With 90 percent of marketing leaders having experienced a budget cut in 2020, Rick DeLisi, VP Advisory and Gartner Fellow, cautions that “tight budgets are probably here to stay at least for the next year.” With these constraints, it has become even more important for brands to anticipate customer concerns and be ready to react and solve problems through adaptive marketing strategies.
There are four steps recommended by Gartner’s experts as marketers look to develop their future-fit / adaptive marketing strategy. These steps entail: consumer understanding, adaptive planning, data-driven decisioning, and strategic cost optimization. DeLisi mentioned that, “because of COVID-19, some companies did engage in specific instances of marketing driven scenario planning. It helped marketing teams adapt quickly in the midst of a fast-moving crisis.”
Strategy 1: Understanding the Customer
Gartner’s Cassandra Nordlund, Executive Advisor of Customer Experience, discussed that customer understanding needs to shift to understanding the relationships between brands and the customers. By building upon this, organizations will shape marketing plans around the “experiences and content interactions that are meaningful” to their customers. “To deliver hyper-personalized experiences with relevant content, marketers need to have an understanding of customer needs and behaviors,” said Sitecore’s Jill Grozalsky.
Strategy 2: Adaptive Planning
With the addition of adaptive planning, the brand can “evolve from a marketing organization that is not agile to one that is agile. Shifting strategies from something that happens at a specific moment in time to a constant collaborative endeavor through building agile adaptive planning enables marketing to respond at speed to both emerging opportunities and threats,” said Nordlund.
Strategy 3: Data-Driven Decisioning
The third step is data-driven decisioning. DeLisi stated that “this means really doubling down on the data. That’s most important to marketing agility and adaptivity. You have to pinpoint the right data that allows you to course correct your strategy to optimize your operational plans and tactical execution.”
Strategy 4: Strategic Cost Optimization
The final piece in the future-fit marketing strategy is strategic cost optimization. This involves optimizing budgets and resource plans to “align investments with business value.”
66 percent of strategy leaders agree adaptive or market-based planning is a priority for their organization, according to Gartner research. By establishing this plan, brands will be better equipped to outline and handle potential scenarios. With the four-step process, organizations will be successful in the years to come.
Click here to learn more about future-fit marketing planning.