The world of marketing is always evolving, but it has changed and evolved more over the last two years than it might have over a decade. Thanks mainly to the pandemic, marketers have had to change their approach out of necessity, particularly to suit new consumer habits.
When consumers adopted new lifestyles to cater to the isolated world around them, many of these new behaviours stuck. Marketing to consumers was never going to be the same, but have we done enough to keep up?
Are you aware of how your consumers have changed? Do your audiences still hold the same opinions and tendencies? Are you still able to communicate with them through the same channels? Or, have you acquired a new audience you were unaware you had attracted?
Whilst there have been many changes in consumer habits in leisure and tourism since 2020, we’ve found some of the most impactful have been:
As people began to venture outside again, they looked within their local area. They engaged with spaces, attractions and experiences on their doorstep that they never knew existed and many of the new audiences have become loyal advocates of their local attractions.
Unable to socialise or leave the house, people turned to digital for everything from entertainment and research to shopping and interacting. Even the most non-digital audiences became used to booking online in advance. Whilst pre booking was at 100% initially, this still remains 70% plus for many venues and is likely to remain significant.
Joe Pine’s book ‘The Experience Economy’ was first published in 1999, confirming that experience culture is anything but new. However, the pandemic has catapulted both the movement and its meaning. After so long without, passion for spending time with loved ones and creating authentic, genuine memories means people are looking to be active participants in their experiences.
This is a trend which is only going to grow, especially with younger generations' adoption of digital and technology. Gen Z are difficult to remove from their devices at the best of times and so providing a great experience will become even more important.
These changes to consumer behaviour have seen businesses respond in their approach to marketing.
One of the major impacts has been where marketing budgets are being invested and businesses have realised the genuine potential of and now trust in digital channels.
Before the pandemic, on average we were seeing around 25% of the marketing budgets invested in digital, with the rest committed to out-of-home and traditional marketing. Post-pandemic, the reverse is now the case with 75% investment going into digital marketing. Digital is trackable, easy to approach, activate or deactivate, increase or decrease.
Businesses in the leisure and tourism space used this time to think creatively about their communication; they were able to experiment and try new things. This has been great to see and something I hope businesses continue to do.
Where does this leave us? Well, as always marketing is about looking at the data of the past to plan for the future. This means evolving what has come before to suit the new era.
If you want to adapt and evolve just as your audience has, get in touch and we can work with you to plan out how to do so.
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