‘Markets hate uncertainty’, so the adage goes, and at present a perfect storm of factors are creating highly uncertain times for businesses.
The impact of Brexit, COVID and resultant changing shopping habits, as well as an increased focus on equity, equality, and sustainability, have made the past 18 months some of the most disruptive marketers have faced.
At iCrossing, we deliver step change for businesses ready to move faster in digital; often working with those that have struggled to adapt to digital complexity and the pace of change.
So, we were fascinated to explore – through surveys with YouGov and Hearst – the impact this period of intensified change has had on both consumers and the senior marketers trying to keep up.
We found both marketers and consumers in a surprisingly optimistic state of mind; looking forward to 2022 with renewed energy as well as a greater awareness of the changing social and economic landscape.
The research also showed that adapting to uncertainty is increasingly part of creating and delivering marketing plans – change is the new normal.
Some 71% of consumers said they have a positive outlook on life, and many took up new hobbies or pastimes during the various lockdowns. The consensus was that the disruption of COVID should be used as a moment for change in both personal lives and society in general. Some 73% believe the experiences of the past 18 months have allowed people to look at things differently, and that the future will be better because of new ways of living adopted.
Many marketers we surveyed revealed they’re responding to this enlightened outlook by doubling down on customer- centricity; looking to ‘provide high-quality customer service’ by better utilising data to understand current customers and acquire new ones.
While there’s greater focus on coping with disruptive external factors, we also found that businesses continue to grapple with digital and data. Many feel they lack a clear strategy to navigate today’s multi-channel landscape, and that their organisations are missing key skills or knowledge in digital. A quarter said that, despite it having been a key channel for many years, a greater focus on digital remains a high priority.
With digital often wrapped up in a complex web of platforms, data and jargon, it’s likely this lack of time will exacerbate challenges around creating and delivering marketing strategy through digital channels.
It’s a lot to tackle. Yet despite the difficulties, it’s also a challenge that many marketers are relishing. What worked last year is unlikely to work next, so fresh ideas and new ways of thinking are always on the agenda, and 42% of respondents in large organisations said they have a focus on speeding up innovation in 2022.
Find out what’s topping the marketing agenda by digging into the key themes from our research...
Planning for disruption: Change is the new
Skills gaps: Marketers’ digital focus hindered by a lack of clear strategy and skills
Consumer optimism: A moment for positive change
Consumer-centricity is critical: Better service, powered by data, will be key to success
Measuring a multi-touchpoint world: Added complexity and cookie worries force measurement to the fore
We believe that moving too slowly in digital is the biggest risk your business faces. If you are ready to move faster in digital, we are here to help.