Brands need to pick up their consumer data and make best use of it. Do not leave it to third parties. Image Credit: Shutterstock

It is that time to look ahead. While 2020 disrupted our plans and forced us indoors, 2021 was when we learnt to overcome our fears, move forward and catch up with what we had missed out in the previous year.

Challenges were there, but as marketers, we learnt to survive and adapt to a totally different new world. That is where the power of resilience has helped. All of us do understand that these two years have dramatically changed the way people consume media.

Marketing and reaching out to target audiences will be based on the insights these two years have thrown up. For marketers, it is becoming a perpetual challenge to stay relevant. Consumer preferences being extra fickle, how do we build long-term relationships?

Need to sanitize

I feel that is where sanitization has to come in. Sanitize the communication being sent out. Straight, clear communication without mumbo-jumbo will create the desired impact. This would also help the brand to stand above the content clutter that one is exposed to nowadays.

As is evident, the advertising landscape is full of noise and getting noisier. Good communication should be able to rise above the decibel to create the desired impact.

The relevance of each media vehicle needs to be carefully scrutinized. The preferred online platforms are not only evolving, but also changing. Will Facebook continue its hold or will Insta narrow the gap? Will LinkedIn sustain its growth or will something else catch the attention of people?

Ditch those third-parties

As marketers, we should be fully clued in to understand changing preferences and adapt and also react to the rising concerns with regards to privacy. Dependence on third-party cookies is seeing a decline. Data collection is becoming all the more challenging, and dependence on first-party data is vital.

Brands need to work on a clear strategy with regard to data collection, the interpretation and how to transform it to maximize reach among the relevant prospects. Content will continue to attract eyeballs. From blink-and-you-miss-it short form content, there has been a gradual increase in the duration of content.

Maybe this is the year when longer duration content will become the norm. Though video content will rule, people are opening their ears to quality podcasts and that is going to make a substantial difference to advertisers. With a base of active and engaged listeners, the universe of virtual audio will provide a highly personalized way for brands to reach their preferred audience.

All through this, we should not get distracted and take our eyes away from the big picture. If we are equipped we can handle the changes in a dynamic manner. We are running a marathon - to survive and stay relevant, it is important to upskill. That’s where our focus should be.

C. Sunil Roy