Three lessons for marketers to succeed in a work-from-anywhere world

The last year and a half has been like no other and marketers have had to navigate an enormous amount of change – expected to innovate rapidly and embrace an agile mindset to keep up with evolving customer demands. This has forced them to work in a digital-driven world, writes Renata Bertram. 

As states across the country start to reopen there’s little expectation of going back to an old normal. Changing customer expectations and behaviours mean marketers need to rethink everything – from the channels they use and how they define success, to embracing a ‘success from anywhere’ mentality. 

Salesforce’s ’State of Marketing’ report, surveyed 380 marketers from Australia and New Zealand. Reporting showed that local marketers and their global peers are changing strategy, marketing tactics and technology. Transformation is needed against a backdrop of economic and social change.

The report shows that if digital customer engagement didn’t define marketing prior to 2020, it does now. Entrepreneurs experimented with new business models during the pandemic. Now marketers will need to embrace new strategies and tactics to gain the attention of customers and prospects. 

The report provides three key lessons for marketers as they adapt to a changing world.

New ways of success should be adopted in a work-from-anywhere world  

 

Marketers have been physically separated during the pandemic. However, many report actually feeling more connected to their managers, customers and colleagues. The research finds 80 percent of marketers say the pandemic has permanently shifted how they collaborate and communicate at work through the use of online and digital channels.

Adjusting to a work-from-anywhere environment hasn’t been without its challenges, however. Globally, two-thirds of marketers say it’s harder to collaborate now than it was before the pandemic. To overcome the hurdles of a dispersed team, they need to look at how they can use technology to find new ways to innovate. It’s about collaboration and staying connected. To succeed, marketers must build a digital headquarters through technologies that enable transparent and flexible collaboration across teams and customers. 

Equally as important for collaboration is human connection. That is, all collaboration, whether conducted face to face or digitally, will require a willingness to connect. To create and maintain this culture across a team, marketing leaders need to foster a level of trust and respect among team members. If marketing leaders can instil a strong sense of collaboration, their teams are more likely to be successful. Even when left to work solely across digital channels.

As we move towards a work-from-anywhere world, marketers also need to rethink how to ensure a remote team has fun and remains connected – whether that be via virtual trivia, cooking classes, coffee catch-ups or themed hangouts. For suggestions, Salesforce drew from its pre-existing employee wellness portal Camp B-Well, which features advice, tips and resources from leading experts to support employees. 

New technical skills are required as customers go digital

 

The rapid shift to digital has prompted marketers to re-evaluate which channels warrant increased investment. We are seeing the value of video content, social media and digital advertisements surge – while virtual and hybrid events are being cemented as permanent fixtures. 

The digitalisation of the industry, coupled with an expectation for more sophisticated customer interactions, means that the most well-rounded marketers are also technologically savvy. Eighty-eight percent of marketers say their ability to meet customer expectations depends on their digital capabilities as their work continues to become more technology-driven.

Beyond managing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, they’re going to need to help organise and make sense of data, automate processes and measure results. To ensure adoption and success of new technologies, marketing leaders need to really connect new digital tools with their employees by demonstrating how and why these new tools will help them work better. When teams understand how technology can help them, they are far more likely to adopt it. 

Additionally, marketers must think beyond instilling a technical skill set and also consider the importance of softer skills – completing courses in online learning platforms to learn new and relevant skills for a role. 

Success needs to be measured differently

 

During the last year and a half, marketers have had to experiment. Playing with the strategies, tactics and methods with which they engage customers and prospects. Revenue and funnel performance remain the foremost metrics of success. Customer referral rates, customer acquisition costs and content engagement have experienced the biggest boosts in popularity. 

The increasingly strategic nature of marketing means that KPIs must be in line with those of company leadership. Research has found three-quarters of CMOs have started to align their KPIs with those of the CEO. At the centre of a management plan should be the prioritisation of the team’s well-being. Teams should be looking at driving measurable outcomes. Marketing has increasingly become a key revenue driver for businesses.  

Over the course of the pandemic, marketers have navigated changes in customer behaviour that normally occur over a decade. As marketers continue to be challenged by the global health crisis, they need to embrace the future. It is defined by a work-from-anywhere world. The future looks at the evolving customer expectations. Marketers should be  a workforce equipped with the digital capabilities to keep pace with rapid technological changes. 

Renata Bertram is the vice president of marketing, Salesforce ANZ.