The Next Marketing Channel

In 2021 there are numerous macro-trends impacting digital media and an ever-more fractured media landscape within which to advertise.

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Core digital channels such as Paid Social, Paid Search, and Email continue to be an important part of the marketing mix, but there are challenges and scale limitations that are pushing DTC and traditional retailers to diversify the marketing mix.

Paid Social (Facebook & Instagram): Shifts in 2020 spend did little to stop the increase of cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) on paid social, and looming Apple iOS changes have the potential to impact scale, measurement, and performance on the platform.

Source: Within Marketing Pulse Dashboard
Source: Within Marketing Pulse Dashboard
Source: Merkle,  MERKLE DIGITAL MARKETING REPORT Q4 2020
Source: Merkle, MERKLE DIGITAL MARKETING REPORT Q4 2020

Paid Search has always been limited to search impression availability, and CPCs are quickly returning to Q1 2020 levels as search ad clicks decline.

Email continues to be an integral part of the marketing mix, but customers that are not active on email are challenging to reactivate with email alone. Email had a strong performance bump as SIP orders forced many to work from home, but returned to pre-COVID levels during summer 2020.

Source: Wunderkind Marketing Pulse
Source: Wunderkind Marketing Pulse

Despite this, we still saw incredible growth in digital performance and strategy for many of our clients. Those who are navigating this successfully are consistently doing the following:

Building an integrated and diverse marketing mix across channels:

  • Ensuring they are not overly-reliant on a single marketing channel
  • Consistently testing creative, new channels, and messaging
  • Utilizing consistent, on-brand, personalized messages
  • Effectively planning spend, revenue, and performance across channels

Fully utilizing their customer file for both retention and acquisition

  • Utilizing their customer file across search, social, email, and SMS
  • Building look-alike audiences off specific customer segments
  • Developing a deep understanding of retention versus acquisition by channel
  • Actively working to convert 1X buyers into 2X buyers

To continue to build a diversified and integrated marketing mix, many of our clients are seeing success by strategically investing in new channels.

New Channels & Their Key Strengths:

  • SMS: Mobile-first channel that cuts through email competitiveness for 1:1 communication; can be used for acquisition, retention and customer service
  • Micro-Influencer Marketing: New management platforms (e.g., GRIN), private channels/groups/messaging, and ease of content amplification are creating new opportunities for brands to engage with specific communities
  • Connected TV: Improved measurability (but still limited), strong targeting capabilities, and a fractured media landscape are creating testing opportunities
  • YouTube & Video: Improved measurability (but still limited), client creative bandwidth, low CPMs, and ease of testing and measuring within Google tools are leading to clients rapidly testing into this channel with mixed results

As always, we are available as a resource to our clients to discuss any of these trends or emerging channels in more detail!

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