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How to drive value in 2021?

Marketing during the pandemic has changed for many businesses who are adopting more of a digital approach to their campaigns. Others have struggled with change – so will we see a return to marketing as normal this year with a mixture of online/offline approaches once we’re out of the darkness and will the impact of budgets have a huge effect on how we move forward?

According to a survey by Dun and Bradstreet 70% of marketers say their budgets have been cut as a result of COVID-19 and yet 76% are facing an “increasing pressure to deliver leads since the COVID-19 outbreak”.

Therefore, now more than ever it’s imperative that CMOs plan for future budgetary pressures, rather than gamble on budgets bouncing back. CMO’s need to look at their budgets, work out what costs can be eliminated, and which costs they can get greater return on investment from. Furthermore, business leaders need to be on-board and understand these budgets so that they can get a tangible sense of marketing’s value. In essence the brands that recognise change around them and react to it are the companies that will be the most successful.

Global advertising spend is a key area which is set to fall by over 8% this year, which will certainly lead to cuts because of COVID-19. What is clear, however, is the extent to which performance marketing has provided the opportunity to optimise marketing spend and gain results during a difficult time. For the industry, this success will only further congeal performance channels like affiliate or paid social as a necessity.

Return on investment will be key to evaluating the success of our campaigns and adjusting fast when needed with analytics playing a pivotal role in this, driving business decisions and affecting our resources and budget allocation.

Adaptability will be a necessity moving forward with key takeaways being to prepare in advance. COVID-19 caught us all out unexpectedly but it’s essential that we actively plan for future disruptions. Therefore, accepting change is paramount when planning your budgets and moving fast is essential as we have seen from those businesses who have been quick to shift their business marketing online at the beginning of the pandemic. Indeed marketing is an industry that always needs to be adapting with or without a crisis, adaptability can be a continuous challenge but if we don’t we become quickly outdated.

Customer behaviours are also predicted to shift once we come out of lockdown and brands will need to be ahead of the curve to ensure that they are anticipating customer needs and staying relevant in these difficult times. Being agile and adaptable will be essential traits of any brand and marketer and businesses need to ensure that the correct team is in force to execute what is required. And with the “new normal” expected to be part of our lives for some time with restrictions on movement and activity it’s essential that organisations build their online relationships through the effective use of digital channels.

Lockdown restrictions have taught us that there is a new realisation with marketers that gone are the days of developing six month strategies. Today we’re adjusting our strategies on the fly and adapting to our consumers and stakeholders in ways we never thought possible. Where once upon a time we would be looking at long term goals we’re now looking at short term deliverables that are manageable and bitesize. However, one major change that we are seeing is that businesses shift to e-commerce is likely to be permanent and with the rise of client engagement through Microsoft teams and Zoom and restrictions on events, webinars are likely to be increasingly more important. That said, hopefully we will have the ability for face to face meetings to return in some shape or form as a key part of marketing and sales alignment. Feeding that sales channel with leads that require phone calls and telemarketing will still be needed, as will direct mail but face to face will be of great relief for many of us and we will relish the human contact.

To sum up we’re all human beings and the brands that understand this, and adapt customer communications appropriately, will not just make it through this current crisis with better customer relationships, but will establish lasting and long-term connections with those customers. Our futures may be uncertain but what we are certain on is that the ability to adapt, accept change, utilise digital platforms effectively and understand our customers are all prerequisites throughout the pandemic and beyond.


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10 Digital
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Content Marketing

Content Marketing otherwise known as non-interruption marketing is essentially creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for your consumers that will engage and create awareness about your brand.

Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.

David Beebe, TV Producer

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