Welcome to the second edition of Just Global’s content series: Global Views. The focus of each edition of Global Views will be centered around one topic that the marketing and advertising industry is facing.
Re-Entry to IRL
It’s hard to imagine a world “post-COVID” as many nations are still struggling with the immediate effects of the global pandemic. However, with the onset of vaccination roll outs and adapted societal behavior, many people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, what happens now? Our customers are some of the world’s most impactful brands throughout this unprecedented time of digital transformation. Will the investments and heightened relevance of their services remain? Will the definition of “Business Casual” change? What have B2B technology adopted over the past year that will continue into 2021?
There are so many unknowns as we start to return to whatever “normal” is now. While we can’t tell you if you’ll be expected to put on “real” pants, we can give you some answers on marketing.
This topic is multi-faceted, so we’re breaking down into two parts.
First up, we’re exploring the changes to interpersonal relationships like, will it be weird having meetings in person without an “end meeting for all” button? How will we satiate our desperate need for human connection and how will it affect our marketing?
Part 2 of this series gets technical and discusses how integrated strategies will be adapted.
At the height of the pandemic, brands were scrambling to adjust their marketing materials. Budgets were either slashed or heavily increased. The CMO Survey found that 60.8% of CMOs indicated they have “shifted resources to building customer-facing digital interfaces” and 56.2% planning to “transform their go-to-market business models to focus on digital opportunities.” Have you started to advice brands around how to adjust the focus of their marketing budgets for a post-pandemic world?
The initial impact of the pandemic saw a huge shift of marketing budgets to digital, but this really meant that as demand increased so did the price and noise in the market. If you didn’t have a really cut through message and creative it was easily lost especially in the space of digital transformation. The pandemic forced the hand of your prospects to accelerate transformation like never before, suddenly there was a compelling event – whether this was simply the ability to work from home or the knock on effect of the economic impact on their industries.
With this in mind, with our channels reduced and our message to market up against fierce competition, for me the most important approach to marketing right now is to know your customer (or prospect!). We are doing a huge amount of strategic insight and research right now that not only informs a very clear marketing strategy but helps to align marketing and sales in a way like never before with one single ABX. At the very foundation of ABM this depth of insight on the impact of Covid to your customers and prospects is what builds out your content and go to market strategy above all the noise, making you heard and relevant.
There were buzz-phrases like, “now more than ever” and “new normal” at the height of the pandemic. If you were to hazard a guess, what do you predict the post-pandemic buzz phrase will be? How do you think messaging will shift once the world starts to transition into a post-pandemic society?
The expression ’new normal’ feels a bit empty to me — because otherwise what’s next to look forward to? The new, new normal..?
Being willing to promote change is what makes the world’s most impactful brands the best at what they do — they set the trend and the rest usually follow.
I think 2020 was a real eye opener for most businesses and not only because of COVID.
We saw the world hit some big milestones with the rise of the global BLM movement, Trump’s impeachment, the (Australian) March 4 Justice campaigns and many other global breakthroughs that had a profound impact on the ways in which people think.
Now bear with me whilst I take my philosophical hat off and put my design hat back on.
Okay — we’re good.
So what does this mean for us as marketers?
Well, people want messaging that isn’t tone deaf to the society they live in, they want to be engaged with meaningful propositions that properly express a companies set of values — something that buzz-phrases can never achieve.
Businesses need to make an emotional connection with their customers, by developing content that reflects the world we live in and hopefully the world we’re aspiring towards, because after all, who wants to settle for just the ‘norm’?
Over the past year, B2B marketers have earned a bigger seat at the table within their organizations, driven by the acceleration of digital along the B2B customer journey. The CMO Survey reported that “72% of B2B CMOs say marketing’s role has grown in importance in the past year, citing that digital marketing has driven an average 33% increased contribution to company performance.” Are you seeing this prominence of the role of CMO from customers and prospects doing business with Just Global?
Often, when we are discussing overall marketing efforts with CMOs and other marketing leaders the conversation is centered around understanding marketing investment and ROI. As marketing investment has continued to accelerate throughout the pandemic; particularly digital marketing, so has justifying that increase in investment. CMOs and marketing leaders in every B2B organization are under intense pressure to show how their marketing dollars are influencing pipeline and ultimately revenue. It is commonly thought of that B2B marketing is more simple or less complex than B2C marketing when in fact B2B marketing has many more complexities than B2C marketing, often making tying results to marketing efforts difficult. The CMOs and marketing leaders in organizations that are able to successfully demonstrate this will ultimately win and continue to unlock more budgets and drive more competitive advantage within their markets.
We’ve seen major corporations like, Pwc, Target, and Facebook announce their plans to continue remote work for employees while others like Amazon, are expecting “office-centric culture as the baseline”. How do you think leaders should approach this unprecendented HR challenge of supporting employees during this transition period?
As we begin to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, many companies are beginning to bring their workforces back into offices. That is not like a light switch you can just flip, though. So much has been turned upside down in the last year and I don’t know about you – but the idea of getting on public transportation that first day back certainly causes me some anxiety! There is still so much uncertainty in the world and it will be critical to ensure that managers are regularly asking their teams if they are ok and organizations need to continue to provide mental health resources if they are not. Encourage time off and mental health days. Leaders who choose to foster an environment of continued flexibility (hybrid work models) will be achieving that healthy “new normal” before others. Modeling adaptability, resilience, and bringing grace and empathy to the workplace clearly and presently will allow people to get back to “normal” at their own pace. It will take time.
Gartner reported that “95% of CMOs believe brands should take the lead in finding solutions to major society and cultural issues.” How does it benefit a brand’s reputation to take a public stance on key societal issues while engaging in meaningful actions aligned to customer expectations?
Customers are more likely to support brands they align with. Especially when they see that their brands working to improve the lives of people outside of their customer base, not because it is profitable, but because it is right.
Brands that make meaningful impacts in the lives of communities grow deep roots. Employees can be part of these communities and are often stewards of the brands public reputation. For example, the work that Just Global does in the D&I committee while not totally public facing, goes a long way in speaking to our brand and priorities. A more public example would be The Red Bull Music Academy: founded in 1998 as a workshop and lecture series for aspiring music-makers. Is Red Bull target market exclusively those involved in music? No way, but through this philanthropic / culturally relevant work they have established a huge well respected platform for themselves to engage with communities and help foster the growth of the people in them.
Stay tuned for part two of this series where we’ll get technical and discuss how integrated strategies will be adapted.