2022 strategy planning season is here! You can just smell it in the air.
Do you and your team need to take a bus ride to Iowa?
The father of modern-day advertising, David Ogilvy, said, “When copywriters argue with me about some esoteric word they want to use, I say to them, ‘Get on the bus. Go to Iowa. Stay on a farm for a week and talk to the farmer. Come back to New York by train and talk to your fellow passengers in the day-coach. If you still want to use the word, go ahead.’”
Brilliant advice that’s even more relevant today and should be applied to your brand’s 2022 strategy.
If you’ve read my posts before, then you already know about the New Heartland. If this is the first article you’ve ever read, then I’ll give you some context.
The New Heartland is an underserved and overlooked cultural segment comprised of 26 states across the Midwest, South, and Southwest primarily. All in all, the New Heartland represents about 60% of customers in the United States, a fact lost on most of ad creative these days.
According to the 2020 New Heartland Generational Study, 72% of customers in the New Heartland say the majority of commercials and sponsored content for products they’re interested in don’t relate to them personally.
This insight is a huge opportunity for brands that want to take the time to understand this enormously loyal cohort.
The Upside of Including the New Heartland in Your Brand Strategy
There are three (at least) reasons why your brand team should be talking about the New Heartland in your strategy sessions.
New Heartland Size and Growth Is No Joke
The right connection with the New Heartland can be transformational for brands. The segment overshadows the West and East Coast in purchasing power, sitting at between $6 and $8 trillion, compared to $1.7 trillion and $3 trillion respectively.
New Heartland Women Don’t Feel You
There’s more to the insight that New Heartlanders don’t feel ads understand them. New Heartland women tend to become more disconnected from ads as they get older and as their buying power increases. New Heartland millennial women ages 26-29 are 22 percent more likely to feel disconnected from ads versus Coastal millennials, and they are a whopping 16 times more likely to feel disconnected when they reach ages 30-34. These are just two opportunities within this one, very large segment.
Your Competition Is Planning To Crush You
After a year and a half of decreased budgets and conservative spending, brands are planning a full ramp up of marketing efforts for 2022. According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s COVID19 Marketing and Ad Spend Report, search ad spending is expected to exceed pre-pandemic predictions by 2022 as online shopping continues to become more commonplace among audiences, especially in the New Heartland.
A New Heartland Brand Strategy Works
When brands cater to the coasts, they not only miss crucial opportunities to improve the lives of customers, but they also cast themselves into the role of “outsider.” A role that’s hard, but not impossible, to change.
Mtn Dew has a history of resonating with the New Heartland, so they’re a great brand to watch and learn from.
They recently ran their second annual Dew Outdoor Stimulus Program. The campaign was a win because it leaned into the New Heartland lifestyle touch points of fishing and hunting and just being outdoors.
So, Are You Going to Take the Bus Ride to Iowa?
It doesn’t matter if your team isn’t based in the New Heartland, from the New Heartland, or has ever even visited the New Heartland.
Between bringing in reinforcements of folks who really know this space and planning well in advance of 2022 campaigns, brand teams can strike the strategic and creative balance necessary to achieve success that can last for generations.
Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Accounting for the power of the New Heartland is a plan to win.