Ideas to share

Economic worries overtake COVID fears for first time in almost 20 months

In this latest study by IPSOS, COVID now ranks as the 3rd biggest concern among the global consumer population behind economic-related worries of poverty and unemployment. This is a significant shift in sentiment and should be considered as we develop messages to our audiences as we get further from the pandemic.

Click here to read the full study 

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COVID-19 related social isolation harms cognitive function

As we are now exiting the final major COVID-related safety restrictions in California, it is good to take away any learnings. An interesting study by researchers in the UK published in the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology shows that in addition to the emotional damage caused by social isolation, the lockdowns also caused a significant drop in executive function, risk processing and other cognitive measures.  This study is another reason that we should think about reducing isolation when designing marketing team structures and even through the marketing programs to our customers and prospects.

Click here to read the full study.

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Consumer concerned, but optimistic heading into 2021

Check out the latest survey information from Engine Insights (Representative sample of the U.S. population N=1,000) below from January 10.

As we enter 2021, people are more concerned about disinformation (81%) and violence (78%) than lockdowns (74%) and contracting COVID (71%), but all the numbers are still high.

The vaccination launch is helping to reduce the concern as 18% of respondents claim to be signed up or on a waiting list for the vaccine, while another 34% are planning to get one soon. 71% are optimistic that 2021 will be better than 2020. This bodes well for sales rebounds throughout the year.

American-manufactured products, small business and environmentally friendly products might fare even better with 41% of consumers planning to purchase more products made in the USA, 36% planning to purchase more from small business and 30% planning to buy more environmentally friendly products.

As you project your sales bounce back in 2021, it still looks like summer for the biggest jump with concerns still running high now. Continued sensitivity in marketing messaging and providing continued COVID-related support for customers/community remain solid ways to maintain engagement until sentiment changes.

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Marketing predictions for 2021

A new report from Gartner analyzes how the turmoil from 2020 (COVID, racial tension, political unrest, recession, etc.) will impact marketing for the future. They have made 6 predictions that we all should consider as we plan for 2021:

1. Major shift to real-time, virtual events – Need to think of this as the standard going forward, optimizing the virtual user experience

2. Shift from channel-based strategies to customer-centric, channel-agnostic – Need to think customer first and get a multiplying effect from an omni-channel approach

3. Continued growth in subscription model pricing – With increased competition, strategies to differentiate your offering and retain your customers will be even more important

4. Due to digital acceleration, customer experience (CX) function increasingly merged into marketing and sales – Higher need to look for an eliminate organization redundancies, share data and map all elements of the customer journey from high in the funnel prospects to loyal customers

5. Increased employee activism – Need to monitor and help guide employee comments and attitudes to help protect brand image

6. Increased emphasis on content moderation – Need to utilize the latest tools to help to maintain brand safety in user generated content


Download the full report here for full information:
Gartner Marketing Predictions 2021 & Beyond

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Almost half of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season

If your sales are slowing into year end, you will not be alone. This report froom IPSOS indicates that the consumer sentiment index post-election is down almost 4 points to 49.5 (and 10 points below May 2020). 23% of consumers plan on spending a lot less and 26% a little less than last year. Even higher income consumers are planning to cut back with 43% of those households planning on spending less this holiday season vs. last.

Historical consumer sentiment chart

Click here to view the full article.

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Increased consumer optimism with vaccines, however many concerns remain

Check out the latest survey information from Engine Insights (Representative sample of the U.S. population N=1,000) below. The vaccine news this week has 73% of the U.S. population feeling optimistic that these vaccines will bring the pandemic to an end within 6 months. 67% believe life will return to normal after the vaccine is available. However, the short-term is still scary to many people. 85% are still concerned about COVID-19, with 81% concerned about new lockdowns due to COVID-19 spikes.

As you forecast sales for consumer driven businesses in 2021, it may be May/June for demand to begin return to normal, but the data suggests it could bounce back quickly at that point. Until then, showing continued sensitivity in marketing messaging + providing continued COVID-related support for customers/community are the right things to do.

The Pulse of the American Consumer wk 37 engine insights

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What does the new consumer privacy rights act in CA mean for digital marketing?

On November 3, California voters passed Proposition 24 (California Privacy Rights Act – CPRA) to expand consumer privacy protections. It builds on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) from 2018 to make California law similar to the European Union (GDPR). It will allow consumers to stop businesses from selling or sharing their personal information (like race, religion, geographic location, and sexual orientation). One of the biggest changes is expand protection from “selling” to “selling or sharing” which includes sharing information with agencies and media companies. It imposes greater fines on companies that break these rules and also creates a new agency that will help enforce these laws.

Some additional details that advertisers should be aware of include:
-Making advertisers get permission before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 16 or from a parent or guardian before collecting data from consumers who are younger than 13
-Providing consumers with an “opt-out” option for having their personal information used for advertising or marketing
-Preventing advertisers from sharing a consumer’s personal information upon the consumer’s request and mandating advertisers correct inaccurate personal information upon request
-Establishing new guidelines for “opt-out” links
-Limiting use of certain “sensitive personal information,” like precise location, race, religion, sexual orientation, social security information, specified health information and other categories of personal information
-Setting time limits for retention of personal information
-Increasing penalties for violations in certain situations
-Removing the ability of businesses to fix violations before penalization

The CPRA applies to businesses that:
-Have gross annual revenue of over $25 million.
-Buy, receive, or sell the personal information of 100,000 or more California residents, households, or devices or that derive 50% or more of their annual revenue from selling or sharing California residents’ personal information.

The CPRA will begin in 2023, so there is time to prepare. Some things that advertisers can do include:
-Make sure you have a clear way for consumers to “opt out” of the sharing of their information (like a “pop up” notice on your site informing visitors of your privacy policy including CPRA guidelines and noting consumers’ right to “opt out” with instructions)
-Make sure your partners have strong privacy policies and comply with CPRA
-Monitor and adjust to new policies and targeting changes from Facebook, Google and other media companies. The CRPA will block companies like Fthis from collecting advertising data without consent. This may force them to change their business models or cut into revenue. In a Biden administration, advertisers should expect to see these same privacy guidelines expand nationwide.

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Changing role of SEO with Google policy changes

This interesting post from gives a history of how Google has changed their page design, algorithms and business models over the years. The latest shift prioritizes paid advertising and Google shopping over organic results, so it is more difficult to get a high ranking/position in search results for high volume keywords.  This means higher priority on using long-tail terms in SEO and more emphasis on paid search programs.


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QR Codes are making a comeback

In the past 2 years, QR codes have made a come back due to:

  1. Ability of iPhones and Android phone to scan codes with the standard camera vs. separate app
  2. Increased demand for no touch solutions during COVID-19

The number of advertisers using QR codes increased 160% in Q2 2020 vs. year ago while the number of impressions increased 62% (Media Post).  Some areas of increased usage include signs at public places, restaurants, and retail as well as usage in TV commercials as a way to get people online faster and track ad performance without using a complicated custom url for every spot.

From a consumer perspective, MobileIron completed a survey of +2,000 consumers and found:

  • 54% have seen increase in QR codes since COVID
  • Top places they’ve seen QR codes are restaurants, retailers, banks, doctor’s office, and packaging
  • 67% feel that QR codes make life easier
  • 58% would like to see them used more
  • People are less comfortable using QR codes for payments or voting, but can see doing it in the future

Here is a link to the full research report.

If you haven’t started using QR codes again, you should consider ways it can enhance and expedite your connection to your audience.

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