Opinion: Old Normal or New – the consumer always comes first…

Ashish Chhabra speaks on the shifting marketing channels, social media trends, and how despite all the many changes the consumer always comes first.

In the last two years, the world has totally changed its course and the ‘Digital Wave’ and the ‘Pandemic’ have played the most part in changing the dynamics of all the industries. 2020 and 2021 have given us experiences like never-before and 2022 will for sure be the year of evolving with the norms of the ‘New Normal’; which includes that the consumer always comes first.

Marketers who are building brands have evolved big time in the last two years as well. Prior to 2020, the shift from traditional to digital was certainly on the go but that process was a gradual one.  After the arrival of COVID-19, the shift to digital became 10-folds. With the need to keep physical contact at a minimum, digital strategies became a lifeline for many organizations; especially the FMCG industry.  The consumer and retail brands that have embraced digital are now growing at a faster pace through their e-commerce markets. Which has turned out to be their major source of revenue.

Post-pandemic effects have also seen people from all age groups in the country become more digitally savvy. Not only just organizations, but people from all specks of life are now running their businesses from their home offices. Basically, COVID-19 had a big hand in changing the way we live, work and do our business. Which has made the government’s vision of ‘Digital India’ much more achievable. For the FMCG industry, the tactics for marketing have completely evolved as the consumers’ buying pattern/choice is changing day by day.

Here are a few trends seen…

Shift In Marketing Channels

Post pandemic, many marketers had to make a move toward digital marketing channels as everything offline was almost out of reach. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise for digital channels are cost-effective.

During the height of the pandemic, keeping the budget cut in mind, out of home advertising like billboards was getting more expensive. This resulted in people moving to more flexible online channels which helped marketers measure consumer presence and impressions as well.

The consumer industry saw a shift towards social media and influencer marketing for maximum consumer attraction.

Following Social Media Trends

These days, keeping up with the trends is very important. As this is the best way to connect with your customers and keep your brand recall active.

Being in the B2C segment, a brand has to connect to its customers on social media. One can read case studies about Mercedes ‘Take a Wheel’ trend ads, Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful trend and more. These brands were some of those that successfully garnered maximum organic impressions and saw a brand recall like never before.

Convenience of E-Commerce

E-commerce is the most convenient and the best innovation that happened after the digital wave. A customer has to no longer wait for weekends or make a run to stores before it closes, all the while managing their daily chores. All the essentials one needs are now available online with just a tap on the screen.

Players like Dunzo, Zepto, BigBasket, BlinkIt are ruling this industry. And all of this is made possible because of digital wallets like UPI which have cut the cash usage in India to almost half.

Customer Engagement & Quality Delivery

Having said that, no matter how much the technology takes over or changes the consumption patterns, one thing that remains unchanged is good customer service. With the increasingly easy availability of products, smooth online access to customer service is required like never before.

Earlier, word of mouth reviews had a stronghold over the industry. But now, online reviews by customers have made a stronger hold. People now prefer to look at previous reviews before making a purchase. Thus, it has become essential for brands to put their best foot forward.

This article is penned by Ashish Chhabra, Jt. Managing Director, Hygienic Research Institute Pvt. Ltd (HRIPL). You can connect with him here.

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