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Post-pandemic marketing: are these trends influencing your goals?

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What’s next?

After a year of living dangerously, of suppressed ambitions, home school nightmares and working in pyjamas, the world is itching for normality and raring to go. People are hungry for life. Professionals are eager to grow. And businesses may have a lot of catching up to do.

Marketers are at the forefront of this immense challenge and will drive the business activity that helps businesses build a strong recovery and prepare for a future that looks very different than anything we might have anticipated.

What can we learn from the trends that marketers are invested in right now?

In this article, we’re looking at key trends and priorities for marketers, and considering how they might support your business recovery.

We’re looking at:

  • The shifting nature of marketing
  • Why responsiveness is in demand
  • Catching up with the digital migration
  • Reaching people at home
  • The race to build revenue

From marketing to markets?

Marketing is always changing – a trend that has only accelerated with the boom in digital channels. The latest shift is the reappearance of the chief marketing officer (CMO) title. After years of gradually being absorbed into a broader ‘experience’ role, businesses are recognising the value of having someone laser-focused on marketing, without the added baggage of CX or digital labels.

“The role of the CMO has been wholly revitalised.” – WARC: Five More Marketing Trends

But before you get too excited about the return of reason, we must share news that the role of marketing leadership may evolve into a broader position that encapsulates much more than a tactical need to bring in business. Some business leaders are advocating for a shift towards a Chief Market Officer position, one that encourages the holder to focus on shaping markets and creating demand, rather than simply acquiring leads.

For most businesses, the shifting language around C-suite titles are rather academic. But they do give a powerful insight into the mindset of global corporations, and may provide an example to emulate, particularly around the idea of thinking about markets as much as marketing.

This shift may cascade down into the entire marketing team, resulting in the need for a team that can remain open-minded about the purview of their role, and be prepared to embrace new strategies and engage with new tactics.

Responsiveness rules

How can you get better at making swift decisions in response to new opportunities – or threats?

The experts seem to agree on one thing: data is decisive when it comes to our ability to spot emerging trends, harness opportunities, and side-step pitfalls.

This might mean building your own data practice, and building a routine of customer research and sampling, which can then fuel your decision making and help prioritise product development, marketing campaigns, acquisitions and more.

“Companies are equipping themselves for the long-term: building real-time data dashboards, re-formulating brand strategies and slashing internal red tape to move faster.” – WARC: Five More Covid-19 Marketing Trends

Coronavirus has heaped additional pressure on businesses, making it even more imperative to become lean, tightly organised, and ready to adapt to change. We recently explored how to create a high-performance environment so that your colleagues are supported and enabled to achieve their best.

Catching up to the digital migration

Necessity is the mother of invention, and the pandemic was the mother of the digital migration. In record time, organisations leapt online, shifting their operations to digital channels without a moment’s hesitation.

Much of this work was effortless. But for many organisations, the pandemic has forced dramatic changes that run counter to their standard operating model. While some changes would have been as simple as moving more meetings to Teams, Hangouts and Zoom, other organisations have had to wrestle with fundamental changes to how they create, market and sell their products.

“Consumers vaulted five years in the adoption of digital in just eight weeks.” – McKinsey: Reimagining Marketing in the Next Normal

Data from We Are Social and Hootsuite finds that internet users in the UK are spending an extra day online per month in 2021. While analysis from Visa found that one in four online purchases in the UK are now made as a result of social media interactions.

If your business has historically relied on in-person or real-world marketing, such as trade shows, point-of-sale marketing or outdoor advertising, you may need to find digital alternatives that can deliver the same results.

The other challenge for marketers is in retaining colleagues who may feel frustrated by the shift to home working, or who may resent returning to the office. Your plans to ramp up business development may be severely delayed if your competitors begin to offer more appealing work conditions and benefits.

“61% or marketers say they intend to make changes to their working practices and will be looking for a new role that enables hybrid office-home working.” – Marketing Week

Reaching people at home

As our homes have become the hubs for everything – working, learning, eating, playing, shopping – marketers must understand how their products and services fit into this context, how they can reach people at home, and how they can foster conversations with consumers who spend far less time beyond their four walls.

“The crisis has made the home a multifunctional hub, a place where people live, work, learn, shop, and play.” – McKinsey: Reimagining Marketing in the Next Normal

How do you foster a connection with people who are physically distant? Personalisation, prediction and adaptability may help your brand to cater to a range of consumer needs. Achieving these effects may require new technology that can learn from your customers’ choices, actions and responses, and then respond accordingly. Does your marketing team have the skills to deploy, manage and optimise these kinds of applications?

Another challenge is the newly blended environment that we find ourselves in. When you reach a person at home, are they thinking about home and family life, or work and their career? Or are they straddling both simultaneously? The tone of your communications may need to flex to adapt to this new hybrid way of living and working in the same space.

Statistics from NordVPN show that UK workers spent 11 hours a day on their business networks during the lockdown, compared to 9 hours pre-Covid. And a survey by software company Wildgoose found that workers were taking shorter lunch breaks, working through sickness, and feeling “always on” because of the blurred distinction between work and leisure. It’s important to keep in mind the new duality of working from home and living in the office, because it defines your customers’ state of mind.