Understanding your audience

29 June 2022

The world of marketing has consistently evolved, but has done more so in the last two years than it may over the next decade, thanks in part to the pandemic. Whilst marketers have had to change their approach out of necessity, they’ve also had to change 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?  

email marketing campaign

Whilst there have been many changes in consumer habits in leisure and tourism since 2020, some of the most impactful have been: 

Local Discovery. 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.

Digital Migration. 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.

Experience Culture. 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 with younger generations coming through. Gen Z are difficult to remove from their devices and often harder to engage and maintain without their screens and providing a great experience will become even more important.

These changes to consumer behaviour have seen businesses respond in their approach to marketing.

Budget Inversion. 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.

Innovation. 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.

The value of audience insight

But is the push towards digital all glorious? With the online world becoming more saturated, competitive and expensive, your content cannot just stand out from the crowd but needs to show you truly understand your audience's motivations and this is one area that I don’t believe enough attention is given.

Before launching a campaign, think carefully about who you want to target. Know if your audience is still the same post-pandemic as it was formerly. Understand their real interests, the brands they invest in, the influencers they follow, and the channels or platforms they use.

These questions not only apply to your previous audiences but to your new ones too. There is more opportunity and accessibility than ever before to reach them; use it to your advantage.

Whilst audience profiling and producing customer personas used to be expensive and time-consuming, digital channels can now build a clear, relevant picture of audience behaviours. Use them to ensure your content is appealing, engaging and reaching the audience you need it to be.

These methods have seen a significant improvement in helping the performance of digital advertising and we have seen up to a 30% improvement in performance through creating clear audience personas and using insights in targeting. It may seem frustrating to pick apart your audience and spend that much time before launching a campaign, but the more time and effort invested into planning, the more benefits you can reap.

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