Hanging in the Balance: A Tale As Old As Time Meets A New Era

Brand Building|Content Development|infinitee|Thought Leadership|Trends|

Marketing teams must advance on both digital and personal fronts while staying true to the brand story.

The COVID-19 disruption of the past year and a half has changed many things, including customer behavior. Marketing teams can react to adversity and market shifts to really propel them into the next opportunity and growth cycle. As much as things change though, storytelling remains a foundational element when planning marketing strategy and building brands.

“In a marketing landscape with endless shifts in tactics and touchpoints, teams can become inundated with levers and pulleys to optimize their campaigns,” said Michael Rivera, infinitee’s creative director. “Always leaning on your brand’s story as the impetus for a campaign is going to win out over trying to squeeze your brand’s story to fit within a marketing tactic that may be popular but not quite right for your business.” 

“Despite the ever-changing media landscape, always start with storytelling. A strategic, compelling story speaks directly to a business’ value proposition and develops a unique positioning that allows consumers to see the benefits of products or services”, Rivera added. For example, the brand positioning and overall story of EPX stays true to the location and created a focused approach consistent and cohesive across all marketing touchpoints. For #SoWalWine, infinitee expanded persona stories developed years ago, creating a fresh but recognizable campaign that not only offers a fun, fresh perspective, but also keeps to the original brand story.

A compelling brand story combined with the right CX-serving tactics can really grease the sales and marketing funnel. Hayley Renvoize calls it “conversion storytelling, the art of developing and communicating an end-to-end campaign that flows from a targeted ad to a landing page experience through a combination of copy, images and sounds that are all cohesive, brand relevant and increase the probability of conversions.”

Even core marketing values could be buffeted by the vicissitudes of the past 18 months. Contactless interactions with customers became the norm during the pandemic, of course, but there was also a strong reaction to “the new digital-first reality” back in favor of traditional consumer experiences as seen by strong preferences for a return to restaurants, on-site retail shopping, live events and the office, writes Paige O’Neill in Forbes. To adjust to this “complex environment,” the Sitecore CMO recommends that marketing organizations do three key things, including right-sizing their digital experience. In other words, digital engagement, how customers interact directly with a brand and understanding who consumers are as humans, matters more than measuring output-based metrics like impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click, shares, likes and share of voice. The goal is connecting with the audience and supporting them through the customer journey.

Secondly, and this may seem obvious, O’Neill recommends giving customers what they want most: choice. As mentioned above, consumers want that choice of going digital or going out for an on-site retail, dining, work or other experience. To provide that choice, one’s marketing mix needs to be multidimensional in the moment — tech-enabled responsiveness is key — and movable and malleable across time with the goal being a true omnichannel experience for customers. Modular rather than silo-ed thinking gives marketing teams the flexibility needed to adapt content to and thereby advance different channels.

How about personalization within the digital strategy? Lastly, O’Neill maintains that “optimization and personalization of digital content should now be top priorities because contextual and highly personalized content delivered when and where the customer wants it is the new expectation.” Customer experience was big before the pandemic, of course, but now consumers have not only had time to think about what’s really important in life, they’re also digital delivery experts. The same, old same-old won’t cut it. To improve personalization, brands must have in-depth knowledge of who customers are, what they want and need, their motivators and the potential actions they might take. This knowledge will lead to improved tactics and an overall enhanced customer journey.

Harvesting actionable marketing data, the aforementioned in-depth knowledge of customers and their preferences and habits, is critical obviously. Unfortunately, David Crane writes in CMS Wire, the dynamic nature of information driving “go-to-market” strategies these days makes it much more difficult to execute them. The VP of Marketing at Intentsify calls it a disconnect between strategy and execution, ideas and actions.

“B2B organizations must focus on developing tactical processes that support the execution of evolving, highly dynamic strategies — rather than trying to ‘duct tape’ existing processes to new strategies,” he adds.

More dynamic than ever, customer data can be that rocket fuel to get you to the marketing moon. Just don’t put the rocket boosters on the back of a horse cart, right? 

Post-pandemic brands are trying to be everywhere at once and at one with a changed customer universe. As you might expect, our company name perfectly embodies our teams’ belief in endless possibilities and great ideas. We’ll continue to mix old (personal connection) and new (the latest digital strategies) in marketing and branding, knowing that the more things change (with tech and data), the more they stay the same – like customer experience and the power of a good story.


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