By Esther Flammer –Head of Wrike Marketing at Citrix
There’s no doubt that the last 18 months have proved challenging for marketers. The pandemic created an unforgiving landscape, as shrinking budgets were met with growing expectations. Industry-wide cut-backs resulted in dramatic decreases in spending and marketing leaders and teams around the world were under pressure to do more with less while searching out new and innovative channels in an increasingly saturated digital market.
As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape, we’re starting to see the return of some normality. However, for marketers, not everything is set to return to the way it was pre-pandemic. Fundamental shifts in both consumer behaviour and employee working habits mean that the industry will never be the same.
In order to navigate this new landscape and come out on top, CMOs and their marketing teams will need to adapt and innovate in order to become more strategic drivers of business and revenue.
For consumers, the pandemic is set to have a lasting impact on the way that they interact with brands and access services. Whether it’s shopping, entertainment or even just communicating with colleagues, family and friends, many aspects of our daily lives took a digital format even more so over the last year and a half. Whilst initially thought of as a temporary way to limit the spread of the virus and keep the most vulnerable safe, this new online environment has had some unexpected benefits – especially in terms of convenience – and the likelihood is that it is here to stay.
In fact, according to McKinsey, consumers are continuing to shift towards digital and reduced-contact ways of accessing products and services, with 84% of marketers believing that their customers are placing more value on digital experiences than before the pandemic. Whether it’s developing a meaningful brand image, or executing specific campaigns to attract and retain customers, marketing teams need to take this shift in consumer preferences into account.
In this new digital world, marketers need to focus on delivering personalised offers and messages that truly speak to their audiences. In order to know if these messages are landing, they need to be able to measure which marketing channels deliver the best content to the right audiences at the right time. Teams are under more pressure to ensure projects are a success and deliver noticeable return on investment (ROI). Therefore, having an effective multichannel marketing tech stack – to centralise and maximize all of your data and manage complex customer journeys across multiple platforms – will be key. A good system is essential to track all of your leads’ interactions and engagement. It can also help you make better decisions and take action on your leads’ unique paths.
It’s not only customers that are increasingly preferring online methods of buying. The pandemic also saw a drastic shift in terms of how employees expect to operate moving forward. Although remote working isn’t a new concept – especially in the marketing industry – since the outbreak of the pandemic, work has infiltrated the home at a never-before-seen scale. Many individuals have embraced the flexibility that comes with this and want it to stay in place permanently. In an effort to attract and retain the industry’s talent, marketing leaders are having to adjust their working practices. In fact, recent research discovered that 82% of marketing organisations have new policies in place around remote work following the pandemic.
When we transitioned to remote work, organizations made sure we did not lose something that we all took for granted in an office environment – the benefit of face-to-face communication. When shifting to a more flexible, long-term model, marketing departments need to ensure that they do not lose something that we might take for granted – visibility. Relying on chat platforms and video conferencing tools to collaborate could make it more challenging to keep track of projects happening on other platforms.
One way of creating visibility in a hybrid environment is through the use of collaboration software. These technologies make it possible for information sharing and greater transparency across marketing teams. Tasks are easily accessible to everyone, meaning fewer mistakes, greater consistency and a shared knowledge of what others are working on. This not only helps encourage a certain level of transparency and accountability within teams, it also promotes a culture of open communication.
Through increasing visibility, you can ensure that each individual is aware of exactly how they are contributing to a project and their role as part of the wider team. If a certain element of a campaign is delayed or not where it should be it quickly becomes apparent, and can easily be picked up on before it has a knock-on effect. This helps marketing teams keep things on track and swiftly spot mistakes, leading to an overall increase in productivity and results.
The role of the marketing team has never been more important. In today’s uncertain climate, innovation is essential and implementing the right tactics at the right time could be the difference between an entire business surviving or collapsing. By focusing on digitally-driven multi-channel strategies and leveraging technologies that can facilitate communication and collaboration amongst employees, regardless of their location, marketing leaders can set themselves up for future success, regardless of what comes next.