Marketing in a Post-Pandemic world was a key topic of conversation this week as I met with seven CEOs/CMOs of seven different businesses. As soon as those restrictions eased I felt it was critical to get out and gain a personal feel for where the market was at. Across those meetings there were some very common themes and strategies.
It’s time for a Marketing Stocktake
As we look forward to 2022 it’s important to note that adopting the same marketing strategies as the past 1-2 years simply won’t cut it. The business environments of the past months have in many cases been reactionary. Some CEOs/CMOs spoke of strategies focussed on brand investment, many focussed on digital investments, and some spoke of stop/start tactical opportunities in order to meet the market. Having greater certainty about 2022 gives us an opportunity to chart a clearer strategic marketing path, rather than be influenced by the whims of our pandemic politicians.
So it’s time to take stock. Measure up what we’ve done. Many of our clients are asking us to facilitate an audit of their past 12 months of investments. By drawing on the plethora of data we’re being asked to dive into those investments to understand what has worked, and to explore those strategies that have not. We’re reviewing what’s changed from our previous pre-pandemic marketing strategies. By adapting to the times we may have discovered new possibilities to stretch and explore further, or is it simply time to take stock and reset to how things used to be?
It’s time to embrace the new normals
A number of CMOs we work with have changed their business operating models significantly, and some permanently. This is not a question of whether brands accelerated their adoption of digital strategies, or whether businesses decided it was critical they save on marketing budgets and invest more in performance marketing. The businesses we spoke with had changed their operating models to adapt to meet the market and meet the customer.
There is a general acceptance that the market has changed for good. It feels like change happened overnight where some consumers decided that they would never again shop in store, where mass marketing activations like cinema seemed less relevant, and where whole demos suddenly and significantly shifted their viewing habits to on-demand services. CMOs now recognize and accept that their customers can no longer be marketed to as we did pre-pandemic. This week CEOs as well as CMOs spoke of the need to continue with adapting parts of their business models and marketing strategies, to accept and embrace the new normal.
It’s time to double-down on efforts to understand our customer journey
Whether it be a self-fulfilling prophecy or not, CMOs I spoke with this week stressed the importance of understanding their customer journey more than ever before. ADMATIC’s key mantra seeks to understand a consumer’s journey before even considering marketing environments, experiences, channels or activations, so it’s not surprising to hear that our clients are thinking the same way.
CMOs this week spoke of their relationships with their customers, in trying to understand their journey, and then giving thought to how we as marketers are able to influence consumers most effectively on their journeys and experiences. As bad as it may sound, a marketers role is primarily given to influence consumers on their journey to sway spending habits in our direction. As crude as that may sound, we need to be with the consumer on their journey to influence and direct that action.
It’s time to become Marketers again
Lastly, the most overwhelming sentiment of each of the meetings was that we needed to get back to doing what we do well, and that is to be marketers to our customer base with thoughtful strategy, planning, and conviction.
For some time now we’ve been told to adapt, to change, to be flexible, and to react; i.e. only those who adapt to change will survive. Whilst necessary to survive and to stimulate growth, a constantly changing and randomised approach to market conditions didn’t necessarily lead to a sustained path of long term growth.
Many CMOs spoke of the need to once again engage in thoughtful marketing strategies and discipline, to refocus efforts on brand that for many unfortunately lost some focus, and to be able to articulate a clear path forward.
written by Michael Ungerboeck, CEO & Founder