As Bob Dylan said, “Times are changing.”
The change is just beginning.
Kipp Bodnar / HubSpot CMO
2020 marks the beginning of a new decade, and what a turbulent start it has been. As the world faces a serious health crisis, neither of us is sure what the other side will be like. The best we can do is support each other to learn and adapt to our “new normal.”
One thing we are sure of is that buyers have changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and while we cannot predict what will happen next, we know that even more changes will occur.
For marketers, this means learning to reach buyers in a rapidly changing world. Earlier this year, we surveyed 3,400 vendors about their strategies, successes, and where they are headed next. We hope that these findings are helpful in understanding the change that awaits us all.
Just a decade ago, social media platforms were starting to gain traction, and are now a critical part of our daily lives and an essential aspect of almost all marketing strategies. Much has changed in ten years, including the companies with which it competes.
Today, the competitive landscape is fiercer than ever: There are countless disruptions across all industries. Ten years ago, companies won by selling a product 10 times better than the competition. Today, companies win and lose because of their customer experience, and companies offering a better experience from start to finish are dismantling headlines.
These companies represent a new generation of growth leaders who come forward by completely disrupting and reinventing the treatment we expect of companies as consumers. We refer to them as disruptors of experience.
MARKETERS MUST BE THE ARCHITECTS OF THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE
As marketing specialists, every point of contact we have with buyers is an opportunity to impress. But to do this, companies need marketing strategies that support the entire customer life cycle.
Increasingly expressive shoppers, easily replicable products, and eroding business confidence mean that a delighted customer base is more influential in driving growth than any seller or vendor. But all too often we see companies that focus on customer acquisition at the expense of retention, but this strategy will miss out on a great growth opportunity.
This is where the rich attribution reports can help you. Ten years ago, closed-circuit reporting was impossible for many vendors. Today, rich attribution is available to everyone, but it is not yet the norm. Currently, only 52 percent of marketers use some form of attribution report.
MARKETERS FACE A TECHNOLOGICAL BARRIER, BUT IT IS BEGINNING TO CHANGE
The rich attribution enables marketers to make better business decisions. One of the most important metrics to track is the return on investment of marketing activities. Only 35 percent of our respondents answered that it is “very important” or “extremely important” to understand the ROI of any campaign.
That’s low, but I don’t think the outstanding 65 percent are avoiding it. They face a technological barrier that prevents them from measuring their work. Most software created for marketers is not powerful enough to capture this, and software that is sophisticated enough requires extensive IT or developer support. But this is beginning to change, allowing more marketers to access the insights offered by rich attribution, but within a simple user interface that is easy to learn.
HOW THE CURRENT HEALTH CRISIS CAN FORM OUR FUTURE
Now we must address a question that is very important to many marketing leaders right now: How will the current global health crisis we are experiencing shape our profession in 2020 and beyond? Our first thoughts on what we think we might see happen, all of which are up for discussion and debate.
1. Doing business online will go from being a good idea to a requirement
We believe this will be especially true for companies that have not yet prioritized this, and sadly feel the effects of not being ready to do business online right now. I think we will see all companies in the coming years adopting online tools such as CRM, payments, document signing, etc. That means in-house sellers and agencies will have to have a more technical mindset to organize these customer experiences.
2. Remote work will become a first-class citizen.
People will realize that they can leverage technology to transform the way they work and live, and this will trigger a decade-long transformation. For marketers, as a profession, our jobs lend themselves to remote work better than most. I hope to see an increase in the number of open marketing positions where remote work is encouraged, and I believe this will happen sooner rather than later.
3. Humans will be kinder to each other.
We sincerely hope that this prediction is correct and that we emerge from this with greater empathy for one another. I hope we will see this effect in business as well, as more companies do the right thing for their customers and employees, even when it is difficult.
As we enter the next decade of commercialization, only one thing is certain: More changes are taking place for our profession. We all need to be adaptable, resilient, and focused on the customer experience to be successful.