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! 


Bethany Hawthorne

Senior Manager, Client Services

About the Author

Bethany is a Senior Manager on the Client Services team. She has over 10 years of agency experience driving digital strategy, data analytics, paid media execution, and advanced measurement. She is passionate about people, process, and always in pursuit for a new problem to solve!

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