Customer relationship management (CRM) software has become an ingrained part of marketing, and its advent has shifted and expanded the industry's focus far beyond traditional advertising methods alone. Modern businesses now have visibility into every aspect of a customer's life cycle, and they can leverage that data by engaging with each prospect on their terms.
Technological advances in marketing are continuing to emerge with each passing year. The recent pandemic (and associated supply chain issues) has only accelerated this process. In this regard, let's discuss some key lessons learned over the last few years.
The Internet is of Utmost Importance
The COVID-19 pandemic forced most (if not all) companies online to meet their consumer base's new demands and expectations. Even organizations that previously boasted a robust online presence struggled to keep up with the rapidly shifting landscape. However, many businesses successfully adopted digital targeting practices to maintain their sales and manage ongoing supply chain issues.
This increased focus on the Internet makes it more important than ever that marketers understand basic web development elements like HTML and CSS. A website that is hard to navigate and an "eyesore" will almost certainly drive away valued customers from a brand. On the other hand, a crisp, professional-looking website that conforms to fundamental UX (user experience) principles can work wonders for your company.
Even if you've outsourced part or all of your web development to a third-party vendor, it's still essential to provide your development partner with feedback on improving the site's UX. Even something as simple as the layout of the site's navigation bar or how the layout changes from a desktop computer to a mobile device can mean the difference between a lost opportunity and a loyal customer.
Adapt to a Changing World
The pandemic's turmoil and uncertainty forced everyone to pivot to different methods and strategies quickly. It upended the traditional order of marketing development and compelled many marketing teams to "build the plane mid-flight," so to speak.
Despite the challenges, many organizations were able to adapt with relatively low friction levels. In many cases, a key to this flexibility was implementing an Agile framework within the marketing context. You can adopt elements of agile marketing in many ways, such as by checking key performance indicators (KPIs) on a more frequent basis or setting deadlines for short-term goals and their evaluation as two-week "sprints."
Having an "agile mindset" and using your available tech stack in an agile way can yield significant benefits during times of change. It will make your business more flexible and empower you to rework your marketing plan on the fly without sacrificing core objectives for the sake of quick wins.
Develop Your Digital Marketing Presence
One of the most significant changes wrought by the pandemic is an increased focus on multi-channel (sometimes referred to as "omnichannel") marketing. After all, the way people shop has been dramatically affected over the past couple of years by lockdowns, government mandates and recommendations, and restrictions on in-store access. Not surprisingly, e-commerce became the primary method of shopping for millions of households and, in many cases, remains so to date.
Business entities that previously leaned heavily on traditional advertising tactics or foot traffic are now benefiting immensely from online marketing initiatives. Retail and grocery stores are just a couple of business types that exemplify this paradigm shift. Big box stores increasingly relied on marketing and selling to an online audience, while grocery chains promoted curbside pick-up and "to-go" options across their digital channels.
Of course, traditional advertising methods aren't "dead" by any means. For example, television continues to reach broad local and national audiences. However, the events of the past few years served as a "wake-up call" for many organizations that there was a need to supplement those traditional advertising tactics with digital campaigns. This blended approach has yielded excellent results for companies across various industries.
Continue to Learn, Adapt, and Evaluate
Many businesses have found that making their marketing strategy more "agile" has been the only way to survive and thrive during volatile times of change. Successful companies continue to:
- Focus on the Internet as a primary marketing channel
- Adopt "agile marketing," in whole or in part, as a driver for increased flexibility
- Develop their digital presence, especially as a complement to more traditional tactics
Continually adapting to change can be difficult. It may be advisable to work with an experienced, reputable media partner who can help you navigate a market that remains in a state of flux. With your media partner's help, you'll be able to enjoy a more agile, practical approach to marketing and see your business grow as a result.