- In today’s ever-evolving world, consumers are looking for brands to respond to their changing needs in real time
- Creating an agile marketing plan is a fundamental step in maintaining and expanding the connection between a brand and its consumers
- By getting started with digital technologies, companies can adapt quickly and anticipate changing requirements before they surface.
We’ve been told for a long time that the only constant is change, but no pithy sentence could have prepared us for the tidal wave of disruption that came with 2020.
The pandemic outbreak changed the world at a breakneck pace – online sales rose 43% in the first three months alone – and companies have struggled to adjust their marketing strategies along the way. In this attempt to keep up, brands make more noise, but not necessarily more.
The average person consumes more media than ever before. But as new technologies and behaviors continue to evolve against a backdrop of a global pandemic, how can marketers ensure their brands are responding in a way that moves the needle and really resonates with customers?
The key for brands is to delve into the topics that matter most to their consumers and create marketing plans that will valuablely involve the company in those conversations.
Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report delves deeper into this topic, leveraging survey feedback from a global cross-section of consumers and executives gathered during the early months of the pandemic.
The resulting data provides insights that enable executives to quickly and thoughtfully customize their offers and messages to be most relevant to their core audiences, and to ensure their marketing and promotional strategies don’t miss the mark.
In addition to the results of the report, the following summary highlights the value of an agile marketing plan and describes the steps required to implement this approach in your company.
How the pandemic changed the marketing game book
Obviously, a lot of life has moved online, and companies that have met people there have benefited. The big question is how permanent is the move. Our data suggests that much of this shift will live on after the pandemic is resolved. 63% of consumers surveyed agree that they will be using more digital technologies than they were before the outbreak began.
Willingness to implement new ways of doing business or communicating is noticed by consumers, with the majority of respondents (66%) expressing an appreciation for companies that have used digital technologies to bring these changes to life.
So ready for that jump? Read on to learn how.
How brands can put agile marketing into action
Creating an agile marketing plan begins with an organization shifting its focus from messaging to action.
While in the past marketing plans may have focused disproportionately on what companies are saying through a number of established channels, the disruption caused by the pandemic means companies need to focus on what they are doing through a number of channels that may be new or exist Channels are used in new ways.
This in turn requires buy-in from outside the CMO stack. While it is not an easy task starting from a shared, company-wide vision for the brand, there is an essential component to making sure the plan reflects the unique insights and needs of each key player.
With this foundation, teams can set three phases in motion:
- Understand the current needs of your customers and react in real time
- React in the right channels
- Fast introduction and testing of new offers
First, understanding the consumer’s current needs and wants means listening carefully to the messages they are sharing. Using tools like machine learning, AI, and other social sensing features, brands can predict where a conversation is hot and tailor their messages accordingly.
Obviously, gathering this information is only part of the puzzle. To effectively understand what brand consumers need, be it a new product innovation, a new service offering, or a new way of communication, an optimized customer data platform (CDP) is required that brings information from a variety of channels, devices, and platforms into a single one , clear form combined clue.
By using data from multiple sources, brands can build a more holistic and authentic view of their core customer and position themselves to more accurately and quickly meet their evolving needs.
With a clear view of the incumbent consumer, brands can now focus their focus internally and create a channel strategy that works together across the entire customer journey.
According to our research, C-Suite executives identified digital technology and sales and marketing as the two most important functions for the year ahead, opening up a range of new opportunities for companies to redefine their customer interactions.
For the majority of brands, approaching an agile marketing plan through the lens of digital technologies involves increasing their social media presence (67%), significantly changing their online platforms to meet new demands (57%), and increasing the number of virtual events or workshops to keep in touch with their consumers (49%).
After all, agile marketing plans require a company to be able to act not only thoughtfully but also quickly.
Despite the fact that more than half of those surveyed in our global marketing trends study were able to name a brand that turned their offerings quickly during the pandemic – and a staggering 82% of respondents said these new developments made them prompted them to do more business with the brand – Only 35% of businesses use customer feedback to create new offers quickly.
Operational execution is difficult, but the ability to expand responsiveness beyond messaging and media execution and expand it to product / service offering and channel fulfillment is a source of competitive advantage for organizations that can execute them.
In a year in which consumer behavior has changed overnight and digital advances have accelerated massively, we’ve seen firsthand how fast the world can evolve. We all know what to do – meet changing (and increasing) consumer expectations.
The hard part is, but organizations that get it right will see an increased stake.
Michael Barrett is President at Deloitte Digital’s Heat and works with companies to drive growth by developing new offerings, expanding relationships with existing customers, and opening up new business areas. As a Principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, he has more than 20 years of advertising experience in a variety of roles in the industry.