By Andrea Martens

  • Digital Marketing

Out with the old, in with the new – let’s rewrite the marketing rule books

With yet another ‘unprecedented’ year over, the future looks exciting for marketers.

Over half (67%) of marketers think the industry has changed more in the last two years than in the previous 50. Yet through these rapid changes, businesses and marketers have well and truly proven their resilience. And while there will surely be a few more bumps ahead, we’ve clearly shown that we can navigate our way through them.

No one really knows what the future holds, but what is certain is that the rule books will be rewritten in the coming years. And marketers face an exciting time ahead, as they take their place in shaping the future. But some things have profoundly changed, and we need to take these into consideration as we draft the new rules.

While we’re not reinventing the fundamentals of consumer marketing, it is being challenged by shifting customer attitudes and behaviours. From an increased focus on brand purpose and sustainability to moving between digital and in-store channels at every stage of the journey - marketers that understand their customers and take these changes into account will be better prepared for tomorrow.

The pandemic has led many businesses to change their models – some forced to evolve, while others merely accelerating the journey they were already on.

ADMA is a good example of the latter – up until the pandemic, the majority of our education offering was in person. Now our classes are run live virtually, giving students access to content beyond the classroom. Not only has this ensured that our education arm survived COVID, but it also gives students more flexibility around how, when and where they learn.

In retail, ecommerce experienced phenomenal growth, up 57% year on year in 2020, according to Australia Post. While the rate of growth isn’t expected to continue, digital commerce is going to remain a significant part of most brands – and CMOs are making it the number one priority it  in their budgets, according to Gartner’s 2021 CMO Spend study.

When it comes to the digital economy, there is a lot big brands can learn from the attitude and approach of small businesses. Take the players in the creator economy. Made of passionate, skilled individuals and collaborators, those in the creator economy are bypassing the major platforms and connecting with consumers on a more personal level – and finding great success. As the creator economy gathers momentum, there will be a lot of new opportunities to explore for brands – from collaborations and content to new platform capabilities and products.

The next couple of years will also see the end of cookies, which means brands will need think about new ways of collecting first party data – through things like loyalty programs, events and content. And with regulation set to inch closer to catching up to the digital age, your teams will need to balance new initiatives with strict new rules and compliance.

Marketing, as we know it will never be the same – and being part of shaping its future is exciting. Making sure your team is ready will allow you to set new benchmarks and thrive in the future. With so much dramatic change over the last two years – and an ever-growing skills shortage – 2022 offers a good opportunity to reset and equip marketers with new skills that will prepare them to thrive in the years to come.

Brands will need to continue to stay agile and responsive rather than reactive. The ones that come out on top will be the brands that can respond to what the customers need, and do it fast.

I encourage you to read ADMA’s latest paper, The CMO’s guide to the great marketing education. It offers four strategic ways upskill your team and food for thought on how you can better train, engage and retain your staff.

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