I watched “Contagion” almost eight years ago with a sense of disbelief. Never in my wildest dreams did I even imagine that in less than a decade we would be going through a pandemic of this scale and magnitude!
As we look to navigate this altered reality with diminishing naivete with each passing month, I believe there are five shifts that CMOs will have to deal with and deliver on very quickly to stay relevant.
1. Rewriting Brand Narrative:
Brands across the world big or small are now finding ways and means to claw back and reinstate their presence and purpose in this altered reality. Because that is the key to survival. CMOs will spend incredible amounts of time delving deep down into their organizations, finding the essence that keeps it all together and scripting a narrative that is rooted. As detailed in Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report, the future of any organization’s DNA, and critical guideposts for workforce recovery, should include insight on “the 3P’s” and the same holds true for Marketers as well:
- Purpose—integrating the well-being and contributions of individuals in the organization’s mission and work and translating that into a mindful brand statement
- Potential—for what can be achieved by individuals and teams; and creating the blueprint for what’s next
- Perspective—with a focus on moving boldly into the future forging new boundaries of collaboration with partner, clients and internal stakeholders
2. Accelerating Collaboration:
The urgency to bounce back has given rise to a new style of efficient working that is centred around ecosystem fraternizing. Who would have thought five-star hotel chains will quickly integrate with online food services like Swiggy and Zomato to service their online deliveries in a “no contact” format. Marketers will find it valuable and rational to ideate with ecosystems, share budgets as well reap the benefits of collaborative outcomes.
3. Mentorship on the Rise!
The collaborative normal will also fuel the need for CMOs to pay it forward” in a way. Which means we are seeing extraordinary content and real-life lessons being shared as Marketers and CMOs re-defining their strategies, sharing short term outcomes with the larger fraternity for greater good. The recent example of Thomas Friedman at a NASSCOM online event is the start of many such mentorship initiatives.
4. Innovative Martech will flourish:
Too often marketing teams are lumped with clunky or sub optimal apps and platforms that serve little use and often gets un-utilised. In a post- Covid world intelligent Marketers will soon look to optimise their Martech infrastructure especially those that accelerate sales and pipeline visibility and provide intelligent orchestration across marketing initiatives. Salesforce and Eloqua rose out of the 2001 dot-com burst. Marketo, Hootsuite, and HubSpot were launched during 2007 financial crisis. The innovation and market leaders of the next 5 years are likely to emerge from 2020 pandemic.
5. Marketing hyper-localisation:
The sudden brakes on travel and movement of products and goods is having brands scurrying for locally integrating their strategy with that of partners with adjacencies. FedEx, in partnership with DSP Wing and drugstore Walgreens, is using drones to deliver medical products such as nonprescription medicines to consumers as part of a pilot project. Vertical integration of supply chain will be on the rise and marketers with a keen eye on protecting brand equity will seize this opportunity to forward and backward integrate their marketing strategy with this new set of partners.
Recessions are great for pressing the reset button. New playbooks will be written. New skills will get their due in marketing teams. Ecosystem collaboration will increase exponentially. At the same time, CMOs will increasingly leverage broader online platforms to reshape their marketing efforts while keeping a sharp eye for opportunities that will enhance contribution to the pipeline.
My belief is that 2020 will be the “Age of the CMO” as we continue to enhance value to the business and earn our rightful seat at the executive table.
Purnima Menon is focused on marketing Marlabs’ digital expertise and holds the responsibility for strategic marketing, analyst relations, sales enablement and corporate communications. Purnima has over 23 years of experience, providing marketing and strategic thought leadership to large organizations.
Prior to joining Marlabs, Purnima was the CMO of Microland Limited, an IT services organization. Her earlier stints include EVP and CMO of CSS Corp., as well as serving Head of Marketing stints at Infosys BPO and Avaya GlobalConnect.
Purnima is the recipient of numerous awards including Gold for Online & Social Marketing and awards for Excellence in Brand Management. She has also been included in the list of 100 most Innovation Marketing Leaders in 2019. Purnima is a graduate from Shriram College of Commerce and a postgraduate from Delhi School of Economics.