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Michaela Faber
26 November 2020

What is driving consumers right now?

Preferences are changing fast!
Being a marketer is really a tough job! Consumer’s preferences are changing faster and are less predictable than ever before. Covid-19 is impacting consumption behavior on so many levels. Navigating your short term and long term strategies is really difficult these days. We just don’t know how the economy will impact overall consumer behavior and how well we will be able to adapt to the changes that lay ahead. Short term we can already see a cut in spending power more so in the U. K where about 50% of people said they would spend less money on Christmas presents this year than compared to Germany where it was about 32%.
You need to be prepared to act agile in every way for some time to come!
And this means to ride the wave with your consumers. With marketing budgets being tight this may not be easy but if you want to survive you have to invest. There is no room for guessing and no time to evaluate huge data sets. You need to be flexible, on the spot and support consumers in every possible way. And that means you have to test and retest with consumers on the spot to meet their true needs. Research is everything these days. And I am not alone with my opinion. Mark Ritson from Marketing Weekly wrote a great piece on it.
Bridge the gap between consumer needs and your brand
Local marketing teams have to engage with consumers and really find out how Covid-19 impacts their consumption behavior. Has spending power really decreased or is your brand something consumers don’t want right now? We can all assume that designer handbags are not really on most people’s shopping list right now but what about deodorant? Do people use it as much when working in an home office environment? I am single and I am working from home but I have two dogs and would never leave the house without. But what about people who have not got dogs, who are single and only meet people online during lock down?

And if you are a snack brand, how can you tweak your communication in order to meet people in the home office environment. As I am writing this I am chomping on cookies btw, but I did walk my dogs today. Are chocolate, cookies, crisps and other snack foods still considered a suitable treat with all those pounds piling up while you work from home? Has alcohol consumption gone up or are people picking healthy alternatives? Would this be the right time to launch something new, or relaunch something old and rebrand it with a healthier label? Questions and more questions! You need to ask your consumers.

Be compassionate but don't lose your brand's identity!
No one would consider a Mars bar to be something healthy but at times it really makes you happy. But would this be one of those snacks people cut down on, due to the lack of exercise they have when working in a home office? If you don’t know, you need to check how your product fits into the Covid time? If you don’t know, ask your consumers because they know.
People want compassion and reassurance
Are you sure your brand, your campaigns and your message is catering for this? If so, are you sure you are authentic? Are you telling people what they want to hear right now? Is your story still believable? If not you really need to get in touch with your consumers and ask them. Tell them the story you want to support them with and see if they believe you. Check with them and be prepared to change your story in a second. For example 77% of people we asked in a recent survey want companies to share information about donations they make for Corona relief but would they like it if you use this information in an advert. Check out more details in regards to how consumers feel about advertising in time of Covid in our report.
Is spending money really an issue?
With the second lockdown we really do not know how things will develop in the next couple of weeks. When we did our survey in regards to spending power in Germany, 32% said they have less money to spend on x-mas gifts. Are your products affected by the spending cuts of your consumer? If so you need to get their insights into your products. You need to understand what drives them away from you and how to guide them back towards you.
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