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As we close the door to summer 2021 and buckle up for a busy start to the upcoming holiday season, there’s a lot to consider for a marketing strategy. From leveraging new technologies to meet the evolving hybrid needs of shoppers to reimagining the outdoor ad potential for changing customer journeys, our team rounded up some of the biggest patterns we’re noticing this season. So grab a hot beverage of your choice—let’s talk fall trends.
OOH Innovation for DTC Brands
When OOH real estate prices fell during the pandemic, it created the perfect scenario for DTC brands to experiment at little risk. Now, they’re finding creative ways to use that to their innovative advantage. Experimenting with OOH allows brands to ease their reliance on digital ads (especially as holiday ad prices start to hit their budgets a little harder) by diversifying their marketing mixes. The data and insights gathered from experimenting can help shape both short and long-term strategies.
Take DTC underwear brand Parade, for example. Rather than activating in tourist hubs like Times Square, the brand leaned into the idea that while shoppers are out and about, they’re often doing so locally. Parade opted to activate in smaller parks like Dimes Square, in neighborhoods that showed high engagement with digital native DTC brands, honing in to market to a smaller, more specific community.
Let’s Get Phygital
Phygital is an emerging concept designed to bring the best of eComm and brick-and-mortar together. It focuses on immediacy, immersion, and interaction—and it’s vital when creating an omnichannel brand experience.
Brands like Warby Parker and Away have become proof that a strong eComm presence can fuel in-store shopping (and vice-versa)—and other digital native brands are following suit. An additional 850 stores operated by digital native brands are expected to open by 2023, some even clustering together to help customers enjoy the brick-and-mortar fronts of their favorite digital native brands in one place.
The trend is also taking the form of data collection, as brands like Nike roll out features like app integrations to enhance the in-store experience. Plus, leaning into phygital can open the door to in-store content creation—Vans uses its stores as live stages and has launched a live-streaming network, connecting their digital audience to their physical store in a creative way.
Hybrid for the Holidays
While online shopping grew over 30% in the 2020 season, stores have now reopened, and more people will be with their families to hand-deliver gifts. All in all, holiday sales are expected to surpass $1 trillion.
We’re expecting to see a bigger rise in eCommerce than in-store retail this year as a continued result of adaptation to the world climate—and this digital trendiness will mean an earlier start date for holiday messaging (we’re talking October). But now that stores have largely reopened and holiday travel will resume, we’re going to be looking at a very hybrid holiday season.
That means that brands will need to connect early through digital, engage their audiences, have provide a brick-and-mortar experience that’s just as seamless and engaging. And there’s going to be opportunity to do so in tactics like geotargeting customers near your stores and getting creative with data collection.
AI & Deep Learning
Developed by OpenAI, GPT-3 is a language prediction model that produces human-like text using AI and deep learning…and it’s growing fast. Growing popularity and demand for the model has contributed to its recent report that the model is averaging 4.5 billion generated per day (whoa). But it’s not just the wow-factor that’s turning heads—GPT-3 has big implications for the future of marketing.
So, how does it work? Essentially, you prompt the model and it gives you responses that you ideally wouldn’t be able to tell came from a robot (okay, maybe sometimes you can tell). For marketers, that means GPT-3 can act as another team member, generating ideas during sprints and removing any hesitancy to propose out-of-the-box solutions.
We expect to see more marketers using AI to help spark ideas—and then MORE AI to bring them to life visually. Mind blown.