Wow. 2020 has been a very, very challenging year. In so many ways. Personally, professionally, culturally.
But since my job is to help marketers transform their marketing, I thought I would write about the top three ways this past year has transformed the way marketers need to work. . . forever.
“Innovation” is no longer king (but still important). “Agility” is now in charge.
When you are in the business of marketing and communications, a crisis such as COVID-19 brings havoc to your well laid out plans. This past year taught marketers that they need to be always “on”: ready and able to adjust on the fly.
You need agility so when issues arise you will be able to adjust your messaging and content quickly and easily. (2020 also changed Production now and forever: marketers will still want big ideas, but they want more and more assets created simply and with less expense.) So you can adjust your media plans when needed, across the properties you are engaged with, and without penalty. You can also adjust your events and experiences easily and quickly, if you are still holding them and have not moved to completely remote platforms (don’t be surprised to see more of this even after there is a vaccine).
How marketers work together and with their agency partners must change.
You likely worked from home more than ever in the first half of 2020 and with good reason, of course. By now you also likely realized you can get a heck of a lot done from home. (If not more than in the office). I certainly don’t miss my three hour roundtrip to work in NYC and get a lot done with that time.
Yes, we will want to physically be together, especially when it comes to reviews and discussions between agency and client about creative and other highly qualitative/emotive issues. In the end these issues are still critically important but must be approached in a different way.
We are going to have to get used to Zoom calls and other remote meeting platforms, as the majority of folks will not be comfortable with air travel for some time.
That aside, more and more we are realizing that we can (and should) get most work done while not in the same location. Agencies will need to learn how to present ideas and work without being able to hand a client a storyboard, and clients will need to learn how to provide direction and feedback while doing so through a computer screen.
Talent is more important than ever before.
You are likely working in a company (brand or agency) that has likely gotten smaller and is working with less resources and revenue. Efficiency and effectiveness with be critical. Having the right talent in place, with the right skills and capabilities, will be paramount.
We are seeing a lot of work in the area of Marketing Skill Assessments and Process Design. Companies know their marketing groups need to get smaller, smarter, and do more with less. It’s not enough to just cut jobs and do a little re-org: companies must transform the way they work (“Process”) in order to deliver marketing in this new age.
And while, of course, marketing skills are still the baseline, other attributes will be as (if not more) important in this new way of working. Such as: accessibility (being open and transparent), collaboration (work well within groups, both inside and outside your company), and, as mentioned before, agility. The ability to make more out of less, the ability to ensure teammates are fully informed and that you have an inclusive culture.
Agility. Ways of Working. Talent. My three core issues facing companies that want to transform marketing.
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