Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) are attempting to conquer the current marketing barrier caused by the COVID 19 pandemic by tapping into one of the world's largest online shopping platforms, Amazon.
According to AWI's general manager of marketing communications, Laura Armstrong, although the challenges for wool have been altered, there are a number of new opportunitiesthat have presented themselves, some that were pre-COVID anticipated.
"There is no doubt the Australian wool industry is facing some some major obstacles when it comes to marketing the fibre overseas, so we are not walking into this thinking it will be as easy as last year," Ms Armstrong said.
"With our marketing budget down 60 per cent on last year, AWI's approach, in particular to the US market, has to be realistic with minimal investment in terms of media."
To help neutralise the marketing barrier, the marketing team at AWI are targeting online shopping platforms, in particular, Amazon.
"We are going to use Amazon as our media partner - because it is the most visited website in the US," Ms Armstrong said.
"We believe we have a much better chance of converting an audience to a sale on an ecommerce platform rather than social media.
"The beauty of online media is you can turn it off and on within an hour as opposed to a heavily invested outdoor campaign that is booked months and months in advance."
Ms Armstrong said pumping money and effort into social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to convince people to buy your product is essentially a wasted effort.
"In reality, in the midst of a recession and civil unrest, that is not what people want to see, and we could appear tone-deaf," Ms Armstrong said.
In reality, in the midst of a recession and civil unrest, that is not what people want to see, and we could appear tone-deaf
"Instead we will focus our resources on building campaigns within shopping platforms as you are really talking to pre-qualified spenders who have come there for a specific reason to buy a product.
"We will not be actually interrupting their social feed with something they do not want to see."
Ms Armstrong said the beauty of the Amazon strategy is they can use classic marketing techniques such as SEO and programmatic targeting to covert a consumer to a Merino purchase at relatively lower cost because the targeting is more precise.
"For example, a hiking fanatic looking for trail guides can be served the best Merino base layers while on the platform," she said.
"This focused product recommendation and easy path-to-purchase strategy is not as disruptive as targeting everyone who likes hiking on Instagram.
"They are more likely to be on social media for non-purchasing activities such as engaging in the social or political conversation."
In an altered reality for the industry, Ms Armstrong said trends they had anticipated pre-COVID are now accelerating.
"It isn't all doom and gloom, we have a lot of opportunities for wool coming up," she said.
"Online buying and e-commerce shopping was a strategy we had in place pre-COVID so we have some really solid relationships with some of the biggest e-commerce sites in the world including FarFetch, Amazon and TMall.
"We are really going to lean into those relationships and leverage them for post-COVID marketing."