In the first quarter of 2023, the European economy showed encouraging growth indicators, but growth is slowing somewhat due to an uncertain macroeconomic environment and various factors affecting consumer sentiment. In Slovenia, economic growth has slowed compared to the last quarter of 2022. Inflation rates remain high and prices for goods, energy products and services are also rising. This could lead to declining consumer sentiment and a reduction in the consumer confidence indicator later in the year. We live in volatile times, and no one can predict what the second half of the year will bring.
Companies are facing challenges stemming from changing market conditions and need to adjust their marketing strategies, optimize marketing budgets and look for new consumer segments and ways to target them effectively. Below, I offer some guidance for decision-makers on how and why to target audiences using first-party data, how to implement data-driven advertising strategies using the open web, and why proprietary data warehouses are now a core asset in which businesses need to invest in today to be able to operate more easily and efficiently in the future when market conditions are more favourable again.
1. Customer trust and loyalty as the basis for a successful long-term strategy
It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a loyal customer base as customer needs and expectations change constantly, competition rises, and customers become sceptical of the company’s loyalty. In times of economic downturn, it is advisable to prioritise activities in the marketing strategy that foster customer loyalty and satisfaction. However, this relies on a superior buying experience throughout the customer journey. Companies must strive to deliver an exceptional and comprehensive shopping experience that builds trust and strengthens customer loyalty.
It is important to know and understand who our product or service customers are and what they need and when. Our own or first-party data about customers can also help us with this, providing us with clear insights into understanding needs and purchase intentions on the one hand, and enabling more targeted and personalized communications in digital media on the other. With the right data collected, companies can segment buyers or users of products or services and target them accordingly at the right time and in the right place.
First-party data is data owned by companies and collected with the explicit consent of the user through the company’s own media (website, mobile application, etc.). In advertising, first-party data is extremely valuable because it allows advertisers to better understand their target audiences and provide them with more targeted and personalized advertising that is more relevant and appealing to each individual.
2. Adapt marketing strategies to changing consumer behaviour
Judging by economic forecasts, a period of market turmoil is upon us, requiring companies to adapt their marketing strategies to respond to changing consumer behaviour more effectively. Consumers have become more rational and inform themselves before buying, research more thoroughly and look for more favourable promotional offers, as supported by numerous studies conducted by iPROM and Valicon, which shed light on the purchase path of the Slovenian consumer.
Therefore, in order to maintain or increase their market share, it is important for companies to gain insight into consumers’ purchase intentions and adapt their offers to showcase the added value they provide. In this way, they can attract the attention of new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing ones. In a flood of marketing messages and a saturated media market, it is essential for companies to craft messages that address genuine customer issues if they are to differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract new customers successfully.
Highlighting unique selling points and benefits of a product or service to a target group of prospective buyers can help companies retain customers and build brand reputation. Proprietary data plays an important role in this process, allowing promotional messages to be tailored to the needs of the target audience, showcasing the company’s commitment to solving customer problems and leading to long-term growth. Independent data management platforms such as iPROM Private DMP also enable companies to protect their data from the competition by building their own carefully controlled data warehouses to further strengthen their own distinct value proposition in the market.
3. Achieving sustainable growth with a data-driven marketing strategy
Economic uncertainty and rapidly changing conditions combined with various crisis factors present marketers with unique challenges. It is important to understand that every crisis can also be an opportunity, allowing us to change our marketing strategies and focus on what matters most and on what will drive growth and deliver the highest return on investment.
The more uncertain the times and the more fragmented the media content, the more important it is for strong brands to focus on driving traffic to their own media, which is completely controlled by the brand. Today, owned media still has the greatest impact, offering full control over content, rapid brand customization of marketing messages, and highly personalized and targeted advertising using owned data.
Marketing strategies based on first-party data can easily be put into action as fuel for data-driven advertising on media that are part of the open web. By leveraging independent AdTech solutions like iPROM Private DMP and iPROM Programmatic Platform, companies can target their customer segments when they are receptive to specific information or purchases. In addition, this type of data-driven advertising on the open web facilitates the expansion of existing audiences based on proprietary data using the method of identifying buyers with similar behavioural patterns. This allows companies to swiftly expand their audiences in the upper tier of the purchase funnel.
4. Agile strategies and rapid response to strengthen competitive advantage
In a rapidly changing marketing environment, it is extremely important for companies to adopt an agile and flexible approach that allows them to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace and stay ahead of the competition. Challenging conventional thinking, seizing new opportunities and leveraging new technologies are the keys to discovering innovative ways to connect with target audiences. Investing in independent advertising technology that delivers measurable results and optimizing digital advertising can help companies stay competitive.
By maintaining constant access to marketing data about their customers, brands can quickly adjust their advertising campaigns and marketing activities, which is essential to effectively monetize marketing investments.
One of the most effective approaches to improving customer understanding, driving an agile marketing strategy, and fostering business growth is to establish your own “walled garden” for advertising by integrating owned media, private data warehouses, and advertising on the open web. Companies can use this today to take control of their key marketing assets and gain valuable insights into their customers’ preferences and buying behaviour. They can then leverage these insights to optimize advertising campaigns across the entire customer journey and analyse the performance of all marketing channels. This naturally leads to an improved return on investment. Fraport Slovenia is a compelling example, where iPROM has set up the airport operator’s own advertising platform, Ljubljana Airport FLY. It enables the airport operator to effectively and consistently advertise Ljubljana Airport’s flight offers by leveraging iPROM’s automated AdTech solutions powered by artificial intelligence.