January 5, 2021
Growth in the New Normal
Successful marketers know the marketplace is constantly evolving and that they, too, must adapt to it. The pandemic threw an additional curve because it was neither expected nor anything any CMO had faced before. That was what global marketing services firm MATERIAL+ wanted to discover in a recent poll of experts. Some of the responses may be helpful.
Competition is expected to get tougher, and CMOs may wish to rethink what they believe they know about their customers. Some brands that responded to the pandemic with quick strategies to attract consumers are returning to strategies involving longer-term brand-building.
A response common among those polled is that 2021 will continue to be unsettled. Many brands are expected to resume their usual marketing activities, which could create opportunities for alert marketers. Many consumers may perceive brands’ return to normal strategies as antiquated, and CMOs might be wise to revisit their strategy. Evolving customer needs and perceptions will require deeper research and solutions to meet expectations through a revised strategy.
Properly gathering and analyzing data will continue to be vital for this. Discovering why consumers flock to a brand is the key question that must be answered going forward. Having a team of multi-disciplinary specialists to help learn and decipher this will be critical in framing a successful strategy that also includes the “what,” “when,” and “where” of consumer habits.
Listening more attentively than before will also be important to remain agile. This also means listening to real conversations with customers for in-depth perspectives and not just looking at social media comments. This active listening should also include attention to other topics important to consumers beyond the brand, like equality, social justice, etc.
Integrate the information gleaned from listening to the brand’s traditional qualitative data before analyzing everything and revising the strategy. Seeking input from others, possibly even a few loyal customers, to view results more holistically may produce some novel and impactful out-of-the-box ideas.
Being agile will continue to be important. The expanded integration of multiple data sources will help monitor and adapt to changing consumer preferences and behavior. Old assumptions will likely no longer work.
Customer experience (CX) will also remain high on the list of priorities for brands. What’s changed is the need for brands to recruit and rally their entire workforce in subscribing to, embracing, and implementing efforts to vastly improve CX. This may mean better defining CX success and breaking down silos in the process.
Digital, too, will rank high in consumer favorites and should remain a priority for brands. Digital touchpoints need to be optimized after a thorough audit of the brand’s user experience. Identifying and maximizing conversion-boosting enhancements will help ensure future digital success.
Although more consumers have flocked to digital platforms, many attention spans have shortened due to digital fatigue. Continue using videos but keep them under 60 seconds. Other media like infographics, eBooks, and motion graphics may also work but migrating to AR, and virtual conference booths and visualization tools within video conference rooms will likely trend more favorably.
A reliable standby, earned media, will continue to be vital as independent sources of credibility and validation. Consider investing in media training and a re-evaluation of the brand’s key messages to hone staff skills. The latter should include the preparation of thought leadership platforms and subject matter proficiency.