‘Revenge spending’ is set to hit the media industry, and now is the time to prepare

Customer splashing cash in revenge

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Spinach general manager and media director Ben Willee looks at how marketers and their agency partners can navigate the next phase of the COVID journey.

As New South Wales emerges from lockdown and those of us south of the border eagerly await for Friday to come, we’re on the precipice of a shift.

There is no doubt we’re in for a big couple of months once Sydney and Melbourne really let it rip. With the ABS calculating Aussies have around $230 billion worth of savings in their bank accounts, there’s going to be more ‘revenge spending’ than COVID-19 cases at an anti-lockdown protest.

Consumers are going to drive the market. And where the audience goes, the advertisers follow. What that means is an onslaught of spending in adland.

Plenty of advertisers have been holding back on campaigns as they wait for things to open up. We know from experience there’s a backlog of out-of-home campaigns ready and raring to go. Meanwhile, TV is booked up to the gills for the rest of the year. From a media channel perspective, a bit of a rebalancing is likely to come in the new year. But for now, there’s some juggling to be done.

If you’re a national marketer, all this is likely causing you a bit of a headache as your two largest markets emerge at different times. It’s not a case of rolling out a national campaign and being done with it – you need to get one step ahead of the mayhem.

Start off by making some long term deals. Media owners love to be in committed relationships with their clients and will offer plenty of benefits in return. These benefits include access to no charge activity, upgrades, integrations, and most importantly reduced cost per thousand.

Negotiate flexibility. I hope more than anything there are no major lockdowns coming in 2022, but who really knows? Give yourself the option and the space to make changes to any plans if the uncertainty continues into the new year.

As you proceed, expect fixed inventory mediums such as TV and outdoor to be the hardest to come to the party. To get around lack of availability, lock in your campaigns now. Yes, that’s right. ASAP. Better to be moving activity than begging for space. Or worse still, paying a premium at the last minute.

If you can’t get the ad space you’d usually go for, now’s the best time to embrace change. We’re all consuming media in different ways from increased use of podcasts to smart devices. Why not do things differently than you have before and dip your toe into a medium you haven’t trialed before? You might just find it more effective at delivering on your objectives.

If you’re testing new mediums and approaches, there’s no better time to invest in attribution modelling. I’ve always believed in data-driven marketing and there are many methods to mathematically prove the causation between advertising, sales and awareness. The cost of doing this is getting cheaper and it’s much easier to secure additional budget if you can qualify the likely impact of your media spend. Better still, it’s a great way to protect yourself from the CFO who is looking for bottom line savings.

Author William Gibson once said: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” He definitely wasn’t predicting COVID, but his statement rings very true, especially for those of us living in the most locked-down city in the world.

Now, I’m off to plan some revenge spending at my favourite Melbourne restaurants and bars. Who’s with me?

Spinach State of the Nation.

In our annual State of the Nation presentation, we will look at the impact Covid has had on consumer decision making and the rapidly growing media marketplace. We’ll also share what we believe advertisers can do to stay one step ahead of the market.

If you’d like to attend one of our virtual State of the Nation presentations, please contact bwillee@spinach.com.au

Ben Willee

Over a 20-year career Ben has worked in some of the biggest media agencies in the UK and Australia. As General Manager and Media Director, Ben optimises our fully integrated, no silo approach.