Strategic marketing partnerships key for brands in the ‘New Normal’
COMMENT | Colin Asiimwe | In reference to an excerpt in Seth Godin’s book titled; This is Marketing, marketing is defined as a fundamental element in the decision-making process, as it is everywhere and a part of our day to day activities as we interact with billboards, roadsters, listen to adverts on radio, watch them on TV, read them in newspapers, and via online channels….which cycle goes on and on.
Faced with unprecedented times, businesses have had to rethink some of their marketing models to remain relevant and continue to appeal to existing customers or onboard new customers whose behaviors have also been disrupted by new emerging situations.
At the end or start of every financial year, organizations task teams to put together strategic marketing and communication plans with the intent of engaging customers on offers and new products introduced onto the market, to achieve business goals.
CNBC in a May 2020 publication cited that global marketing ad spends were set to fall by almost $50 billion this year as businesses in all sectors cancelled or postponed media buys with the ad market reducing by 8.1%, or $49.6 billion compared to a previously forecast growth of 7.1%. The data cited a World Advertising Research Center (WARC) publication from May 2020. The report further stressed that traditional media outlets will be impacted the most, with TV spend reducing by 13.8% and newspaper ad buys going down 19.5%, while Cinema ad spend is set to decline steeply, at 31.6%.
The performance of global ad spends is an indicator that businesses are having to be intentional in their marketing approaches to mitigate reduced customer engagement with traditional advertising channels. Managing customer acquisition costs and increased focus on retention have amplified the efficacy of alternative models like embracing digital platforms as viable options.
Harnessing the digital customer journey is a lucrative venture as the channel influences customers’ propensity for digital economy adoption.
Partnerships are also a key catalyst in sparking business growth and boosting return on investment especially during such uncertain times where minimizing contact that could lead to the spread of COVID-19 is a priceless investment even in the long-term.
In the first quarter of 2020, MultiChoice Uganda for example formed a partnership with Jumia Uganda, meant to broaden their offering to their customers, to aid them have access to MultiChoice Uganda merchandise via the Jumia platform. The collaboration and other similar to it provided the much-needed support in the Pay TV industry to thrive.
The same goes for partnerships with payment service providers like telecoms, aggregators and integrators allowing for instant and convenient goods and service consumption.
These foundational strategic partnerships go a long way in strengthening brand claims towards customer-centricity. They go over and above already existing platforms to offer customers more value, volume and access to services in real time and conveniently; a key thing that marketing offers a customer.
With the looming shift to digital, harnessing online channels as ancillary marketing appendages is a step in the right direction as it gives customers a real time experience with the products, shortens the feedback cycle and enhances service iteration much faster.
With these tectonic shifts happening, it is quite clear that marketers are looking at exciting times ahead as they plan and plot find the right path to their consumers while delivering their annual numbers.
Colin Asiimwe is the Head of Marketing, MultiChoice Uganda