any product to reach your mobile screen, through different marketing channels like Social media, influencer communication, e-commerce etc.
You now have more than one high-quality product at your disposal. It’s not just one 20-second advertisement on tv, we now have communication happening at lightning speed on different channels. Now, customers can engage with the brand and its marketers as well, breaking the fourth wall. This makes us more willing to try something new.
Local Content Creators:
Social media has succeeded in creating pockets of communities within a large space. This feeling of closeness and belonging has extended to purchase patterns as well. This means that there is a shift in the way we consume content. Influencers are local and know their target audience well because they are a part of the community they are influencing.
These content creators have largely shifted consumption patterns. The pandemic saw many young creators move back to their hometowns and interact with the ground reality of smaller towns. This changed the way they created and consumed content: Hyper-local is all the rage.
Even OTT platforms are seeing the air change. Stage OTT, a content platform launched by Vinay Singhal in 2019, is India’s first hyper-local content platform. It has rapidly expanded after its appearance Shark Tank Season 2 recently and plans to target regional content in regional dialects to its consumers. You don’t have to compromise when it comes to content anymore. The landscape is changing to accommodate even your smallest needs, down to the dialect you speak. This is a trend that will extend into 2023 and beyond.
Post-pandemic trends: The Omnichannel approach
With people stepping out of their homes for the first time in two years this year, offline marketing activities also saw a big boost. It excited people to be able to step out and buy something offline and that meant that offline stores across the country saw a resurrection. The result? An omnichannel form of marketing. Brands look to be “omnipresent” in their consumers’ lives- they’re everywhere and available readily whenever needed. Rapidly expanding markets means that brands cannot leave any form of marketing unturned.
Even products that were launched with the idea of being “online-only”, have expanded their business to physical stores in the past few years. Recent example of mama earth, about 35% sales come from offline channel. Wow Skin Science, an online-only skincare brand launched in 2014, started selling its products offline in 2020. Sugar Cosmetics is making sure that its products are available across 45,000 offline stores in India. Scaling up the presence is an important milestone in the current market trend in order to keep up, grow and profit.
So, while online modes of shopping are thriving, offline channels have not lost their seat at the table, and will not in the future as well.
Trends in 2023: The technological revolution continues
The upcoming year does look like it will come with its set of challenges, with the economic recession causing people to be very picky about their purchases. The funding ecosystem is slowly drying up and alternative ways to expand and sell are essential in this market. Amidst this fiscal turmoil, brands will also have to keep tabs on the ever-changing consumer likes and preferences and cater accordingly.
Our extremely personal relationship with technology will continue to grow. It will lead the way versus human needs and wants. All our purchase patterns will continue to see a deep tie-in with technology and its minute advancements every minute of the day. From something as simple as ATM machines to as advanced as AI/VR and the metaverse, technology has a permanent spot in our lives and decisions. It is the moment technology marries human need that magic happens.
At the end of the day though, it is very simple: Understanding consumer needs and wants and fine-tuning your strategies accordingly is the way to go. Let’s sit back and see what 2023 has in store for us in the marketing world.
The author is the co-founder of Social Panga