Unpredictable 2022: the case for agile marketing. Flexibility is essential for any successful brand to stay relevant and in order to do this, businesses need to be able to adapt quickly even as the world around them changes. Never has this been more apparent than now as we move through the ever-changing responses to global and political issues like the pandemic, Brexit shortages, supply chain delays and climate change. Whether it’s a shift from remote meetings and hybrid working to changes in how we shop and what we buy to where and how we travel, marketers need to be more agile than ever to keep up – and to respond effectively to the next challenge.
When it comes to responding to the unexpected, it is often a case of increasing your marketing efforts quickly and effectively – or pivoting your strategy completely to offer a different product or service.
For example, we’ve worked with a number of retail companies that deliver to customers. Food and fuel shortages over the past eighteen months have required them to reach their customers quickly to alert them to issues like delivery delays. No one wants to deliver bad news, but when circumstances are beyond a company’s control then honest, clear, concise and timely communications with regular updates can mean the difference between strengthening customer loyalty and losing business.
Scaling up your marketing to ensure you’re delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time – and through the right channels – can be a scramble for any organisation. Those companies already using the tools and with the people and processes in place as part of their marketing campaigns and strategies were able to react more quickly. For those that didn’t, these challenges provided both a wake-up call and the push they needed to implement more agile marketing practices.
Ditto for those organisations that spun out new product and service offerings during the pandemic. Examples of these included adding pre-selected food and family recipe boxes to enable more online grocery deliveries, implementing email-based receipting to cut down on hand-to-hand transfers or manufacturing and selling hand sanitiser and face coverings. While the languages and messages around each of these ‘pivot projects’ varied, the need for speedy and effective communication to their respective target audiences remained the same. Brands we worked with wanted to share these stories to elevate awareness of their new initiatives and generate good will, as well as to grow their customer base and capture market share.
To avoid lurching from one crisis to the next, all businesses need strategies in place that allow for increased flexibility in their marketing practices and strategies. The following best practices promote agility and help keep things running smoothly – no matter what is happening in the headlines:
Investing in robust systems that can connect to multiple data sources is ideal for ensuring you can modify your marketing strategy as required; be sure to do your due diligence to ensure the technology you’re investing in will deliver what you need, when you need it. To ensure you can rely on your martech to do its job, you need to have processes in place to monitor your systems to track and deal with any snags after its implemented and throughout its lifetime.
It may seem counter-intuitive to talk about manual marketing and teams in the same breath as automating your processes, but the reality is people will always have a role to play. To ensure your marketing is efficient and agile as it can be, empower your teams to look at their existing processes, identify where any bottlenecks are and solve them. Ensure that sign-offs and approvals run smoothly and are not all allocated to only one person, highlight more repetitive tasks and – if they are being done out of habit, rather than necessity – automate them or cut them out altogether. Keep only the necessary steps that yield measurable results to help things run more smoothly and allow for faster responses and turnaround times.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ rule for effective team structures, but it is important for teams to be able to work together across platforms and regions. Hybrid working is becoming more prevalent, but making room to come together is still invaluable. This can be virtually for quick 15 minute check-ins or ‘scrums’ each day when things are moving quickly, as well as making time and finding space to come together physically on occasion for more creative planning and problem solving sessions.
Moving away from formal silos or assignments for specific team members to a more collaborative approach means team members with more time or expertise can step up for certain projects, helping to solve bottlenecks, encourage greater accountability and allow marketers to play to their strengths. Having a network of trusted outside partners who can step in and supplement your core team can also help businesses quickly scale their marketing when required.
Having the right structures and best practices in place are key for agility in marketing. The right mix of people, processes and technology will allow businesses to build flexibility into their marketing plans and campaigns, helping them to react quickly to challenges and capitalise on opportunities that come their way.
This article was originally published in Just Marketing on 4th January 2022. You can view the original article here.
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