Agile Marketing for an Increasingly Digital World

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Agile Marketing for an Increasingly Digital World

Now is the time for marketers to leverage digital tools and design an organizational road map to make agile marketing a reality.

For decades, the recession playbook remained mostly unchanged: Either retrench, focus on costs, and ride out the downturn, or spend ahead of demand with a view to capturing market share. However, the challenges of today’s economy are unique in that the pandemic has forced massive, rapid changes in consumer behavior—away from brick-and-mortar stores and toward digital channels. Consequently, navigating the downturn has required a new playbook: Pivot to an agile digital channel strategy that meets customer needs as they unfold or risk losing relevance in an already tight marketplace.

According to “Deloitte’s “2021 Global Marketing Trends,” 58% of consumers surveyed could name a brand that was able to quickly pivot its offerings to better react to the “new normal” created by the pandemic. Of these consumers, 82% said such new, relevant offerings had increased their desire to do more business with this brand.
COVID-19 has also heightened customers’ appreciation and adoption of digital channels. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed said the pandemic has increased their appreciation of well-designed technologies, and 63% said they would continue to use digital technologies more often well after the pandemic subsides.

For marketing leaders, the pandemic represents a watershed moment. Given the rapid changes in customer engagement expectations and increased use of digital technology, it is now more important than ever for organizations to accelerate investments that empower them to quickly respond with the most relevant customer messaging and offers.
As they continue to navigate the challenges of the crisis, companies can take steps to build agility and position themselves to better meet unfolding customer needs.

Develop a Clear Picture of the Market

Agile marketing requires a single, unified view of the customer across the organization. This necessitates designing a data system that integrates once disparate, cross-organizational datasets into a single customer data platform (CDP). At the baseline, organizations should develop or adopt a platform that connects data from a variety of channels such as e-commerce and social media; devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets; and platforms such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems to map out customer journeys. This can help brands create a more holistic customer experience.
For example, a global consumer goods manufacturer recently developed a CDP to provide more relevant and personalized customer offerings. Previously, the organization had had a difficult time keeping up with changing customer needs—largely because its marketing database contained 1,700 tables that were updated weekly. With the new platform, the manufacturer was able to consolidate customer data into eight tables reflecting key interactions across its website, mobile apps, text messages, call centers, and in-store transactions. By doing so, it was able to effectively deliver relevant marketing messages to more than 50 million customers as their needs unfolded in real time.¹

Embrace Social CRM

Marketers today can use myriad channels to engage their audiences. Beyond traditional channels such as email, print, TV, and social media, a burgeoning array of social channels are now available to help brands dynamically interact with consumers. According to the Global Marketing Trends research, 67% of C-suite respondents said their organizations have increased their presence on social media to better engage with customers during the pandemic.

Agile marketing requires a single, unified view of the customer across the organization.

Some of these marketers—including savvy B2B and B2C companies—are developing entire social CRM ecosystems, in which they leverage social platforms to provide one-on-one service at scale to engage with customers. One manufacturing company, for example, uses social messaging platforms to not only highlight machinery in its catalog but also to provide interested parties a simple way of scheduling a meeting with a sales representative.²

Starting the Journey to Agile Marketing

To implement these capabilities and make agile marketing a reality, it’s important for C-suite executives to develop a clear, enterprisewide vision. They can start by taking the following steps:

Lead through the customer. According to Deloitte research, CMOs have a significant impact on customer experience conversations within the C-suite. CMOs can use this position of knowledge to help map out a unified vision for the organization.

Collaborate on channel strategy design. The CMO and CIO can better position their agile strategy by including other key members of the C-suite—such as the chief sales officer—and incorporating their insights into the channel strategy design.

Rapidly prototype—and launch—new offers. For agile marketing to be successful, speed is critical. However, just 35% of companies leverage customer feedback to rapidly prototype new offers, according to the Global Marketing Trends survey. There may be no better time to use sensing technology and social CRM to embrace rapid execution.

Companies now have access to a variety of tools and technologies to successfully execute an agile marketing strategy. CMOs can help the C-suite articulate a vision that brings these tools to life and responds to customer needs as they develop—better positioning their companies for success in a post-pandemic world.

End notes - As seen on Wall Street Journal

1-Based on Deloitte client work.
2-Jourdan Ma, “A beginner’s guide to China’s biggest social media platforms,” New Narrative, June 12, 2019

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