24 April 2024, 23:53
By Leon Calverley Jan 26, 2024

Home businesses are increasing marketing spend, says Door4

UK companies are continuing to increase their marketing budgets, according to the latest IPA Bellwether report, a quarterly study of marketers’ confidence and media spend decisions, released last week. Commenting on the report’s findings, marketing expert in the home and garden sector Leon Calverley from digital agency Door4 reveals his thoughts on whether the general budgetary shifts will be mirrored by businesses operating in the realm of home and garden goods, and he sheds light on whether the trends regarding upward revisions in specific channels are a good idea or not for those in the sector …

While the recent Bellwether report serves as a comprehensive gauge for overall marketing expenditure, it closely echoes our own insights into home and garden retailers.

In the face of current challenges, businesses operating in the industry are strategising and actively marketing, with a longer-term lens, anticipating a return of consumer confidence in the latter part of the year through 2025.

In times of economic uncertainty, there has often been a tendency towards short-termism and solely focusing on performance marketing at the expense of longer-term brand building. However, insights from the Bellwether report indicate a noteworthy surge in investment in main media advertising, encompassing core traditional media channels, and events. This trend suggests a shift in focus among advertisers towards embracing more long-term brand-building strategies, where the objective is to safeguard and enhance market share while cultivating customer loyalty.

Brands have undoubtedly drawn insights from past challenging economic periods, recognising the importance of sustaining operations while also positioning themselves strategically for a robust recovery phase, whenever that occurs.

And this is important in the home and garden sector, where customers aren’t always present in the market for bigger-ticket, non-essential items, so brand building becomes crucial to ensure they’re front of mind when they are.

The key, even during a cost of living crisis and recessionary headwinds, is to optimise marketing strategies that balance short-term gains with long-term branding building and business growth.

By channel, five of the seven sectors analysed in the Bellwether report recorded positive net balances during the last quarter of 2023: Events (15.9% of businesses indicated that they upwardly revised their budgets for events); direct marketing (12.6%); PR (1.9%); main media advertising, which spans TV, online and OOH (1.9%); and sales promotions (1.4%). Market research spending went down by a net balance of -5.0%, and ‘other marketing’ also contracted -6.4%.

We expect to see home and garden businesses taking a similar approach to media channel spend allocation.

Budgets for search and proactive website optimisation will remain a strong area of investment. Similarly, given how important brand building is to capture customers when they do come into market, especially for a higher-ticket item purchase, investment will continue into ‘future demand’ channels and attention-rich media. This is to ensure the best bang-for-your-buck media investments.

As a guide, the Binet and Field 60/40 split is a good starting point for future demand versus performance in the home decor market.

As Meta and TV are the predominant force for homeowner media consumption (68% of these audiences are homeowners, according to research), despite the growth of platforms such as TikTok, spend will continue to be assigned to proven channels backed by audience insight.

For DIY brands, video and YouTube offers a particularly effective route to market. And mirroring the expected areas of growth as per the Bellwether findings, radio, TV and out-of-home advertising can play a significant role in driving growth.

An important factor in any approach brands take with their media mix is to be continually measuring and learning, adjusting campaigns for the best results as consumer spending habits change. Being able to measure the success (or otherwise) of a campaign also powers your ability to repeat at scale.

As this latest Bellwether report shows, trends are ever evolving – meaning that home and garden retailers operating in these conditions need to continually adapt, not only to fluctuating consumer spending habits, but also to what competitors in their space are doing.

If competitors are upping spend, whether that’s for short-term gain or to manage brand reputation amidst price increases, then businesses need to base their own decisions grounded with up-to-date intelligence and good advice. And maximising ROI in a crowded digital marketplace means that every penny counts.

Door4 is hosting a free event on Thursday 22nd February specifically tailored to how to drive efficiency and measurable effectiveness in home and garden marketing. The event promises to provide up-to-date advice on market, media, message and measurement, and on how brands can strategically optimise their marketing spend and develop messaging that resonates most with their audiences. Register here.

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