Marketing trend predictions for the Home & Garden sector

The latest marketing indexes for the UK are reflecting the overall optimism of businesses that consumer confidence is growing, a sentiment supported by GfK’s consumer confidence index released last week; and Door4’s most recent research into the Home and Garden market shows that brands within the sector are aligning with this trend and continuing to spend for growth.

A specialist in marketing for the home improvement sector, Door4 is reporting that despite the decline in home improvement spending expected in 2024 overall, the majority of businesses are not panicking and neglecting their longer-term brand-building activity to just focus on sales activation (a common reaction in times of economic downturn) and that marketing budgets are remaining buoyant. 

While it has been noted that as a result of ongoing sensitivity to the cost-of-living crisis and consumers’ price-driven decisions, there is a marked 3.5% increase in UK sales promotions compared to the end of last year, marketers are seemingly adhering to the commonly followed 60:40 rule (60% of budget allocated to brand-building and 40% to sales activation). 

Its insights also show that companies are revising their marketing budgets more frequently than previously and in the first quarter of the year almost 25% of businesses upped their marketing budgets in the first quarter of 2024, versus only 15% that saw a contraction.

Citing the latest industry reports, Door4’s Leon Calverley says: “With announcements around inflation, interest rates and consumer confidence polls now made, marketers are once again aligning their plans for the second half of 2024 – deciding what to spend but most importantly how to spend it. 

“What’s promising to see, especially in the home and garden sector though, is that the industry isn’t becoming saturated with advertising that is only focused on short-term gain and targeting ‘in-market’ customers. Marketers are being careful not to undermine long-term brand health by solely focusing on price and promotion. This, we know, is the best way to grow business value from existing customers along with a continual focus on understanding customer’s journey to purchase.”  

Leon continued: “The concepts of brand-building as opposed to sales generation have long been understood by marketers, since Field and Binet’s seminal piece The Long and the Short of it back in 2013. 

“But 10 years on, and during periods of recession, sticking to the advice of investing 60 percent of marketing budgets into brand-building activities and the remaining 40 percent into sales activation can be hard to swallow when there is less demand in the market for your products or services and ‘evidence’ of your ROI is much more in the spotlight.   

“But building a future sales pipeline is more important than ever, and we continue to offer this advice to home and garden brands of all sizes: 

Spend more than your share

Brand growth relies on your share of voice being consistently higher than your share of market. That is,  your brand’s share of advertising spend in your category being higher than your brand’s share of the category’s total sales. 

This information can be hard to find or calculate in some categories, but even some educated guessing will allow you to understand whether you can realistically expect growth. Remember, in a recession many of your competitors are pulling back on marketing spend, so it’s a great time to gain a larger share of voice. 

Seriously invest in creativity

Putting your advertising budget into developing creative can feel like the last thing you should be doing in adversity. But the reality is that out-of-the-box thinking is far more effective than run-of-the-mill campaigns. So don’t be afraid to be bold with creative ideas and make campaigns that stand out. 

Once you have an idea that sticks, stick with it. Flip-flopping between creative ideas is not only costly to maintain, it’s also generally ineffective when it comes to building your brand. So, think about squeezing as much value from your campaign platform as you can – for reference, those meerkats on TV have been selling you insurance comparison services now for over 15 years. 

Bonus points are awarded if you can find a creative platform that triggers some level of emotion or feeling in your audience. It could be joy, humour, horror, pride, surprise – you name it, if it gets people feeling something, they’ll be far more likely to remember your brand. 

Spread the word far and wide

In its essence, part of the marketer’s role is to try and attain some level of fame for their brand. Celebrities gain this fame through reaching masses of people, often through a variety of media. It’s no different for your brand. A majority of your marketing efforts should focus on reaching as many people as possible within your category. 

Focusing on 25-45-year-old female homeowners with two cats and a penchant for knitting may seem a logical target audience for a yarn manufacturing business. This is dangerous logic. Your buyers or your business proposition are rarely so differentiated that they would warrant this sort of selective approach. The only result from this will be addressing a small number of category buyers, limiting your sales opportunity, and ultimately – losing market share. 

Of course, apply some targeting logic. If you’re managing a dog food brand, you may be forgiven for avoiding individuals who don’t actually have a dog. But beyond these broad strokes, it’s better to reach as many people as possible in your category. 

In addition to this, it’s important to consider that your buyers are consuming media across different channels at all times. The more of these channels you can afford to use effectively the better. Each additional channel adds beneficial multiplicity to your advertising effectiveness, as you reach more buyers more frequently in more placements. 

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