FRESH PERSPECTIVE

Seizing Data Insights When It Really Counts

Marketing departments are under pressure. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses large and small, increasing the reliance on marketing to generate more leads and drive more revenue to make up for pandemic-induced shortfalls.

11/13/2020

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With COVID-19 creating significant changes in customer behavior and greater urgency around innovative thinking, marketing needs to extract value from data like never before.

Marketing departments are under pressure. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses large and small, increasing the reliance on marketing to generate more leads and drive more revenue to make up for pandemic-induced shortfalls.

To facilitate this effort, marketing budgets have held firm or increased in recent months. Forbes reports that marketing budgets grew 5.2% on average in May and June 2020. Despite the financial health of marketing organizations, however, the same article notes that “an average of 9.2% of marketing jobs have been lost.”

At a time when new skills and capabilities are more important than ever, the prospect of doing more with less (budgets, people) in the face of changing consumer behavior means that marketing organizations, at least for the time being, will have to rely on current staff and external partners to determine the strategies and tactics that will keep business afloat until the pandemic is resolved.

Like It or Not, It’s a Digital World Now

If nothing else, the coronavirus has exponentially accelerated the digital transformation that’s been anticipated for some time. Companies that were already moving in that direction have been able to weather the pandemic storm more successfully, while businesses that waited are scrambling to catch up.

According to McKinsey, 75% of consumers new to using digital channels said that they’d continue using them after the pandemic crisis ends. Author Rishad Tobaccowala, the former Chief Growth Officer of Publicis Groupe, said in an interview for Research World that “almost every CEO now believes that the future will be digital, distributed and faster…Large companies will have to…adopt new approaches and anticipate their competitors as we have moved from slowly percolating ideas to an expresso [sic] age where you can’t hang around.”

Data Insights Will Guide New Strategic Thinking

The need for speed and agility depends on the ability to seize data insights.  It’s important to be able to answer questions such as those listed below—particularly given how they have changed so dramatically, over time. 

  • How are your customers behaving?
  • How do these behaviors impact your business?
  • What can you do to capitalize on—or overcome—these behaviors?
  • Where are your new customers coming from?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • What new data would help you make better decisions?
  • What new capabilities does your marketing organization need?
  • What messages and offers resonate with your audience?

As we discussed in a previous post, many of these questions are difficult to answer, because the pandemic has thrown older data models completely out of whack. Businesses that want to improve the accuracy of their forecasting, asserts McKinsey, must “reset model boundaries, apply new modeling techniques, and incorporate new data sources,” which may include the “active sourcing of public and third-party data sets,” such as location-based intelligence.

The Fastest Solution Could Be a Productive Partnership

Writing for Forbes, Christine Moorman of the CMO Network says that these activities have caused marketers to adopt “a more future-focused mindset.” In the CMO Survey, marketers say that they’re spending 36.5% of their time on the future, up 16% since 2019. Much of this time is focused on identifying and obtaining the capabilities marketers need to meet the business-saving tasks assigned to them.

“When asked which skill sets are most important,” Moorman writes, “marketing leaders prioritize ‘ability to pivot as new priorities emerge’ as the number one skill, followed closely by ‘creativity and innovation skills’ and ‘navigating ambiguity.’”

The good news for marketers is that consumers are still buying things and responding to advertising. According to Valassis research from June 2020, 36% of U.S. consumers made an impulse buy based on an ad since the pandemic started, and 76% discovered new products by responding to offers. MRI-Simmons reports that 53% of U.S. consumers have purchased from new brands during the pandemic, but most—77%—expect to return to their favorites when the world opens up again.

The challenge for marketers is to get the data insights needed to find the best consumers in the most efficient ways. Allant Group can fill in the gaps in your marketing team needs by delivering the data, associated capabilities and expertise you need to gather the right insights for fast, accurate decision-making. To learn more, contact us online or call 800-367-7311.

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