Marketers: it’s time to sharpen your tools Featured Image

Marketers: it’s time to sharpen your tools and prepare for the post-COVID world

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The rapid pace of constant change catches many marketers off-guard – how can organisations help their marketers build the skills and sharpen the tools they need to thrive in the future?  

The COVID-19 lockdown has thrown many marketers into a state of disarray.

Although some marketers have been impressively assured and decisive during this time of uncertainty, others have been indecisive[1].

While COVID-19 is a situation like no other we’ve ever seen and some hesitation is understandable, some of the poor decision-making we’ve all witnessed[2] is actually reflective of a wider problem in marketing in general – the lack of skills and capabilities needed to be a successful modern marketer.

The modern marketer has so many channels to master and decisions to make that it can be impossible without the right skills and training – Image source: Shutterstock

Keeping up with the rapid pace of change

For decades, there were a very limited number of channels to market and advertise through – TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards and so forth.

A great deal of decision-making about where to spend your money and how was based on gut instinct or experience. Things were largely predictable. 

Not so now. The pace of change in marketing is so fast. There are new channels emerging all the time – from TikTok to social commerce, and from livestreaming to online advertising on eCommerce or eRetailer platforms – and it’s often difficult to know where and when to direct your efforts and spend.

The responses to a marketing survey conducted during COVID-19 demonstrates the range of channels available to modern marketers – but how do you choose the right ones? – Image source: Brafton

These changes have caught so many marketers and their organisations off-guard. How can they now catch up, and keep up?

The modern marketer needs to be able to: quickly assess which of these channels is right for their brand; execute their activities creatively and effectively; know which analytics to use when evaluating campaign success; and constantly learn from the lessons that the data gives them. 

But these aren’t skills that marketers can learn from a book or a blog. They need to build these capabilities through interactive and highly practical training from experts

Becoming resilient and overcoming decision paralysis

As COVID-19 spread to the West and countries began to go into lockdown, you only had to look at your LinkedIn feed to see how uncertain marketers felt about the situation. 

Uncertainty creates indecision. And indecision could result in your brand missing out on some golden opportunities.

Tom Fishburne[3] – or the Marketoonist, as many know him – points to a Harvard Business Review article entitled ‘You’re Not Powerless in the Face of Uncertainty’[4] that describes the need to ‘develop a capability to deal with uncertainty — to find the possibilities and opportunities within the unknown, rather than to panic and retreat from risk.’ 

Fishburne says he likes to think about this capability as ‘something that individuals and organisations can exercise to get better at over time’. 

He also refers to the ‘resilience’ that individuals and organisations have to develop in the face of uncertainty, adversity and change.

As our CEO & Founder Luigi Matrone has regularly highlighted, embracing change is more about people and their mindsets than it is shiny new technologies. 

This change in mindset that will allow marketers to be more resilient and decisive in times of uncertainty isn’t something they can acquire through osmosis. They will need organisations to invest in helping them to build those capabilities.

Combining data and creativity for maximum marketing impact

The concept of data-driven marketing has been around for a while now. But how many marketers or marketing departments can say that they’re truly data-driven? 

The ideal balance is a marketer – or a team of marketers – that can use the power of data to be creative. Those marketers will create winning campaigns because data allows them to use their creativity in a highly targeted way, so that it is impactful and hits the right targets at the right time. 

Spotify launched a truly brilliant and memorable multi-channel campaign combining data with creativity at the end of 2019.

Spotify’s ‘Your Decade Wrapped’ campaign spread like wildfire across all channels, and is an example of how marketers can combine data and creativity to great effect – Image source: Ad Age

‘Your Decade Wrapped’ gave something very special back to Spotify subscribers using their listening data to produce highly personalised, expertly executed content about the music and artists that each customer had listened to the most over the past decade. 

The campaign was able to tap into very human emotions by using scientific data that reflected each subscriber’s preferences, tastes and, to a large degree, who they are as a person. 

The result? A best-in-class viral campaign that inspired brand loyalty, drove subscriber retention and increased customer base.

Your brand and your audiences may be very different to Spotify and theirs, but it’s an example of how powerful marketing can be when modern marketers are able to combine their talents with data.

Organisations must invest in upskilling their marketers

Marketers are very busy people. They have a tough job, and are subjected to all kinds of internal and external pressures. 

They are humans, too, and have lives outside of work. It’s not fair or realistic of organisations to expect marketers to train themselves in order to keep up with all this rapid change.

And yet only 27 per cent of marketers say that the organisations they work for look after their training and capability building needs.[5]

That statistic is mind-boggling when you consider that marketing – and the skills and knowledge needed to excel in it – has never been more important.

Is your organisation giving its marketers the skills they need to excel in today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape?

H.O.W. we can help develop your people into Modern Marketers

The successful marketer of the future will have the right skills at their disposal to be decisive and highly impactful in an ever-changing digital and retail landscape. 

But how can they develop the skills and capabilities needed to thrive in the future? 

Delivered by leading-edge experts, our Modern Marketer interactive webinar series offers marketers an online training framework and holistic curriculum that will enable them to upskill their capabilities and excel in this new landscape.

Modern Marketer forms part of our H.O.W. Capability Building offering, which equips executives at all levels of your organisation – from the most senior leaders to top marketing and key account managers – with the practical skills and knowledge necessary for success in this era of digital transformation.

All of our programs are highly action- and results- focused, and give attendees the tools and methods that they can immediately implement to boost performance.

This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.

Learn to get ahead with H.O.W.

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We want to equip each function of your organisation with the practical skills and learnings required to succeed in a fast-changing world. 

Our Capability Building programs rely on a fundamental motto: it’s not just what they learn, but H.O.W. they learn it. 

From ‘Big Data & AI’ to our ‘Modern Marketer’ and ‘Mastering Online Retailing’ series, contact us to find out more about the wide range of highly practical Capability Building programs that will give your company what it needs to create efficiencies, improve processes and maximise profit.








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