The shape of marketing after Covid-19
Interesting how it often, or perhaps always, takes a crisis to get people and companies to change. I bet that everyone of you is frustrated by at least one example of someone you know who should change, but they don’t seem to get it.
Now, we all know that other people are on their own journey and will need to come to enlightenment in their own time and in their own way; the more we push them, the more likely they are to push back and entrench themselves in their current thinking and behaviour.
Let’s welcome change
Was ever thus and ever will be. But every now and then, along comes an earthquake, an external event that forces people to change. In the current crisis, we have already seen an explosion in creativity because our routines have all been broken, giving us time and space to think differently and receive new ideas, or at least look at things differently. It is a dynamic to be welcomed for sure because we all want to come out of this better people, acting better.
Well, at least I do, but then that’s how I’ve always behaved. I want to break everything all the time, and see how things can be done better. In normal times, this can be like pushing the proverbial rock up the proverbial hill. Or the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge’s poem, trying to find someone who will listen to his sorry tale of woe. As a marketing guy, you hope to find enough people to listen and thereby make a business.
What next for retail and technology?
So it is with my two specialist subjects – retail and tech. The Coronavirus crisis has presented online retailers with a golden ticket, as my colleague Graham has described it, to win big as more and more consumers accelerate their shift to online. This has been going on for years, but many retailers have either ignored it or embraced it too slowly. Well, some are in for a shock, even if they manage to survive and start reviewing store numbers.
For tech companies, they too will have to think about their relevance in the new order; where will they sit in the pecking order, will they sit there at all? WiIl there even be a place for many of the tech companies after we get into the new normal?
Marketing with momentum
And for me, at the bottom of the pecking order, a both humble and arrogant marketing guy who thinks that marketing for tech companies is the difference between success and failure, I contemplate a future where all the current marketing techniques still apply, but they are managed better and integrated more tightly. Too many marketing activities are executed in isolation from each other which makes no sense because they all share a common set of targets – customers, prospects and influencers. And even where the KPIs for each may be different – PR principally for brand awareness, and outbound marketing for lead generation, they depend on each other; you can’t hope to succeed with just one.
Tailored, targeted, flexible
The marketing industry’s fault is that it sells all these activities separately, forcing the CMO not only to manage multiple suppliers, but to create enormously complex strategies and plans that quickly fall apart as soon as they go to market. There are still too many fingers crossed in marketing, hoping for the best.
The answer is quite simple; build the right mix of activities by analysing the target market in detail and use the insight to build custom programmes. Lovers of retainer-based marketing will hate me, but the future will require a much more tailored, targeted and flexible marketing approach, and one that works collaboratively with sales.
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