Cross-Channel Integrated Planning

Ovative Trends and Performance Update: March 2021

March was a month of significant macro-economic impact, highlighting the need for marketers to take both a proactive and agile approach to planning media mix and spend. Read on for key learnings from our clients last month, how we execute planning, and actions we recommend as you think about strategizing for the remainder of the year.  

As we annualize the early days of the pandemic, last year’s numbers are irrelevant, channel mix is different, and the competition has shifted — it’s an exciting time. Our engaged team continues to embrace these changes and partner with each of our clients to drive performance when there is opportunity, to understand how industry shifts impact their businesses and to recommend how to stay ahead of competition.

What Trends Did We Observe Across Ovative Clients Last Month? 

  1. Retail had a strong month with clients seeing promising store revenue trends that have surpassed traffic and performance forecasts for Spring and early Summer seasons
  2. Many retail clients started to see a performance uptick after the rollout of a new round of stimulus checks including one who saw a +44% year-over-year increase in all media visits post-stimulus
  3. New spring-time products and floor sets kicked off with strong performance 

How Ovative Plans for Changing Macro Trends 

While we can expect and plan for a certain degree of reoccurring trends each year, the past year has taught us the importance of remaining flexible in the wake of unexpected industry shifts and events. Ovative approaches planning for macro trends in two key ways:

Proactive Scenario Planning 

Why this matters: Planning for anticipated or cyclical macro trends allowed our teams to prepare clients with spend and media mix recommendations early on, avoiding inefficient spend and drops in performance 

What events did we plan for in March 2021? 

  • COVID:  
    • Distribution of the third round of stimulus checks 
    • Increasing pace of vaccine rollout in most states resulting in increasing consumer confidence  
    • Continued anticipated delays in shipping from carriers 
  • Changing Seasons:  
    • Boost in brick and mortar spending upon weather changes in Spring and Summer
    • New floor sets and product assortment released 
  • Privacy Updates: 
    • Updates to privacy and tracking data requiring marketers to think ahead, broaden and shift marketing strategies, and estimate potential impact on the efficiency of their media

Reactive Response 

Why this matters: Approaching planning with an agile mindset allows for flexibility when unexpected events occur. By implementing these key steps, we were able to respond to changing macro trends in a prepared and organized fashion and deliver recommendations to our clients quickly.  

What are the key steps in our agile response plan? 

  • Review possible scenarios 
  • Implement and activate an emergency plan 
  • React to events on the day they occur (political unrest, supply chain disruptions, etc.) 
  • Provide weekly updates to forecasts and strategy plans 

How did we react to unexpected events in March? 

  • Adjusted launch timing: Provided clients with a thoughtful approach on shifting launch dates, modifying spend and considering long-term impact due to the Suez Canal blockage 
  • Featured top-performing products and adjusted focus as needed: Shared insights on how clients can lean into current products that are performing well in place of delayed inventory 
  • Shared how ads may be perceived in the current social climateRecommended shifts in messaging given recent social justice movements and political tension

How Can You Turn These Insights Into Action? 

Based on March macro trends learnings and clients insightshere are three steps we recommend you take to continue driving your business forward as you prepare for the coming months: 

  1. Define your team’s processes for proactive and agile planning
    • Develop and implement an effective crisis management plan for when unexpected events occur. Having a plan in place allows you the flexibility to adjust variables like media mix, spend, messaging, and product assortment in a timely and organized fashion.
  2. Continue to evaluate and adjust spend as performance suggests
    • As weather improves and store performance increases, consider testing store support tactics and shifting budget to lower-funnel conversion tactics such as geo-targeting to push consumers in-store 
  3. Be nimble with budget and execution and stay in sync on media supply chain challenges to avoid inefficient media spending 
    • Proactively analyze your available inventory to prepare for any unexpected product adjustments. Take note of alternative products you can market if new inventory is delayed due to media supply chain challenges

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more! 

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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