The past 12 months saw the digital environment shift drastically; completely re-defined and riddled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. And this undoubtedly rippled throughout the industry as a whole, with businesses struggling to survive and thrive throughout the Covid-crisis.
This is far from a new experience, and as seen whenever a crisis hits, the first department to take the strain was marketing. More often than not, the marketing budget is the first to be sacrificed, and if Covid-19 has taught us anything it’s how resilient marketing leaders have had to be. A great marketing team is one that understands that greatness is building sales overnight, and a brand over time – and throughout the past year we’ve seen the need for marketing leaders to be strong and focused, while remaining creative and protecting margins.
It’s never one silver bullet that drives success, it’s the combination of multiple factors that drive growth, performance and excellence. And there are several integral layers to marketing that have emerged throughout Covid:
Never Waste a Good Crisis
The most frustrating time in the life of a business is when you’re doing well; profits are up, the company is gaining share, and you’re trying to introduce a new strategy. The current strategy is ‘on-the-surface’ successful, company shareholders are adverse to change, and they view any updates as unnecessary and a waste of investment.
Yet, when a crisis hits, opinions shift, and the business suddenly opens up to the idea of change. As marketers, we should never waste a good crisis for the opportunities it can reap. Desperate times call for change, and looking forward, businesses should be using crisis-situations to excel their company growth, using the time for adjustments, adopting new digital procedures and introducing new tools
The Organization Culture is Everything
When a crisis hits, you realize how important your company culture is. Do employees like the workplace? Do they feel supported, and feel like leadership is in control? Is your workplace diverse enough – where great equality and ideas reign?
An organization is only as strong as the people behind it, and having a strong company and brand culture is the most fundamental component for growth and success.
More often than not, society is adverse to risk – opting for the safer option that guarantees success. The last 12 months have taught us that a crisis is the best time for businesses to rediscover their experimental, reckless and carefree youth – adopting new tools and technologies and launching new services.
Through experimentation, companies can learn, develop and grow.
Emotional versus Rational
Throughout our pursuit of driving growth, we need to remember that it doesn’t matter what we sell, or how we sell it, there will always be someone on the other side buying a lifestyle choice, a benefit, or fulfilling a dream.
Emotions will always trump rationality, and we, as marketers, need to remember that there’s always a human on the other side of your marketing efforts. Brands should be channelling emotive content and communication within their marketing efforts to truly connect with their target audience. Take a look at Hyundai’s methods of emotive marketing in their ad campaign for the Hyundai Tucson – The Perfect Match.
Surprise & Delight – Owner’s Loyalty Program
We always talk about the need for a strong customer experience, so brands shouldn’t be afraid of taking it one step further – surprising and delighting their customers. We need to be thinking beyond that of customer satisfaction. Tailoring our campaigns and strategies to provide an exceptional experience for our customers.
We should be recognizing that there’s so much more to user experience than simple consumer satisfaction.
In the next decade the biggest readjustment will have to be the integration and interplay between the CMO and the CIO. The relationship between the two is integral to the success of any business, and companies should be striving to deploy an innovation oriented approach that maximizes the potential of a seamless integration between the two.
There is great change forecasted in the data space, and brands need to realign their organizational formation to prepare their business for success. Marketing departments should be merging with the technology department – to become part of a greater vision focused on customer delight.
Finding Higher Purpose
Especially in tough times, you need to remind yourself that there is a higher purpose to what you do. Brands should strive to establish that higher purpose, paving the way for future endeavours.
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