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Marketing in a post pandemic world: Get ahead or fall further behind

You could be forgiven for thinking that the pandemic and its ongoing impact would have stifled creativity and bigger strategic thinking. Organisations in many sectors have suffered a loss of income and had to utilise furlough and even redundancy and in a lot of cases this left behind over stretched teams working hard just to keep the lights on. Additionally, there has been a huge operational and cultural shift as the workforce became remote overnight and face to face time became a rarity rather than the norm.

However, in the face of adversity some organisations have mirrored the acceleration of changing audience behaviours with their own fast tracking of innovation within their proposition. These organisations have suffered in the same way as everyone else, but the adopted agile ways of working have created a MVP testing mentality to stand out from the competition. Those who are risk averse or reluctant to evolve not only risk being left behind but will struggle to shift away from survival mode back into a growth mentality.

The reality is things are tough, and they are going to get even tougher as the true economic impact of the virus combined with Brexit is truly felt – this isn’t going to be a fallout that will only last a few months. Pushing the same products in the same ways with the same customer experience you have done because it’s what worked historically, and you feel comfortable with simply isn’t going to be enough. Launching new propositions that lack differentiation, using outdated models or purchase journeys that aren’t seamless won’t work no matter how much media investment you throw behind them.

I talk about these things as though they are easy when actually, it’s the complete opposite. Coming up with new ideas in competitive and established sectors is extremely difficult – people have been trying for years. However, now is the time to get off the hamster wheel and take a step back. But where do you start?

  1. Look at other organisations for inspiration. Not just within your sector or even associated or complimentary areas just look at how companies have disrupted established models and think what learnings you can translate into your products.
  2. Try a strategic reset. Use new points of view and opinions to challenge everything. Start you annual planning with a blank canvas and a mentality of if we were setting up this organisation today what would we do? How would we approach it?
  3. Go back to basics and listen to your customers, fans and supporters. Too often decisions are made for what the organisation needs rather than what the customer would benefit from and wants. Just shifting the lens to be truly customer centric in every aspect of your proposition will drive revolution rather than evolution.

Working hard to drive incremental gains that don’t even counter a managed decline in performance won’t help your organisation as we go through tough times. Now is the time to challenge everything, nurture creativity and be bold.

By Ben Foster, Director of Digital