The global pandemic of the new crown pneumonia has overturned the code of conduct of marketers, and has challenged the existing rules of customer relations and brand building. The author, who works for Ernst & Young, has compiled ten new facts about marketing based on his observations in his field over the past two decades, comparing it with the drastic changes brought about by the turmoil in 2020. As a marketer, you must understand the changes in the entire consumer market, and these new facts highlight the strategies, operations, and technologies that must be integrated to promote growth in the post-epidemic era.
We can safely say that 2020 will be completely different from any year in the past, and 2021 will definitely not return to the previous normal. Therefore, what lessons should marketers learn from the COVID-19 pandemic when thinking about how to build brands this year and beyond? What can we do to help the company grow faster? In the era of new coronary pneumonia, how should we redefine marketing?
Asking and answering these questions is very important for future marketing success. In the past few months, I have compared what I have learned from working in the media and marketing field over the past two decades with what we have learned in this year of major changes. In particular, I have identified ten areas where the new crown pneumonia epidemic is challenging the key facts of marketing, and provided us with a set of new rules for moving forward.
1. Old fact: Marketing starts with understanding your customers.
New fact: Marketing starts with understanding your customer segmentation.
The new crown pneumonia crisis reinforces what we already know: brands must communicate in a very local and precise way, targeting specific consumers based on their conditions and the things that are most relevant to them. This means that you must really understand the actual local situation, and understand the different situations of each country, each state, and each postal code area. For some companies, such as banks, restaurants, or retailers, this may even mean that each store can adjust its communication messages.
In addition to geographic factors, we have also understood that marketing messages must be related to individuals, consistent with their circumstances and values, and not adjusted according to demographic characteristics such as age and gender. If you want to establish personal interpersonal relationships in any commercial information, you need to define consumer segments and describe them according to multiple aspects that affect their buying behavior, for example, from psychological characteristics to attitude characteristics. Facing.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the EY Future Consumer Index (EY Future Consumer Index) has conducted five studies of 14,500 individuals in 20 countries, and identified five different consumer groups:
1. Affordability first (32% of consumers): living expenses do not exceed their own financial resources and budget, less emphasis on brand, more emphasis on product functions.
2. Health priority (25%): Protect yourself and your family’s health, choose products that they believe are safe, and minimize the risks of shopping.
3. Earth first (16%): Try to minimize their impact on the environment and buy brands that reflect their beliefs.
4. Social priority (15%): Work together for the greater good and buy goods from organizations that they believe are honest and transparent.
5. Experience first (12%): Live in the moment and try to fulfill their lives. Therefore, they are often open to new products, brands and experiences.
Even better, you can use these insights to understand the entire customer journey.
2. Old fact: you are competing with competitors.
New fact: you are competing with the customer’s last best experience.
Before the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, consumer expectations have continued to rise. In the age when Gen Z is growing up, technology is seamlessly integrated into their lives. Companies that directly appeal to consumers (such as Glossier or Parachute) have made us accustomed to expecting a level of hyper-personalization because they are particularly good at using our personal data.
Next, let consumers greatly increase their expectations, and have high expectations of what companies can do for them in a more digital experience. Carla, Chief Marketing Officer of Citibank. Carla Hassan explained to me early this summer that customers expect far more than smooth digital transactions. Since the company currently owns their personal data, they hope to get a personalized experience that can predict their needs throughout the customer journey.
Companies should follow the following three strategies to ensure that the experience they provide meets customers’ increased expectations:
1. Make brand score an important key performance indicator (KPI) for the entire customer-facing organization. Ideally, use real-time analysis instead of a brief review at a certain point in time.
2. Establish the appropriate data and technical foundation to support important use cases throughout the customer journey.
3. Throughout the customer journey, reconcile personal goals and collective goals in the same direction, so that your final consumers will not see any disconnection between independent departments such as marketing, sales, and customer service.
3. Old fact: Customers want you to have what they want.
New fact: Customers expect you to have what they want.
If the standards continue to improve, we must strive to pursue new values in the customer experience, as is the case with B2C or B2B. Currently, consumers expect that any experience will be smooth, anticipate their needs, relevant and connected. In other words, they only care about whether they can get something when they want it. Moreover, they insist that nothing can be a hindrance.
To create these experiences, companies must put data and technology at the core of their organization. Doing so may mean incorporating a certain degree of machine learning and/or artificial intelligence into it. Why? Because data allows us to create more relevant experiences in one or more of the following four Cs:
￭ Content (content, which can be provided in e-mail or mobile application experience);
￭ Commercial (commerce, for example, physical retail, e-commerce or mixed experience);
￭Community (community, for example, online trade shows to convene B2B buyer gatherings, or hold home repair webinars for consumers);
￭ Convenience (for example, providing consumers with coupons, or the benefits of loyalty programs).
At present, most of the four C’s are provided in an “one-size-fits-all” manner. However, as consumers increasingly demand a higher degree of personalization, companies must use more data and intelligence to strengthen their own decision-making. Process and improve the relevance of interaction with customers in order to establish a more solid interpersonal relationship with the brand.
4. Old fact: “pursuing” customers is like dating.
New fact: “pursuing” customers is like online dating.
For a long time, marketing is mainly based on the best media prices, buying mass reach or targeted reach, hoping to convert the touched objects into customers. So basically, it’s like going to as many parties or bars as possible, hoping to find that special person. It used to be a world of nature and contingency. Frankly speaking, there are many opportunities to meet face to face.
Later, online dating and mobile phone applications appeared. Now, finding your perfect object may be less related to probability, but more related to data and algorithms. In terms of marketing, we have seen a shift from brand marketing to building reach, performance marketing, and finding potential customers. The rapid development of digital channels caused by the new crown pneumonia epidemic has only exacerbated this trend.
However, even though performance marketing has a strong and important position in this combination, good marketing executives understand that brand marketing and performance marketing must strike a good balance to produce the best results, and they must also work hard to counter people’s concerns. The easiest to quantify the preference of the indicator. Many marketing chiefs let their customer relationship management (CRM) teams and media teams cooperate more closely than in the past, so that it is easier to review the entire continuous process and achieve efficiency. CRM is mainly driven by first-party data or customer data owned by the company (of course, consumers’ consent is required to obtain their data), while CRM is a program such as coupons, personalized marketing, or email marketing. Driving force.
But the same first-party data can help create better media efficiency, especially digital media and other traceable formats, allowing companies to target potential customers one-on-one. As major browsers revise their rules before January 2022, the value of third-party data will gradually decrease, and marketers will become better at designing the online “dating” they want to conduct and learn some new methods to use their own data. And develop new strategies to cooperate with publishers. Even if the target (or appointment) strategy changes with the new rules of the game, it is important for the company to leave room for brand marketing and performance marketing, because the bottom marketing funnel strategy can promote the top marketing funnel Goals and vice versa. Simply put, they are more effective when they cooperate.
5. Old fact: Customers must be at the core of your marketing strategy.
New fact: Customers must be at the core of your customer journey.
The concept of customer-centricity is not new. However, due to factors such as politics, organizational structure, technology, or geography, those departments that interact with customers and act independently of each other often lack connection with each other. The question is: customers think that the entire company has a comprehensive understanding of them, how do we hide these internal connections from customers? We have all called the customer service department, and we have spoken to the staff in the customer service center or chatbots, and the information they use when operating is different from the retail location, and vice versa.
We must remember that marketing is usually only the beginning of a relationship with customers. For example, in the context of B2C, the process we go through includes interacting with them, directly or indirectly converting them into sales results, and then hoping to keep them and let them become our advocates, possibly accepting additional sales and crossovers Sales. You must examine marketing in the context of this entire journey from beginning to end, and if possible, try to connect every point in it.
If you think that all business models facing customers can or should be reported to the same unit, this is unrealistic. The notion that reorganization can solve all problems is a common misunderstanding. More importantly, the business model should be carefully reviewed, and various processes, technology, talents, data models and key performance indicators should be considered in order to find an appropriate way to objectively adjust to a consistent direction based on customer needs, and then promote accordingly change.
6. Old fact: Relationship is very important.
New fact: relationships are the most important.
There is no doubt that it is extremely important to build trust-based relationships with customers. For example, advertising makes a brand promise and then relies on products, services, and customer experience to fulfill this promise.
However, the new crown pneumonia pandemic has made relationships a new focus, especially B2B sales. When faced with a virtual sales environment, a team with an existing relationship can make good use of the strength of the previous relationship to maintain revenue momentum. In contrast, finding new customers requires incremental development of a set of skills, focusing on selling solutions rather than selling products.
In both cases, trust and integrity are extremely important to promote market development momentum. For the sales and marketing leaders of B2B organizations, this requires serious re-arrangement of talents to find out which talents are most suitable to promote relationships in the current new online interactive world, which is not so dependent on charm (or even Expense account), relying more on insights and solutions. If you can listen to customer needs and then develop solutions to meet those needs, you can build and gain trust.
In the context of B2C, trust also plays an important role. Trust is the basis of value exchange between enterprises and consumers. Companies increasingly rely on personal data obtained after obtaining consumer consent. Therefore, they must not only comply with consumer privacy regulations and ensure data security, but also have the opportunity to consider building more loyalty and privacy by designing a more transparent privacy control interface. Differentiation. Consumers can make better choices if they know what information they agree to share with the company, and this clear and transparent situation can help increase trust.
7. Old fact: Agile is a technical process.
New fact: Agile is a modern marketing method.
Over the years, we have heard people say that technological development benefits from agile cycles, rather than a gradual or linear “waterfall” approach. The new crown pneumonia pandemic has created an irreversible trend that allows marketing to accept a similar agile mentality. As the crisis develops, the company may quickly discover that its own information is wrong, or the supply chain cannot deliver on time, which immediately triggers an advertising or public relations crisis. For example, imagine that there is a commercial advertisement that shows people get together, but it does not clearly show whether social distancing is maintained. Suddenly, creative processes with long lead times and annual budget cycles became obsolete, and all traditional approval practices became tied.
The lucky result of this crisis is the establishment of a marketing agile mentality, and this mentality may be maintained forever. This includes continuously listening to consumers’ opinions and detecting consumer needs, not only for the benefit of marketing, but also for the company’s zeitgeist (zeitgeist) to grasp consumer sentiment. At the same time, in actual operations, this also means that in many key areas, such as creativity, budgeting, and media, the decision-making cycle will be faster and more flexible.
8. Old fact: Your brand should support excellent products.
New fact: Your brand should support excellent value.
The new crown pneumonia pandemic has indeed challenged brand loyalty. This development, coupled with the continued growth of consumer awareness, and the accelerated consumer activism due to the social turmoil in 2020, should allow brands to focus very much on the values they express.
In fact, the key theme of the Ernst & Young research shows that although quality, convenience, and price are still very important to consumers’ choices, there are some factors that become more and more important to consumers in how they choose products and services, such as Factors such as sustainable development, trust, ethical procurement of raw materials and social responsibility. In the post-new crown epidemic market, brand preferences have been subverted. Therefore, marketing has the opportunity to educate more senior executives (or even the board of directors). To differentiate in this market, brand values are very important.
9. Old fact: You need the right technology stack to promote the success of modern marketing.
New fact: You need to properly balance various factors (including your technology stack) to promote the success of modern marketing.
With the proliferation of a large number of advertising and marketing technologies, it is easy to focus on the well-known “tech stack”, hoping to completely change marketing. However, it is useless to own a Ferrari and only reach forty miles an hour.
In order for your technology architecture to drive results, the technology architecture must be equipped with data of sufficient scale to promote success. It also requires the right use cases to drive results and the right methods for human enablement. . The latter requirement is perhaps the most important. Employee empowerment includes understanding how the entire organization uses data and technology, ensuring that employees have the appropriate skills to use it effectively, and ensuring that the correct measurement methods are used to stimulate innovation and success. Technology, data, employee empowerment, and use cases. If these elements are not in a good balance with each other, it is impossible to achieve the return on investment that the company hopes to achieve with marketing technology.
10. Old fact: Marketing is important for growth.
New fact: For all senior executives, marketing is at the core of the growth agenda.
There is no doubt that marketing used to be the internal cost center of the company, and the primary responsibility is to increase the return on investment as much as possible. At the time when the situation was difficult and revenue performance was declining, marketing was usually one of the first areas to be cut.
However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives of seniors have raised their position in marketing as a driving force for digital transformation, a key leader in the customer journey, and the voice of consumers, all of which are very important to leaders in other departments. . Regardless of whether the current situation is good or bad, if you do not understand the zeitgeist of the market, senior executives will not be able to adjust to the immediate threats and opportunities and successfully move into the future.
COVID-19 has created an immediate collaborative leadership culture that focuses on the urgent need for resilience. Marketing now has the opportunity to continue to play a central role in such conversations, thereby driving the organization’s broader growth and innovation agenda.
Art and science
As marketers, we are responsible for the continuous integration of art and science. We must strike a perfect balance between people and automation to create a future with better analytics and large-scale use of artificial intelligence. We must use data as fuel while also respecting the skill of storytelling in order to promote meaningful relationships. We must act cautiously between brand marketing and performance marketing, understanding our current preference for things that can be easily quantified. We must understand what should be handled centrally, what should be tailored, and see where consistency helps and where it hinders.
These new marketing facts reflect this integration, highlighting the strategies, operations and technologies needed to promote growth in the post-COVID-19 world. Accepting them completely represents the path to recovery from the epidemic and long-term success. For companies and marketers who are accustomed to the past methods, the adjustment period is coming. But even at this time of continuous change, we can still find a foothold of familiarity and confidence in the simplest and most critical facts: we must give priority to the customer’s point of view, whether it is now or in the future, the importance of this point surpasses Anything else.