How the pandemic has compelled us to reimagine advertising

How the pandemic has forced us to reimagine marketing

Caitlin Bennett

Marketers saw decades of digital advances in 2020, and COVID-19 sparked one of the greatest periods of forced improvisation we have ever experienced. The way people interact with brands has changed and digital transformation and customer focus have come back to the fore. This has encouraged marketers to rethink the way they work and become more agile.

The State of the CMO 2021 report recently showed that the perception of resilience and adaptability in Australia’s marketing leadership teams is higher than ever since we’ve been in a position where we spend a year, a quarter, a month, or sometimes a week in advance for a longer period.

The unpredictability of border closings, vaccine launches, and lockdowns persists, which has resulted in marketers learning to practice a level of acceptance and a lot of adaptability.

Accept the unknown
Curiosity is a mindset that enables marketers to seize new opportunities and adopt innovations and platforms that go along with market trends. A curious team thrives when industry best practices are no longer the benchmark because they can understand and adapt to the changing external environment. We have so much data on hand to understand how the audience is reacting, interacting, and engaging. In the face of adversity, we at least know which of our actions will have the greatest impact (if we choose to do so). We need to have skills and confidence about data and take the time to dig into a problem a little longer to choose a course of action. It makes sense to leave a problem “intentionally unsolved” for a moment. That time to trickle down an idea can often lead to ill-considered insights that can dramatically improve your bottom line and, ultimately, your business goal.

Transforming strategy with a steadfast vision and fluid improvisation
Strategy is usually based on careful consideration and the largest possible amount of information available. But today’s volatility and ambiguity have forced the strategy to become more fluid, with two new concepts emerging: vision and improvisation. Harvard Business Review defines vision as the long-term purpose and principles of a company and improvisation is flexibility on a tactical level. When marketers can incorporate both of these into strategic thinking, the process becomes transformative rather than rigid. Marketers are learning to pin down their North Star, but are also willing to explore, experiment, and iterate.

Reconnect with customers through empathy
AUNZ Anny Havercroft, director of brand innovation and marketing at Verizon Media, is a firm believer in empathy as a superpower. “There aren’t many moments in history when humanity is faced with the same dilemma at the same time, but our personal situations are all so different. My team comes from different backgrounds and an important lesson from COVID-19 was to control and recalibrate expectations for each other when we started working remotely. “

The typical working day in the office was redefined and empathizing with the different living conditions of people was necessary in order to build productive team relationships. Empathy extends outward as well and is a skill that enhances the way we connect with our customers.

As the push-and-pull between privacy and personalization continues, marketers are learning to use empathy to provide security, build trust, while delivering a tailored customer experience. Empathy becomes a differentiator and by understanding friction points and motivations in the customer journey, marketers can dramatically improve the customer experience.

The power in marketing lies beyond better technology
It’s about shifting resources to overcome change and challenges. It includes the alignment of culture, people, structure and goals. Uncertainty is challenging strategy, and the pandemic is forcing marketers to be curious and collaborate.

If you want to learn more about new marketing innovations, you can subscribe to Alpha Digital’s weekly digital summary email and get early access to our upcoming whitepaper “How the pandemic has forced us to redesign our marketing”.

Do you have anything to say about that? Do share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a message or a hint, write to us at [email protected]

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