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How do you plan your marketing in uncertain times?

The core principles of B2B marketing remain unchanged, but elsewhere we are seeing change on a daily basis - particularly in light of the recent and ongoing pandemic.  So how do you plan your marketing against this backdrop of uncertainty?  The answer is marketing agility.
 
Marketing strategy is fundamental.  However, now more than ever in our changing world, agility is key.  Having the ability to tweak and alter direction, if needed, is paramount.

Changes in buyer behaviour
What we are seeing now amid the Covid-19 crisis are stark changes in buyer and target audience behaviours.
 
As B2B marketers, is it crucial that these behaviours are continually monitored.  Truly knowing your customer is undeniably still the most important factor. Understanding pain points and challenges remains core to success, but with these changing often, even more so now, you need to be able to adjust quickly. Cue agile marketing.
 
The need for an agile marketing strategy
Agile marketing is a set of principles that create a cycle of continuous discovery, testing, and adoption. True agile marketing rewrites the playbook on traditional marketing processes, giving clients transparency, flexibility, and visibility. 
 
Agile marketing leads to agile results. Long gone are the days of the 50-page marketing plan that gathered dust on a shelf whilst marketers congratulated themselves on an amazing document that would never again see the light of day! It is the ‘campaign effect’ – testing out activity in key markets with target audiences against a backdrop of defined KPIs and measures to see what works, quickly and cost-effectively. Rinse and repeat if it achieves the desired results, or alter course before budget is unnecessarily wasted.
 
Getting the balance right
Successful B2B businesses understand that there is no longer a beginning, middle or end to a campaign. Agile marketers are in a constant cycle of testing, learning, optimising, then repeating the whole process all over again. For this to work effectively, however, clients and agencies need to collaborate and above all, communicate well.
 
The ability to pivot quickly has historically been denied by many larger organisations, impeded by set processes which are non-conducive to this approach. Equally, this has been regarded as a weakness in smaller organisations, who are accused of pivoting too quickly and not allowing activity to continue long enough to judge its success.
 
There is a fine balance to being agile without the risk of falsely veering off course, and flexibility is required to make it work. Agile teams champion flexibility and the freedom to step outside of industry-best practices to identify the most impactful strategies. Whilst an agile approach would indicate a lack of process, it is repetitive processes and systems which foster predictability and ensure that everyone on the team, both client and agency-side, know what they are doing and what others are doing around them.
 
Agile marketing brings clarity
Having a shared direction and purpose as conditions rapidly change is necessary to mitigate distractions. Everyone should have clarity and know how they contribute to the whole.
 
Here at BCM, we work to a 1-page strategic marketing plan which aligns your marketing activity to the financial goals of your business to ensure productivity. This becomes a working document, reviewed every 4 weeks to ensure we remain agile and can tweak and change as necessary, but supported by an overarching strategic intent. Combined with our simple 5-step process, with each step having checks and balances, we are able to be agile whilst working to a core overarching strategy.
 
Marketing productivity + marketing agility + understanding your customers better than your competitors = business growth.
 
 
 

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