Marketers are operating in unprecedented times. Even as businesses begin to stabilize, customer expectations and behaviors are shifting quickly, and marketers need to remain agile in their decision-making to adapt. Most models that governed media buying and marketing campaigns in the past have been disrupted. As a result, marketers now have a great opportunity and responsibility to navigate this changing landscape and provide value for their customers across every digital touch point, while optimizing every investment.
To do this, marketers need to adopt a data-driven strategy that is unified around clear business goals. With this approach, they can help maximize efficiency across their businesses and respond to their customers’ needs in the short term while building relationships and trust that will pay off long into the future.
Here are four ways that marketers can create a strategy that balances short-term priorities with long-term objectives:
1. Shift the focus from individual metrics and channels to business goals.
Many marketers still look at the performance of channels in isolation and measure success by narrow marketing metrics. Marketing teams often try to maximize results within a single channel. There is little or no coordination on campaigns across these silos to understand how they’re ultimately driving results.
Today, marketers have to be more efficient than ever when it comes to investing resources for maximum impact. This starts with identifying the overarching business goals that marketing efforts will support. Specifying goals such as adding 500,000 new subscribers, implementing more humanized communication with customers or simplifying service allows marketers to work backward and determine the channels that best support their brands, the audiences to target, the indicators to track and the messaging to use.
With established business goals to measure, marketers can create alignment across the organization and make the best use of available resources to deliver real business value. This approach not only helps unify teams around a business’ short-term priorities, but also sets them up to be more effective when the landscape stabilizes.
2. Make decisions at unprecedented speed based on today’s data.
The way customers interact with brands across digital touch points has fundamentally shifted and last year’s models and performance indicators may not be relevant anymore.
To move forward, marketers need a measurement strategy that moves with unprecedented speed and is based on real data, not biases or bygone realities. According to Salesforce’s State of Marketing report, 72 percent of high-performing marketers are able to analyze performance in real time. Marketers need to move from long-tail approaches to building agility into the way they measure and plan day to day.
For example, this includes placing a higher priority than ever on understanding social sentiment—what customers are saying about brands and how they’re interacting with them—and pivoting accordingly. Combining social data with all other marketing data creates a critical, 360-degree view for marketers to be able to better connect with and understand their customers. According to our latest State of the Connected Customer survey, nearly three-quarters of customers believe brands should understand their needs and expectations, while only about half feel that companies actually do so. Narrowing that gap is more critical than ever today, when customers’ needs are shifting quickly and missteps can be especially alienating.
3. Take an experimental approach.
In the face of uncertainty, it can be difficult for marketers to engage in the usual long-term planning. Instead, an incremental approach can help them be effective in the near term, while enhancing their capabilities in the long term.
One way to do this is through marketing experiments that help teams understand how small changes impact performance and goals. This involves creating a control campaign alongside the standard campaign to test how minor variations, such as timing, messaging or layout, affect the number of impressions, engagements and other indicators. The data that results can help brands build multiple conversional funnel clusters, optimized for different customers and moments. A better understanding of what drives customer decisions today makes it easier to eliminate inefficiencies and plan for tomorrow.
4. Establish a marketing system of record.
According to a recent survey, 57 percent of marketers spend at least a week each month integrating data from different sources. This time could be better spent analyzing data to understand their customers and optimizing campaigns to drive growth. Capturing that opportunity is essential today.
A single system of record for all marketing data can help marketers increase the speed of decision-making so they can pivot quickly to improve performance or react to customer responses. As a result, marketers can be as efficient as possible with limited time and resources. What’s more, this platform democratizes access to trusted data, helping marketers share insights with key internal and external stakeholders as well as collaborate on shared goals and align around key performance indicators to ensure their efforts are having the intended impact.
Even if big-picture planning remains elusive, getting marketing strategies right today is a step toward enhancing future capabilities. Marketers that convey relevant, trustworthy, empathetic messages to their customers build loyalty and trust that translates to long-term health.