From surviving to thriving: how marketing teams can come out on top post-pandemic

Esther Flammer, head of marketing at Citrix, discusses how marketers can thrive following changes to the industry post-pandemic.

Grafitti depicting a face mask with the word 'covid'.

It’s safe to say that the past few years have been like any other. For marketers, this period in history was a particularly difficult one. While businesses struggled financially, the need to connect with customers and stand out from the competition was more important than ever. As a result, reduced spending was met with increased expectations, and teams were under pressure to do more with less.

Despite many restrictions being lifted and vaccination programmes now well underway, marketing teams around the world are still feeling the effects of the pandemic. During this period, previously well-established behaviours and perspectives changed for good. Whether it’s the way that marketers communicate with their customers or work with each other, the industry has fundamentally shifted. As a result, marketing leaders and their teams need to change up their strategies, adapt, and innovate to thrive in this new chapter of marketing.

A new era

One of the immediate priorities during the pandemic was, rightly so, ensuring everyone’s safety and limiting the spread of the virus. As a result, there was an almost over-night shift to remote working. Although many marketing teams were already ahead of the game when it came to enabling employees to work from multiple environments, during this period, work infiltrated the home at a never-before-seen scale.

Despite some initial concerns, this shift has brought with it unexpected benefits. Whether it’s the lack of commute, or the ability to spend more time with family, many marketers have embraced the flexibility on offer and want some element of remote or hybrid work to stay in place moving forward. To attract and retain industry talent, marketing leaders are having to adjust their working practices. In fact, recent research discovered that 82% of marketing organisations have new policies in place around remote work following the pandemic.

It’s not only where marketers work from that has seen a long-lasting change. It’s also how they work, especially when it comes to connecting with their customers. Whether its shopping, entertainment, or even just communicating with friends and family, over the course of the pandemic, the majority of consumers were forced online. Whilst initially thought of as a temporary measure, the convenience of this digital environment means that many of us are now reluctant to let it go. This is set to change the way that consumers seek to interact with brands moving forward.

In fact, according to McKinsey, consumers are continuing to shift towards digital and reduced-contact ways of accessing products and services, with 84% of marketers believing that their customers are placing more value on digital experiences than before the pandemic. Whether it’s developing a meaningful brand image, or executing specific campaigns to attract and retain customers, marketing teams need to take this shift in consumer preferences into account.

Visibility is key

To thrive in this new digitally powered world, marketers will need to focus on increasing visibility. For example, when it comes to hybrid work, relying on chat platforms and video conferencing tools alone to collaborate could make it more challenging to keep track of all projects. Therefore, teams need to ensure that they do not lose something we all took for granted in an office environment – the visibility that comes with face-to-face communication.

Collaboration software helps boost visibility, no matter where marketers log on from. These technologies enable information sharing and greater transparency. Tasks are easily accessible to everyone, meaning fewer mistakes, greater consistency and a shared knowledge of what others are working on. Individuals are aware of exactly what they are contributing to a project and their role. This means that if a certain element of a campaign is delayed or not where it should be, it quickly becomes apparent and can easily be picked up on before it has a knock-on effect. This helps marketing teams keep things on track and swiftly spot mistakes, leading to an overall increase in productivity and results.

These technologies not only help encourage a certain level of transparency across teams as part of a multi-channel marketing stack, they can also help marketers increase visibility in terms of how campaigns are performing, and whether they are landing with their intended audience. By integrating with, centralising and maximising data across multiple platforms, work collaboration tools can enable teams to measure which marketing channels are delivering the best content to the right audiences at the right time, tracking leads, interactions and engagement to ensure projects are successful and are delivering noticeable return on investment (ROI). Therefore, collaboration software will likely prove an essential tool for marketers looking to make better decisions and connect with their customers in this new digital era.

While no one knows what the future has in store, we do know that things will not go back to what they were. Marketers need to adapt to get ahead in this new digital era. Achieving visibility for all team members across a campaign, as well as across customer trends and preferences, will be key moving forward and will help marketers thrive, no matter what comes next.

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