The pandemic sent shockwaves across the world and many businesses are still trying to cope with the crisis. Just like any other industry, the Indian advertising industry too went through ups and downs during the past two years. However, it is slowly on its path to recovery and has witnessed 14% growth according to the Magna Advertising Global Forecast. The stock market too is witnessing an upward trend and the economy appears to be on a path of revival.
Now with the third wave looming large, the advertising industry may be up for some new surprises. The uncertainty around the third wave has led organizations to be cautious of how they conduct business in the future. But if you look at how the industry survived despite the pandemic, it would be safe to assume that the third wave’s impact would be milder, especially as we are armed with learnings from the past two years.
With some planning, the industry can easily pull through any unprecedented challenges that the third wave may bring along. The BFSI sector is one of the top sectors that has increased its ad spend in the recent past. BFSI companies are utilizing around 50-60% of their marketing budget on promoting financial literacy. As consumers found themselves battling with financial crunch during the pandemic, the need for financial literacy became more evident. BFSI companies stepped forward with financial literacy campaigns so people get acquainted with different investment options. The BFSI sector emerged as the biggest spender on digital media (57%) in 2020.
Though the impending third wave is not good news for any industry, marketers can plan ahead and capitalize on the current shift in consumer behavior. Listed below are a few trends that suggest a positive road ahead for the BFSI sector.
- People have dropped their inhibitions against digital transactions
Contactless payments became the need of the hour and people who were once averse to digital payments embraced it wholeheartedly. Amidst speculations of a third wave, BFSI companies can capitalize on this shift to digital and target people based on their behaviors and interests online. The persistent digital engagement is a positive sign that indicates BFSI companies could target potential customers with interesting narratives and compelling ads. Social media influencers can be leveraged to arouse audience interest in a comparatively low involvement area such as the BFSI.
- Smart investment habits are gaining more prominence
Managing finances is one of the many lessons that the pandemic taught us. Job loss, economic slowdown, and health emergencies made people rethink their approach to managing finances. People realized that they have low financial literacy and poor awareness of investment habits. As people are willing to learn and educate themselves on finance, the BFSI sector can leverage this opportunity and get more customers on board. In fact, the Association of Mutual Funds in India invests close to Rs 200-250 crore in financial literacy campaigns. People from non-metro markets are keen to acquaint themselves with investment habits such as mutual funds and securities and the BFSI sector can increase customer acquisition by investing in financial literacy awareness.
- A palpable rise in digital native audience
Gen Z and millennials are the digital native audience that the BFSI sector can easily take advantage of. As the third wave looms around, BFSI companies can catch the interest of Gen Z and millennials to increase their involvement in the finance domain. With finance being one of the most active categories in 2021 in terms of advertising, there is no reason for BFSI companies to panic. A recent survey found that around 61% of millennials are willing to switch to a fully digital bank in the future. With a rising appetite for online banking, the BFSI sector can center its marketing around convenience and comfort – buzzwords that draw millennials to financial services today.
- New technologies at the disposal for customer acquisition
The BFSI sector now has the latest technologies at its disposal to identify changes ahead of the curve and allocate resources accordingly. With personalized services and interactions now possible with digital tools, BFSI companies can gear up to hold audience attention and build brand loyalty with marketing that addresses the pain points and challenges they may encounter during a crisis such as COVID.
India is expected to witness the strongest growth in advertising revenues from the APAC region in 2022 with a growth rate of 15%. While organizations are still waiting to see how the situation pans out, the effects of the third wave should be lesser considering we have a good vaccination rate and are better prepared to handle the situation. There is no reason for BFSI companies to hold back and there is definitely no reason to panic. Planning well in advance can help companies deal with any unforeseen circumstances better.
Authored article by Arun Fernandes, Founder-CEO, Hotstuff Medialabs.