If last year was about responding to an unprecedented shock, this year is about recovering and thriving in a customer-centric world. More than ever, purpose is the guiding star for people inside and outside your organization and a catalyzer for growth.
In Deloitte’s annual Global Marketing Trends Survey, we surveyed 1,100 global executives about their top priorities going forward. It is clear that leaders are prioritizing productivity, digital acceleration, customer engagement and employee wellbeing as top outcomes to achieve over the next 12 months. Indeed, the most successful brands are ahead of their lower-growth peers when it comes to activating purpose, measuring diversity and inclusion efforts and deploying more sophisticated data strategies.
Combined with the insights from 500 Danish consumers, we see a number of trends rising to the surface that can help marketers refine their approach to meeting the needs of people inside and outside of the organization, better navigate their data and technological environments, and deliver more holistic experiences for the clients and relations they serve.
The trends I find most important to act on are:
Connecting purpose to growth. While price and quality are still essential to growth and client retention, customers increasingly show loyalty to brands that commit to addressing sustainability and social inequality issues. The survey shows that that high-growth brands (those with 10% or more annual growth) are translating purpose into action in very different ways from their lower-growth peers. In addition, clear values and employee empowerment is the factor with the largest delta between negative and high growth. In other words, purpose, values and integrity are absolutely key to keeping a strong brand alive.
”People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This famous quote from Simon Sinek, the author of ’Start with Why’ teaches us that we have to be clear on why we do what we do and why we sell what we sell before anyone else will believe in us. That’s putting purpose before action.
High-growth brands measure purpose more often than those who simply has the purpose written on the corporate wall.
Measuring purpose means aligning your product portfolio with purpose, incorporating diversity and inclusion metrics, evaluating customer feedback and establishing purpose as a criterium for new partnerships.
It also means integrating purpose into employee satisfaction measurements. Establishing KPIs can help ensure the brand continuously keeps its purpose front and center - and prevent brands from leaning into areas for which they are not ready.
Building a team of tech talents and creatives. With 63% of people switching to remote work, new talent pools emerge for companies that were once confined by geographic limitations. But remote work will put even more emphasis on collaboration. Marketing was once considered a field for creatives, but many marketing leaders are now prioritizing more analytical skill sets, and people who can work with data and AI. While most of the c-suite identified collaboration as a top skill set to succeed, CMOs were least likely to do so. But with a growing remote workforce, collaboration should be a priority in helping ensure these new voices and skills are fully embedded in the company.
Elevating the hybrid experience. Executives are looking to hybrid to create more personalization, innovate more and help people connect. Simultaneously, more consumers—especially younger ones —are using emerging channels to interact and purchase from brands. 75 % of the surveyed executives said they would invest more in hybrid solutions to connect with the customers both online and face-to-face. Creating powerful hybrid experiences means empowering clients with choices—and embedding feedback mechanisms to design for those choices. Particularly the young generation makes decisions based on social media exposures with 32 % of generation z and millennials making purchases on social media.
The proliferation of channels and choice will likely require a data infrastructure that can tie the multiple touchpoints together. That may start with a customer data platform that ties data elements into a cohesive customer journey. This ties on to a trend on how to improve customer service with AI. Marketers don’t have to be data scientists to unlock AI. It’s about thinking strategically about channel strategies and customer needs and using the tools available to create dynamic customer experiences.
In essence, successful brands are looking at purpose holistically. A holistic purpose can help capture a new kind of growth, one that is more equitable and inclusive across all stakeholders while being tied to issues people truly care about. Organizations can consider their strengths as they decide on which issues to focus on to make a tangible impact. This can prevent them from leaning too far into issues for which they’re not equipped to make an impact – and instead focus on where they, in a meaningful way to all stakeholders, can make a true impact.
Christian is leading the 'Clients and Industries' organisation in Deloitte Denmark and is responsible for our go-to-market approach towards our clients – ensuring they get the best of Deloitte to support their transformation journey. To stay market-leading in public sector, financial services, energy, resources and industries, consumer, life science and technology, media and telecoms, Christian ensures that we combine our specialist knowledge with deep industry and sector know-how as well as leverage the global network of Deloitte experts to help our clients compete in the global, digital economy. Christian has 19 years of experience at Deloitte and has supported industry-leading clients to deliver end-to-end transformations, particularly within the finance area. He has worked with clients across the private and financial sector and advised their C-Suite members on their most challenging strategic and transformation journeys.