I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for... Pent-Up Demand

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Pent-up Demand is real. Lock up the economy for any reason, pandemic, recession, war, etc, and us consumers get antsy. We want to spend and not spending makes us feel blah. I’m not proud of it but I think it’s true. We look around our house and say, “I’m tired of looking at that. Better get a new one.” “That” could be a sofa, clothes, washer/dryer, or a car. Unfortunately, many big-ticket items are unavailable due to back-orders and supply-chain disruptions. But we consumers still want to spend where we can….So we are. We’re just doing it on a smaller scale, whether it is eating out (when and where available), more outdoor recreation toys (good luck buying a bike this year) or just treating ourselves with smaller personal treats.


In today’s blog, we will cover an example of a client and a campaign that is using that pent-up demand to its advantage. They are lucky to be in a category with a good price-point and are ready to launch their spring campaign. Plus they will benefit from the fact the we consumers like to spend and treat ourselves even when there is disruption. Let’s jump right in.


The client is family owned ice cream/frozen treat destination in a mid-sized market. They have seven locations, are 3rd in market share, and have a super-strong competitor at #1. The market leader, and the biggest competitor to all in this category, sells very similar menu items and has national notoriety. Tough to go head to head with a competitor that is better known and can offer better pricing….So we are not.


The plan this year is to pivot and expand our targeting. We are not just going after the ice cream/frozen treat customer. If you have ever read “Blue Ocean Strategy”, think of this plan as targeting their “non-consumers”. We’re targeting anyone that likes to treat themselves, because that’s what they are really selling. Let’s face it, we don’t get ice cream because of its nutritional value. We do so because we like treats. So, the targeting will move from just people that like ice cream and has now expanded to customers that will spend $5 on a latte at their local coffee shop. It includes people that will visit a donut shop. It includes people that enjoy the occasional manicure/pedicure. It will include new customers that like to spend $5-$30 on self-rewards for them or their families. We will select a few of the best look-a-like consumers in similar categories and serve our message to them… with sprinkles on top.


The plan includes a four key tactics. They are:

  • New Messaging

  • Targeted Digital Display Ads, delivered to mobile devices

  • Local Influencer Marketing

  • Traditional Media


New Messaging will shift from including too much detail about history, years in business, and their past, to focus on product and customer experience. The past is nice to dwell on occasionally but not necessarily a good reason for a new customer to visit. We will still convey that this is a family owned business and touch on their longevity but it won’t go very deep. Telling the history of the business eats up valuable messaging time and space. Almost always, “Years in Business” and other historical data should be left on a company’s website with all outbound messages detailing reasons why someone should visit them today. If people only bought from companies that have been in business for generations, no start-up would ever be successful and we know plenty that are (see Air BnB, Uber, WhatsApp, etc).

If you are not familiar with Targeted Display Ads, they are the snipers of marketing and advertising. Targeted Display uses a data capturing “fence” that is dropped over a specific physical location(s) and allows a marketer to send ads to mobile devices that have entered that fence. We love this tactic and it works for many businesses. In this case, we will geo-fence coffee shops, bakeries, and other businesses that fall into that self-treating category. This creates a look-a-like base of non-consumers. Our team will geo-fence approximately 50 locations that match the criteria we set and deliver ads to their customers. There are a few other benefits of Targeted Display Ads but that is for another post at another time. However, one of the best benefits is cost, doing this is cheaper than you might think.


Then a Local Influencer will promote the business, detailing their experiences and why they lover our client’s products. The influencer tactic is a great way to pull attention away from a strong competitor and spotlight our client. The influencer has a loyal following and this has been a strong tactic over the past few years. Keeping it in this year’s plan makes sense.


The final element of this year’s plan includes Traditional Media, specifically local radio. While listenership has changed the audience is still large enough to have an impact, lower cost than TV and provides a good ROI. Our radio campaign will promote their loyalty program and special offers found only on their website. We will monitor and optimize the effectiveness of the radio campaign by measuring web traffic and other KPI's over the course of the campaign. Technology has finally evolved to allow us to apply digital metrics to traditional methods.


While this year’s campaign is set to launch soon, the above is a solid plan and we’re looking forward to a good year. Pent-up demand is real, we’re going to use it to our advantage and then treat ourselves with some good results.


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