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Marketing Strategy

UK marketers ‘stuck in the past’

Almost a quarter (23%) of UK marketers say their approach to digital marketing and delivering digital experiences is stuck in the past.

That’s according to new research from Optimizely, which also found that the majority of marketers (61%) don’t believe their teams are progressive or willing to try new techniques when it comes to digital experiences.

The Culture of Experimentation report, based on a survey of 200 UK in-house marketing executives, assistants and managers, reveals that 27% of UK marketing teams take a fixed approach to delivering digital experiences, with a further one in ten having no digital experience strategy in place at all.

The report also reveals the extent to which marketers are using experimentation to drive continuous improvement for the customer experience. One in five (22%) marketers say they use experimentation all the time and around half (47%) say digital experimentation plays a key role in their marketing strategy. However, when asked about how experimentation is implemented by their marketing teams, around two in five (37%) admit to taking an ad-hoc, unstructured approach.

Looking at the overarching goals of marketers, the top drivers for focusing on digital experience strategies are linked to overall business success: increasing market share, changing brand perceptions and creating a more customer-centric business.

According to Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO of Optimizely, more needs to be done to formalise and streamline the use of techniques like experimentation to help them achieve these ambitions.

“Marketing teams are under pressure to stand out from their peers, but current strategies aren’t set to deliver against their ambitions to increase market share and change brand perceptions. Embedded into the marketing strategy, continuous experimentation can drive informed, data-driven decisions that will create stand-out digital customer experiences.”

Life after the pandemic: Navigating the next chapter in marketing

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.

Prioritising digital

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.

Managing hybrid

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.

Mass reach and budget ‘matters now more than ever’…

New research findings presented by Les Binet and Peter Field of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) at an ‘Effectiveness Week’ event on October 31 has refuted the misconception that, with the rise of owned and earned online media, marketers are beginning to question the need to spend money on paid media and mass reach.

Providing analysis of the IPA Databank and drawing on IPA TouchPoints data, the findings constitute the first part of a full report to be published in 2018, indicating that penetration is still three times more likely to be the main driver of growth and profit vs loyalty. As such, brands must focus on widening their customer base for which a broad reach of owned and earned communications – particularly paid media –  and subsequent budget, are crucial.

Research also found that brands utilising paid media will typically expand three times quicker than those relying solely on owned and earned media alone. Nonetheless, adding owned media to the equation can increase the effectiveness of a paid campaign by 13 per cent, and earned media by 26 per cent.

Furthermore, adding television increases effectiveness by 40 per cent, making it the most effective platform and it is also the best for generating top-line growth that drives profit, with a 2.6 per cent average market share point gained per year when using television advertising.

IPA director of Marketing Strategy, Janet Hull OBE said: “Here lies the proof that the digital transformation has helped make mass media work even harder. It also proves that while it is good to have earned and owned media, for top-line growth brands must invest in paid-for, mass reach.”

IPA claims the one reason why television advertising effectiveness has increased is due to video on demand and online video working in synergy with live television. The research shows a 54 per cent increase in the average number of very large business effects from adding television and online video together; versus 32 per cent for just television and 25 per cent just for online video.

The latest findings are a follow up to previous reports published by Binet and Field – Marketing in the Era of Accountability (2007) and The Long and the Short of it (2011) – confirming analysis portrayed in the 2011 study that the most profitable campaigns have a 60:40 ratio of long-term brand-building media (broad reach, highly emotive) and short-terms sales activation (tightly targeted and information rich).