• Mary Gilbert

Ready, Reset, Grow! Rewriting Your Marketing Playbook.

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

If you’re reading this, congratulations. That means that–even after the year we’ve had—you’re still in the game. And, since you’re checking out ideas for a new marketing playbook, chances are, you already know the game has changed significantly. It’s hard to ignore that succeeding in this marketplace is harder than ever for all sorts of reasons impacting everyone. In fact, the change is not just financial or behavioral. It’s emotional.

In the face of massive change, it’s likely that your approach to marketing, your channels, your customers—right down to your product mix—need a good hard look. According to reports by Deloitte, McKinsey, and Oberland, everything has changed for buyers, from their willingness to consider other brands for convenience (+77%), to buying more local (+60%), and a brand’s impact on society (+53%).

According to AdAge, “As consumers and businesses have their trust eroded, they also are having their values rewritten. Months of isolation have created an opportunity for individuals and families to evaluate things they have long valued.”

In the old world of marketing, planned action against a set of well-defined targets led to a “set it and forget it” mentality. But today, we’re finding ourselves up against a multitude of factors impacting our ability to navigate effectively. Our jobs are now more akin to air traffic control in a hurricane than marketing. That’s why we’ve devised a new marketing playbook with a set of winning formulas to help you respond effectively to changing marketing conditions, no matter what they are and how rapidly they hit.

Kick-start your pivot.

Our “Ready-for-Anything Playbook” helps you quickly evaluate, reset, and up-level your core marketing assets, your people, your programs, and the tools that enable your success. Our secret sauce is an orientation to trust which is ultimately in service to creating lasting relationships with the communities that your brand serves.

Our playbooks are entirely customized to markets, customers, and state of the business. But, the keys to success are always the same: an empowered marketing team, actionable empathy for your audiences, programs that build relationships, and flexible tools and processes that enable flow. Get your creative juices flowing with a sampling of our four top plays in the “Ready-for-Anything Playbook.”

1. Activate your people: Do you have a united team of leaders ready to respond quickly to dynamic markets even while working virtually? How’s your team doing? Are they stressed? Has their bandwidth decreased even though they’re not commuting? With everyone working remotely, it’s hard to find ways to align people and keep them motivated, let alone ask them to innovate. Now, more than ever, your people need to be forging the connections necessary for your business to thrive through change. We create marketing organizations with the capacity to:

  • Continuously learn and adapt as conditions change.

  • Be empathic, relationship-oriented leaders.

  • Interpret customer needs to all parts of the organization.

  • Navigate complex, dynamic channels and markets.

  • AND NOW...act in concert from anywhere, anytime.

Addressing the performance of your team is the first, most critical play in your new marketing playbook. And the good news is that, we can help you get this done while executing the next three plays simultaneously.

2. Re-focus your targets. How can you satisfy their new needs? If you’ve been truly engaging with your core customers and partners, you’ll already know that their needs, desires, and habits have drastically changed. Maybe they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude to non-essential purchases, or needing more reassurance before signing contracts for capital investments that were once easy to push through the system. Maybe decision makers are slower to respond because of work/life balance issues. These behaviors signal new insights that you could be using to fine-tune your communications, channels, and offers that will not only help you stay in the game for the rest of this year, but start 2021 with a surplus of loyalty and trust.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • Are we tapped into what our audiences and the market is saying they need now?

  • If so, do my audiences know that we understand their current reality?

  • Are they still interested in our products and services at current price points or payment plans?

  • Are our best customers still our customers?

  • How do they feel about our brand right now?

  • Are they willing to recommend us?

  • Is there a new audience for our products or services that we’ve overlooked?

3. Re-imagine your idea of campaigns. Are your people engaging in two-way conversations, listening deeply, and responding in trusted ways?

Authentic interactions are the new name of the game with more and more people engaging in all social media channels across the board. With consumer values changing fast, our top plays are all designed to build relationships that stand the test of time, and the next global shake up.

  • Let the feedback flow: That’s the way to foster authentic communications. If you’re already accustomed to treating your customers, influencers, partners, and employees like a well-tended garden, great job! You’re probably well on your way to pulling ahead in 2020 and landing in a stable position in 2021. Instead of crafting universal messaging to push out to a pre-defined audience, you’ve created an environment where two-way communication can flow freely. By being just another presence in multi-directional conversations, brands can tune into the big issues and small details that make real customers' lives easier and more satisfying and give you early access to changing dynamics that signal that your approach needs to change.

  • Tell the whole truth. Brands that had the courage to be transparent in 2020 are already seeing the impact. In fact, that impact is measurable. According to a July report from Deloitte, 75% of business leaders ranked TRUST over price and ease of use. That is up 10% since January.

You don’t have all the answers so admit it and ask your community. They’ll have great ideas on how to add value to your brand, if you’d only listen. Share your views and approach to current events, invite feedback, and encourage fresh thinking, which will strengthen your relationships, forge organic loyalty, focus on purpose, and boost sales and revenue.

  • Cultivate influencers. In a year of significant and unexpected decline in traditional media channels like linear TV and OOH, 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2020 as compared to only 39% in 2018. For a small, but growing category, that’s some rapid growth with savvy brands pushing deeper into their loyal base with ambassador, referral programs, and social commerce. According to AspireIQ, “As in the early days of CRM and loyalty marketing, we’re beginning to see a deeper commitment and drive to integrate these programs across the brand value chain, driving continuity, transparency, depth of relationship, and new points of purchase.”

4. Re-think operations, so that all points of engagement are connected, tracked, and actionable.

Respond-ability is the new name of the game in our post-trust world. It’s powered by the agile digital ecosystem that puts you and your team in a position to listen and respond effectively across all channels. We’ve seen firsthand the edge that companies that leverage a mature digital ecosystem have on maintaining authentic, high value relationships.

Chances are you’ve got a pretty hefty investment in tools. How can you get more out of that investment? According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey, CMOs spent 29% of their budgets on marketing technology in 2018. Yet only 33% of organizations feel that their martech effectively meets business needs.

Most marketing organizations are set up with discrete disciplines, all with their own disparate tools. We’re not just talking about your campaign tools, or your analytics stack, we mean everything that impacts your company's ability to seamlessly engage with customers. Like, your CRM system, your intent tools, your search metrics, project management and contents tools.

Rather than investing in technology strategically, many teams add components to their stack to address a niche capability, often not taking into account the other technologies in place or that need to be added later. Even teams with a more mature technology stack may not have the aligned processes for connecting the dots between data sets, insights, and action required for true interactive engagement. The result is a disconnected set of tools that if connected and leveraged to their full extent, could be the fuel that empowers your team to respond quickly in the best interests of the customer.

  • Are you measuring what truly matters to the long-term health of the business in addition to tactical campaign tracking?

  • Do you have the right tools to achieve your goals and are their key features fully activated?

  • Do you have an established set of processes to enable your team to collectively orchestrate a seamless customer experience?

  • Do you have a set of rapid decision-making filters and pre-developed responses that enable your team to read the signals and respond quickly across your organization?

  • Do you have an actively managed governance model that empowers individuals to act in the best interests of the customer and brand based on a common set of business rules?

Ask us for a quick assessment. It’s like free therapy.

If you’re refining your approach to marketing and need help deciding where to focus first, we’d love to chat. Within about 45 minutes, we can get to the heart of your biggest challenges and help you determine where you need to prioritize to up-level your game. Schedule some time to tell us about your “Ready for Anything” challenges.

About Us

InfiniteEdge is a consultancy of marketing and culture experts that helps companies build trust and navigate today’s rapidly evolving market environment, while providing all the marketing services you'd expect from a top-tier integrated agency. Invite us in to help you transition your marketing operation from reactive to responsive and develop a roadmap to help you thrive through the coming unknown.

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