How can you turn a moment into a movement?

How have the last eighteen months with the universal challenges of a global pandemic and shifting business expectations impacted consumers and marketing? How did leaders respond, and what are they focused on now?

Karyn Furstman

Maybe you’ve wondered some of the same things. And if you’re like many of the business leaders we talked to, perhaps you’ve had to evolve, or even upend, your marketing and customer experience (CX) strategy to meet the demands of the past eighteen months.

Despite the challenges, many marketing and CX leaders recognise, for the first time, that now is not just a moment for change; it’s a time to commit to continued growth and keep evolving. Are you curious how they are turning this moment into a movement?

This is the first instalment of our five-part series based on our white paper, ‘When upheaval leads to elevation’. Stay tuned for more insights in upcoming blogs.

Now, let’s dive in.

Everyone approaches marketing and CX challenges differently.

To start, let’s introduce you to the three types of people we met in our research: Disrupters, Progressives, and Traditionalists. Each of these leaders use different strategies to solve their biggest brand marketing challenges. Here’s how:

  • Traditionalists (31%) manage the changing market by employing tried-and-true methods in test-and-learn scenarios. Here’s what you’re likely to hear from a typical Traditionalist: ‘I mitigate risk by learning from others’ mistakes and making full use of tried and tested methodologies to meet our targets.’
  • Progressives (60%) apply a blend of risk and caution in the turbulent market. They’re the types who say, ‘I look ahead for inspiring ideas and innovative new ways to market, while still ensuring we meet our targets.’
  • Disrupters (9%) are change makers, either by choice or because the new realities and demands of their industries leave no choice. They say things like, ‘I turn all the marketing rules upside down, shake things up, and change the game to meet our targets.’
Each type of leader handles challenges differently, and maybe you identify with one or several of these approaches. While some leaders are further along than others on their paths forward, they all agree on one thing: now is the time to embrace opportunity and create change.

Harness the momentum.

It’s one thing to talk about embracing change and prioritising growth, but how can you actually do it? Having learned from the recent past, there are a few things leaders see as top priorities going forward. Here’s their approach and the steps they’re taking to make it happen.

First, there is a tremendous priority on maintaining strong engagement and connection – between teams and colleagues, prospects and customers, and partners and vendors. In fact, aiming to balance internal and external needs, 74% of executives are working to break down silos across their organisation, and 64% of them have adjusted their messaging to reflect the top brand qualities of transparency, authenticity, and empathy.

In building on the momentum, 82% of marketing leaders rank creating a new breed of content and experiences as a top strategy to gain a competitive edge over the next two to three years. After all, businesses aren’t the only ones who have responded to shifting demands – their customers and employees have evolved, too. As one leader said about their customers, 'People don’t necessarily care if you solve their problem. They just want to be heard.' And the same holds true for employees, with one executive revealing, 'After our CEO started hosting these very authentic calls and really answering our employees' questions, other leaders have started to do the same thing.'

If you think this sounds like a massive shift, that’s because it is. Executives recognise that bringing these priorities to life will require tangible investment. Over the next 12 months, more than half (54%) of leaders are making investments to implement and mature CX strategies and programs. Leaders feel strongly about the need for change, and they’re taking steps to implement their plans.

How will you evolve?

Continuing challenges and market accelerations are not behind us. Marketing and CX executives are using this opportunity to impact organisational change, move beyond legacy systems and thinking, continue to break down silos within and outside their organizations, and build their brands to differentiate for the future. The diversity of thoughts, ideas, and strategies prove that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

With endless ways to embrace change and enable growth, how will you evolve to meet the challenges of tomorrow?