The overall strategy for marketing used to be customers rallying around the brand content or campaigns because they were the central force or attraction methods. In other words, customers were primarily reacting to brand initiatives. Brands used to and still create campaigns to cause change in consumer behavior. This is still an important part of marketing, even in today’s digital environment. However, brands are now scrambling to keep up with the speed of the consumer habits as digital channels continue to emerge and evolve and those same consumers experiment with new things. Understanding consumer intent is critical — Knowing what they want before they do so marketing can serve relevant content. The secret sauce behind marketing isn’t just in the creative any longer, it’s in the science of what message and offer to create, who to create it for and when to deliver it so that it has the highest possible value in the eyes of the consumer.
Customer Change Happens Faster Than Brand Change
As digital evolves, so does the way the brand reacts and interacts with it and also how the brand creates a two-way communication channel with the customer. Brands need to be more conscientious than ever to be more relevant to our customers. This is not easy since customer change happens faster than brand change.
Before digital and social broke onto the scene, brands were the instigators of change. This is definitely not the case any longer. Consumers now cause change and drive brands to shift and react to them.
Look for ways your target customers are changing and behaving online and be able to adjust your marketing swiftly and accurately. Ask your marketing team two initial questions:
- How has digital transformed our consumer expectations?
- How can we engage with our customers and be as close to the intent stage of the buying process as possible and not in the “they already purchased” stage of the process?
Create Conditions for Increased Marketing Agility
The word agile is a pretty hot term nowadays typically reserved for start-ups, technology, lean manufacturing and businesses that employ scrum team environments. I believe agility also needs to be instilled into every marketing team’s operational workflow, regardless of the industry. A full-on digital adoption is definitely required to stay competitive.
“Companies that want to win at digital adoption are therefore recognizing that they must reimagine and digitize entire “customer journeys.” – McKinsey
Agility when it comes to marketing, in my opinion means being able to shift team workflow output, responsibilities and deadline completion tasks swiftly and seamlessly without compromising brand and project-level focus and quality. In order to create the conditions for flexibility and agility a marketing team must first see and understand the value of agile marketing and how it aligns with the big picture. (Brand’s value proposition, creative content production, timelines and deliverables, distribution and analytics). Once the marketing team is clearly informed of this and why it needs to occur, you can then define where cross-training must occur in order to have a stealth marketing team able to pendulum from project to project. Single focus staff members are not going to help you here. You want talented individuals who can wear many hats.
Social Media and Mobile Delivery is Key
Has your marketing team leveraged these in ways that allow you to obtain more information from your customers? Are you surveying them several times a year via social and mobile? Take a closer look at the marketing digital ecosystem your business uses to reach-out and communicate to customers. This may also include peering into how the digital economy impacts your customer. This is where it all starts and also where it finishes. There really isn’t a destination any longer. The customer path is probably more like a circle that perpetuates and evolves in how customers behave through digital and also how marketing forecasts change. Now it’s the challenging job as a marketer to continually revolve and rally the entire brand and the marketing channels around the customer.
Article also published on HuffingtonPost
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Scott MacFarland – Founder, Chief Content Marketer, Digital Strategist
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