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We all want that magic formula for marketing success that delivers results time and time again. Use these key marketing tips to excel in a post-pandemic world.
2020 took the world by storm when people were forced to change the way they lived, worked, and shopped.
Suddenly, retail stores turned to e-commerce, face masks were the hottest commodity, and organizations switched to hybrid work models.
Education, grocery, and healthcare markets boomed, and non-essential businesses were obliterated.
Marketers had to siphon through new data sets and rethink their previous marketing strategies.
What have these transformative shifts made clear? That agility, relatability, and personalization are vital to marketing success.
Let’s take a closer look at why agility, relatability, and personalization make the perfect cocktail for marketing success.
1. Why is agility important in marketing?
Agility is what holds companies together during trying times. When brands have agility, they can quickly assess market trends, make rapid business decisions, and pivot when necessary. Agility focuses on structural changes, responding during change, and being proactive.
It’s also about how marketers meet customer demands.
For instance, Old Navy launched an unplanned face mask line in the middle of the pandemic in 2020. Together with Google, they crafted and executed a fluid full-funnel media plan in less than a month.
The plan combined paid social, affiliates, search, podcasts, and more. The move wasn’t just a major bet on e-commerce; it delivered a much-needed solution for people who needed face masks.
Fortunately, marketers have learned a thing or two from the pandemic. Being agile was a big one.
In our rapid economic, social, and political landscape, it’s never been more crucial for brands to be agile.
2. The importance of agile leaders
Back in 2017, the Forbes Insight/PMI survey reported that 92% of C-level executives believe organizational agility is critical to business success. The interesting part was that only 27% considered themselves highly agile.
Fast-forward to 2020, research from the IBM Institute showed that executives are highly prioritizing agility.
Leaders understand that for agility to work, it needs to span across the entire business from frontline employees to CEOs.
Agile leaders are the driving force that encourages adaptability and trains their teams on how to pivot quickly in the face of change.
- Encourage self-learning
- Have disaster recovery plans
- Encourage creative thinking
- Provide long-term training and development
- Show team members how to turn challenges into opportunities
3. How to adopt an agile framework
Adopting an agile framework helps teams leverage data to spot problems and opportunities in real-time. It also helps teams test, evaluate, iterate, and deploy solutions quickly.
To adopt an agile framework for your team, focus on the five Ps:
Ensure your teams have well-defined roles and goals and can collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
When planning your agile strategy, focus on the customer-first outcome you want to reach. How can you enhance each touchpoint on the customer journey? What are your customer personas like?
Consider using revenue marketing to bridge the gap between your marketing and sales teams. How will you personalize customer messaging? How will you use customer insights and intelligence to create interest? How will you guide customers to purchase?
From customer messaging to evaluating insights, make sure your agile processes are tight-knit, well-defined, and tested for speed and accuracy.
Use technology that supports your agile efforts. Consider using a customer data platform (CDP) to have a unified database of real-time customer information. Also, consider using an edge data center to store and process customer data securely.
5. Performance measurement
Train your team on how to measure performance and spot optimization opportunities.
Agility in marketing means being able to quickly assess market trends and pivot when necessary. In addition, agility helps teams remain resilient in the face of chaos.
Agile teams know how to navigate challenges, meet customer demands, and respond to change. Agile leaders are the backbone of agile teams as they inspire employees to think creatively and turn challenges into opportunities.
4. Why is relatability important in marketing?
Relatability is the key to separating your brand from the pack.
When you relate to your customer, you connect with them. They get excited when they hear from you, and they’re always curious to know what you’re up to. When customers feel like they can relate to you, they happily send their hard-earned dollars your way.
That’s why relating to your customer is vital to your marketing success.
5. How marketers can be more relatable
So, how can you relate to your customer in an authentic way?
Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal, says that human beings are built for stories. We came from stories, we’ve been telling stories our whole lives, and we want to know other people's stories.
Stories are something we can all tap into — that’s what brings people together.
Your customers are instinctively drawn to characters and worlds they can relate to. That’s why customers love reading wedding stories when they’re engaged. It’s also why new parents guzzle up infant sleep tips. If a customer can see themselves in a character, they’re more likely to pay attention.
In other words, people want to hear stories about them. This includes their heritage, background, family situation, and even frustrations. They want to know that they’re not alone and that you care about who they really are as human beings.
You’re marketing your brand’s latest sunglasses and hats with a series of campaigns.
It’s Monday morning, and you’re checking in on customer behavior data.
After studying the data for a while, you notice that a lot of your buyers are people using your products for health purposes. Some of your customers recently had brain surgery, some have photophobia, and others have cataracts.
After realizing how helpful your products have been, you decide to plan a second series of campaigns targeting customers with the same health concerns.
You reach out to your customers to ask if you can share their stories on how your product improved their lives. After collecting a few stories in the form of text, video, and podcasts, you plan your campaigns.
You decide to base each campaign on your customer’s success stories.
In the end, your campaigns have:
- Explainer videos
- Blog articles
- Case studies
- Podcast episodes
Your campaigns work, and you start collecting more stories from happy customers. From then on, you continue to infuse stories into all of your marketing content.
Relatability is the key to separating your brand from the pack. When you relate to your customers, they feel seen. You can relate to your customers through storytelling. When customers can see themselves in a character, they’re more likely to pay attention. You can infuse storytelling in all of your customer messaging and marketing content.
6. Why is personalization important in marketing?
Personalization is what drives engaging content.
Transaction-based personalization is based on creating customer personas and simulated experiences. But highly engaging personalization goes beyond that with real personal experiences.
Creating a personal experience is an approach you can take with all of your customer messaging. Whether it’s social media, email, or video, the key is to create one-to-one moments that build relationships.
7. How to personalize marketing and build relationships
Building relationships is all about knowing your customer.
You know they order red lipstick often, so you send them free red lipstick on their birthday. You send them a free trial because you know they like to test things before they spend money. You speak up about important causes because you know they value them.
To get to know your customer, you need to transform one-on-one interactions into personal moments. Keep your customers’ unique interests and passions in mind and focus on building emotional connections.
Here are six ways to build emotional connections with your customer:
Relatability refers to what you say and how much you know your customer. Artificial intelligence tools can help you find public information about your customer and suggest several ways to connect with them.
Relevancy refers to where your customer is on the customer journey and what essential needs they have at that point. This helps you plan relevant offers and gifts you know they’ll love.
For instance, credit repair companies know exactly what stage their customers are in. If customers are in the initial discovery phase, they’ll share a helpful credit repair tutorial. If customers are inquiring about repairing their credit, they'll offer a discount on repair services.
Respect refers to being sensitive to your customer’s cultural sensitivities and identity. It also means being kind and considerate in your messaging and practices.
D. Pitch later
Discover first, pitch later is about building rapport with your customers and understanding who they are before suggesting they buy anything. It’s about offering relevant products and services after you’ve built trust.
E. Make your customers feel special
Make your customers feel special by sending them special offers and gifts. For example, send them birthday gifts, email them monthly discounts, and invite them to join your VIP program. These little gestures make your customers feel like you care about them.
F. Ask for feedback
Ask your customers how they feel about your brand. You can email surveys, post on social media, or set up a chatbot like route optimization software company Track-POD does.
You can ask questions like:
- Do you have an emotional connection with our brand? Are you passive to it?
- How can we improve our interactions?
- What are the building blocks of customer relationships?
- What means the most to you?
- How can we help you thrive?
8. Getting your customers to know you
While the majority of your marketing efforts are based on understanding customers, it’s also important to show customers:
- What your company cares about
- How your company came to be
- Your company’s mission
- Your company’s values
Relationships are a two-way street. Customers are interested in the human side of brands, just like brands are interested in customers’ humanity.
Share your company’s stories, wins, and losses. Share the social issues you care about and which causes you donate to. Share your vision for the future and how you plan to improve it.
Relationships go both ways. While the majority of your marketing efforts are based on understanding customers, it’s important to show them who you are too.
Customers are loyal to brands when they feel seen and heard.
Knowing how to navigate change, relate to your customers through stories, and personalize messaging is the recipe for marketing success.
These are the skills brands need to build resiliency and thrive in a post-pandemic world.
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