You can open a bank account and book a holiday in minutes, transfer funds globally and respond to customers in seconds. Yet, when it comes to creating a go-to-market campaign, we’re still doing the same thing we’ve done for decades. And it all just takes sooooo damn long. Maybe companies have gotten away with this go-slow approach in the past, but they will be missing an enormous opportunity if they carry on this way. A recent CMO Gartner Survey shows that 85% of customers are open to new digital offerings introduced during the pandemic and 84% have placed an increased value on digital experiences. The opportunity is clearly there to engage customers with new and innovative products and services, but that's only half the story. The other is how you get these innovative solutions to market faster. Much faster.
The need for Campaign Acceleration. Campaign and marketing acceleration can really help companies move quickly into new markets and new customer groups and will put everything in place to capture early market share rather than procrastinating for months. A digital campaign is especially effective as it will allow you to launch quickly and then test, learn and improve as you go. Digital advertising is surging in importance due to the COVID-19 disruption which is accelerating many organisations’ moves online. In 2020, investments in paid, owned and earned digital channels account for almost 80 per cent of multichannel budgets and 74% of CMOs report they will increase spending even further on digital advertising in 2021. Speed is essential but in a convoluted market, well targeted content that stands out and adds real value to your potential customer is also crucial. The key is getting the balance right.
Why does getting to market take so long? At Switch Creative we’ve all previously worked in large global agencies for many years and it’s clear that whether using in house marketing teams, an agency or a bit of both, it’s usually the process, communication, culture and a bit of politics that severely slow things down. The adage, ‘time is money’ is so true in these circumstances. Big corporates act as super tankers, either whittling away a new concept into something average. Or if they do manage to retain their USPs, can be pipped at the post by their more agile competitors thus losing ground and revenue. When you come to in-house teams, creating a marketing strategy for a new product or an innovative service offer should be the stuff of dreams. It’s a chance, as a marketing professional, to be involved in something important that could change the fortunes of your business.
But this can also be the start of a slow spiral to mediocrity. It normally begins with the team kick-off meeting. There’s always the risk of involving too many people - introductions can take 20 minutes alone! Size of team is important and keeping it to something manageable is key to not over complicate the moving parts. It’s always a surprise to us, as partners, when you turn up to a hastily organised kick-off and you spend a large percentage of the meeting trying to work out what the goals and motivations are. It seems to happen in the early stages, when senior stakeholders are trying to look for answers. Then you come to outsourcing and agency support. It’s common to bring in talent to strengthen your team and you may have a procurement team to help with an RFI and RFP processes. However, this process can take 4-8 weeks and sometimes many more months for the agency to negotiate and have their budgets approved.
Why agencies can slow you down. Once you’ve finally got yourself in place, there’s then the agency to deal with. Larger agencies will add layers and layers of complication to justify their fees. A brief is given and re-written. The planners will spend weeks deliberating and then the clients can spend more weeks deliberating their deliberations. The creatives will then be rushed to create content that is sent back and forth until a bland ‘designed by committee’ concept is slowly developed. Meanwhile the digital strategists have been waiting for content to create their audience profiles based on out of date and uninformed personas. The result of this laborious process inevitably is a campaign being launched months after the optimum time for impact with reduced media budgets and disjointed content provided ad hoc (if at all) for the differing needs of sales, marketing, partners and channels.
Are you ready to move quickly? There is of course uncertainty in the market right now and there are polarising opinions on what the future holds. Gartner data from a poll of CFOs showed that almost 60% are building scenario plans that include a second wave of the disease outbreak. Which is in contrast to the 73% of CMOs who expect the pandemics negative impact to be short lived. In light of this uncertainty and ever-changing demand, you need an agile and innovative partner that can help get your products and services to market quickly no matter what the situation.