Marketing agencies serving the brave new Australian entrepreneur of 2020

In a brand new Australia, Alex Cleanthous writes about how agencies will need to work in a focused and rapid manner to meet the needs of a more entrepreneurial client.

It has been a historically bad year for Australia and consumer buying behaviour shows it. McKinsey’s latest consumer-sentiment analysis shows 40 percent of all Australian households are adjusting to a decline in household income, with Generation Z and Millennials the most severely impacted. The nature of marketing has also transformed, as agencies switch tactics to reach audiences and pivot with the client to adjust strategies.

Clients are definitely more careful and looking to be able to adapt quickly to change how they approach marketing and what channels they actually invest in. Pre-pandemic campaigns might run for months without any change beyond basic optimisation. Those days are gone.

2020 has created a more entrepreneurial client

The businesses that are surviving and thriving are more willing to take the risks to expand in a risky business environment.

The companies that are going to be aggressive now are going to be the ones that flourish in chaos – in other words, the ones who embrace the entrepreneurial mindset. It’s really difficult to step into this madness and create structure.

That’s what we want to do with our clients and that’s the core of how an entrepreneur actually operates. This is the time for entrepreneurs who already understand that everything is always changing and shifting.

The businesses who are actively marketing have the kind of leadership that is looking to start something new right now, to shift their messaging, and in some cases their offerings, while other businesses will be stagnant because they’re scared and are just hoping for the best.

So what’s working?

Ultimately, the principles of marketing are all the same; it’s the environment that has changed.

Digital advertising is the central effort for most companies because everyone’s stuck at home. Direct response has always been a big focus for us as well, but both have changed in the way the client works with the agency. Clients are cycling through new creative and moving to whatever works best on a rapid basis. That is ‘business as usual’ for us and many agencies, but lots of brands will be seriously struggling to operate that way.

Certain efforts like outdoor advertising are not going to be a big priority for at least six months, but that doesn’t mean that brands shouldn’t do it – costs have gone down and you may still get performance from it.

It all comes down to focusing on what performs.

A brand new Australia

It stands to reason that more agile, entrepreneurial businesses will thrive in a more constantly evolving environment.

In a recent report, ‘Brand New Australia’ by research agencies, The Lab and Nature, Australians were found to be rebounding with optimism amid the impact of the pandemic . Over 6,000 people were surveyed and two-thirds believed the pandemic is ‘the reset we needed to re-evaluate how we are living’. And while half of the respondents have significant worries about the future, one-third of respondents are excited about the opportunities that will arise from the crisis.

Perhaps as the crisis has accelerated digital adoption and digital commerce, it has also left Australia with a brave new form of entrepreneurship. Agencies that seek to partner with such businesses will need to be ready to work in a focused and rapid manner to drive real results and shift messaging and platforms with agility as the changes continue to play out in the months to come.

I think we will all look back on 2020 as a year when agencies really had a chance to make a difference, not only for our clients but for the gradual economic recovery for the country.

Alex Cleanthous is an entrepreneur, writer, technologist and the co-founder of Webprofits.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash.