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Marketing becomes connected in 2021


Marketing becomes fast and responsive

The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards shopping online. The purchase experience has become virtual and fast. To cope with this trend, companies rely more on marketing automation. Although in 2021 most of the CMO’s budget will continue to go into MarTech, 50% of CMOs believe such investments are ineffective because they don’t have the skills to run it, according to Forrester. So, the marketing organization has to evolve.

Marketing has to demonstrate its business impact

Because digital marketing is easily measurable, its sales impact can be demonstrated. Moreover, the convergence of online and offline activity leads to “traditional” media becoming digital. For example, billboards feature QR codes and it’s just a few clicks from the landing page to the buy button. The same is true in reverse: major e-commerce platforms offer companies advertising space. This merging interaction and transaction sees marketing move ever closer to sales. According to Forrester, improving marketing ROI is CMOs’ top priority for 2021. Forty-nine percent say that they expect to grow revenue.

Customer interaction stays virtual

The more individual a dialogue, the higher is the involvement of the customer and thus the conversion. However, interaction will become more virtual. To be successful, digital interaction needs to be dynamic and fast and it has to deliver significant benefits. If it is an interaction with a salesperson or a marketing event, it is important to have short bursts of information in a limited time, and the events should then be made available on demand for later viewing. Delivering a great video experience is extremely relevant; the same is true for voice.

Creativity starts with data, not with the brand

Participation is effective as the customer wants to fully experience the brand s/he loves. We must offer that customer added value that goes beyond the brand. This can be convenience or entertainment. Data teaches us what consumers are looking for while machine learning anticipates when to best start a conversation. The data that consumers leave behind when they consume media is an important source of inspiration because it provides insights into future products and services.

Purpose anchors the brand

Consumers increasingly judge companies based on their contribution to society. In this sense, the purpose of a company goes beyond the functional or emotional benefit of a brand to describe why the company exists in the first place and the values that drive it. Consumers recognize companies that do good, building trust in the communities they serve and with their customers. Those customers will remember the companies that stepped up when they were needed most. Authenticity is a lever of brand value.

Agencies become insourced

Agencies will continue to provide ideas and their creative execution. However, we observe that due to data management platforms (DMPs), clients gain back the customer data that they previously delegated to media agencies. When it comes to creative work, we see two tendencies: either advertisers hand over the coordination of specialists to an agency as the complexity of omnichannel communication increases (then a general contractor manages a network of specialized agencies) or, as marketing competency increases, the CMO coordinates the specialists, perhaps in an in-house agency. The reason for both is to shorten go to market of campaigns.

Towards a connected ecosystem

The common trait of these trends is connectivity; the company, marketing, technology, and agencies interact. They are an ecosystem, with the consumer at its heart. In companies, for example, we observe the merging of marketing, sales, and service. In agencies, we see integration into the company. In MarTech, we see the convergence of online and offline. All these interactions are based on data. By strengthening them, the CMO can not only increase the efficiency of operations, but also unleash the potential of a powerful ecosystem that will drive growth and recovery in 2021.