You don’t have to look far to see stories about COVID-19-related supply chain problems. It’s a global problem impacting consumers and businesses around the world. Shipping and logistics issues, skyrocketing consumer demand, and production shortages have been disrupted supply chains across the world, and there’s no immediate end in sight.
Now, in response, businesses are stuck figuring out how to pivot—much like the rest of the world is in a million different ways. Part of that pivot? Finding new audiences and new customers in the coming year.
Shifting strategy is key for overcoming the current supply chain problems, and a key component of any business strategy is the target audience and consumer. Getting creative and strategic about what those targets are can make a big difference for businesses struggling to get by in today’s constantly changing and difficult marketplace.
How to attract new customers and audiences in 2022
Following are four ways to recalibrate and attract new audiences and consumers in the year ahead:
1. Create a hybrid consumer journey with the help of data.
According to Sidharth Gowda, SVP of strategy at the media agency Carat, the customer journey became a more digital journey but also a more human journey during the pandemic. People have come to care about their local communities more than ever and are nurturing new bonds rooted in their local ecosystems. In fact, more than 82% of consumers say they’d spend more to support local business post-pandemic.
That said, to attract and retain new customers, businesses will have to redraw the lines of influence and purchases. He notes that the channels of connection will remain digital, but the circle of trust will have to feel more local, more personal.
“As employers reinvest their tech infrastructure budgets to accommodate this cultural shift, brands need to consider rebuilding their consumer journeys,” Gowda says. “Tactics like day-part targeting and OOH media may have to be reimagined, as proximity to the workplace may not determine our homes and routines anymore.”
In essence, the way businesses connect with consumers has to keep up with their changing expectations and lifestyles.
How can this be done well? Start with surveys. This feedback tool allows businesses to go beyond “what” and get into “why.” They are also, according to Gowda, the first indicators of changing audience composition, and technology continues to make them more dynamic, user-friendly tools. Beyond that, businesses should focus heavily on first-party data and data modeling. This is key to putting together different pieces of audience and consumer information to ultimately inform more holistic, well-rounded strategies and decisions.
2. Use coupons and special offers to attract customers.
Coupons and special offers are another great way to catch the attention of and connect with new customers. And their benefit goes beyond the short term—they help to build credibility and, as a result, loyalty with those customers in the long term, too. Better yet, as a business works to redefine its audience and attract new customers, coupons allow for personalized targeting.
There are several great ways to get started with coupons, according to President, CEO, and CTO Michael Plummer Jr. of marketing company Our Town America. One is to utilize a variety of digital coupon platforms, including printable coupons, QR codes, and online coupon codes. Making these coupons limited-time offers can also help to grab consumers’ attention and prompt a sense of urgency in making a purchase, Plummer says. It’s also important to make coupons a robust part of your customer rewards program; this incentivizes new (and established) customers to stick around.
3. Consider building an app.
Just as coupons are a great versatile and accessible way to connect with and attract new customers, so are apps. Plus, like coupons, apps help businesses build loyalty with customers. Why are apps so effective? Today’s consumers are digital-first, and any digital tools that make their customer experience better will prove valuable for businesses.
Apps are also important because e-commerce sales are increasingly happening on mobile devices. By the end of last year alone, it was predicted that 72.9% of all retail e-commerce would be generated via m-commerce, up from 58.9% in 2017. With a well-designed and well-built app, businesses give consumers another way to engage. And when those businesses do this well, consumers view them as more polished and trustworthy.
4. Sponsor events.
Finally—and especially relevant to the first point about the increasing value of community and human consumer journeys—are sponsored events. Where certain tactics like coupons and app-building are aimed at driving customers toward specific purchases, sponsoring events focuses more on driving loyalty and connection. When events are designed to resonate with specific audiences, those audiences link sponsoring businesses with their interests and see that businesses as caring about what they care about.
Businesses end up seeing big benefits as a result. Not only does sponsoring events offer brand exposure, but it provides tons of great content ideas and materials, lets businesses monitor new industry trends and tactics other businesses are using, generates quality, targeted leads, and gives businesses a chance to connect with their prospective audiences or consumers in a unique, memorable way.
Almost two years later, the pandemic keeps impacting people and businesses. But it’s also fostered an innovative, resilient spirit in both. As businesses move ahead, connecting with new customers and audiences will help keep that spirit alive in a tangible way, and fortunately, there are myriad ways to do that creatively and effectively. By using tools and tactics like coupons, sponsored events, data-informed marketing, and apps, businesses set themselves up to connect with consumers meaningfully and memorably—and to weather whatever the future or pandemic might bring next.