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To get a clearer picture of what might come next, we’ve invited a guest speaker from Forrester to the latest Adverity webinar. Here’s a short overview of what she expects are the main challenges that await marketers.

“2020 has been a particularly hard and eye-opening year for marketers, with digital innovation squeezed into months if not weeks,” observes Harriet Durnford-Smith, Adverity’s VP Marketing and Growth.

In the latest Adverity webinar Harriet talks with guest speaker Tina Moffett, Senior Analyst at Forrester, and Adverity CEO Alexander Igelsböck, about how marketers can help steer their organizations along the rocky road ahead.

There is No New Normal

Marketers have been navigating uncharted territory, in the wake of forced changes in habits and behaviors, and will continue to do so through the next few quarters, comments Alexander. As consumer behavior became more volatile, businesses cut their marketing budgets in the hope of weathering this uncertain period. However, clients have often indicated that their marketing budgets are often slashed with no clear data points - for example return on ad spend - justifying the cut.

Alexander points out that marketers have been forced to radically change their activities. Many did not have the analytical tools or lead time to assess the shifts in consumer behavior - or benefit from them. In effect, they had to change their online ad strategies overnight.

The upshot of all this is: “there is no new normal”, says Alexander, and forced changes in customer habits and behaviors are set to continue into the future.

Responding To a Pandemic

Leading analyst firm Forrester carried out some research around marketing strategy trends in the light of the current pandemic, explains Tina. It developed a set of best practices and recommendations to help businesses develop a new marketing strategy for the period ahead.

Forrester foresees three possible scenarios playing out, particularly in North America, says Tina. In each of the scenarios, Forrester sees US marketing spend falling.

  1. Best case scenario: a late-2020 recovery
  2. More damaging scenario: mid-2021 recovery
  3. Severest scenario: late-2021 recovery

Forester’s Predictions

Taking the middle prediction, which has a 60% probability of happening, the first thing to note is radio, print and out-of-home advertising will collapse, says Tina, as ad buyers shift exclusively to digital media.

Secondly, marketing automation, such as campaign management tools, will continue to be used. Thirdly, marketing services will decline 22% by 2022 as technology replaces analytics services provided by agencies and consultancies; but, on the upside, internal marketing teams will accelerate innovation out of necessity.

Reinvent Your Marketing

So, how should marketers respond? “Now is the time to reinvent your marketing purpose and process,” advises Tina. She points out that studies of past recessions show that companies who continued marketing recovered faster.

  • Marketers should emphasize product, placement and price innovation;
  • They must prioritize customer experience improvements to drive loyalty;
  • Also, it’s important to prioritize customer retention over acquisition during the recovery.

Marketers should look to automate and apply agility where possible, and would do well to eliminate redundant programs, technologies and partners, says Tina.

Stay Customer Centric

Overall, says Tina, businesses need to keep the customer at the center of their leadership strategy and operations. This means: making marketing’s purpose to solve customer problems, and create value for customers.

To hear Tina’s and Alexander’s advice and insights in full, plus a detailed discussion and Q&A on B2B marketing, digital events, AI and market disruptions outside the COVID-19 pandemic, watch the complete webinar here.

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