Frost & Sullivan’s Brand and Demand Solutions recently hosted its first UnWebinar, Demand Generation in 2021: A Year of Discoveries and Opportunities. The fun and fast-moving event included speed rounds and Q&A sessions with marketing executives across industries. Although there were tons of insights and take-aways shared, we’ve narrowed it down to five key ideas and actionable strategies that can help you succeed during this challenging and transitional time:
1. Marketing is not just a department, it’s a mindset
Everyone who works for your organization can and should be a marketer, especially today. As one leader shared, they recently brought in team members from other departments with complementary skill sets for marketing initiatives. Not only are colleagues enjoying the experience, marketing returns have improved. It pays to expand your marketing mindset and tap other organizational talent; don’t be afraid to bring in IT pros or engineers to help you pull off a seamless virtual event, for instance. It’s okay, and sometimes necessary, to recruit sales colleagues, strategists and others to get the marketing job done right.
2. Put together an “everyone can play all the positions” marketing team
Since many established sales and marketing programs and events have been upended and moved to a primarily digital/virtual landscape, the marketing game looks different and will continue to evolve. To meet these ongoing changes, you need a marketing team that’s agile and flexible; one where everyone brings a diverse skill set and can pivot to different positions when needed. It’s also critical for team members to continue to develop new skills, especially digital ones.
3. Create a “lean forward” marketing experience
The much-discussed zoom fatigue phenomenon is real. Many experts believe our brains were not designed to stare at a digital screen for as long as we have been lately. To combat this, marketers are advised to keep events as short and sweet as possible, and to use engagement tools and truly differentiated content to keep participants interested and coming back. It’s worth the time and research to deliver the most outstanding content you can in the best channel for your audience. Try leveraging video, humor and relevant data to set the stage for an ongoing dialogue that keeps customers “leaning forward” to see what’s coming next.
4. A direct, “un-market-y” approach and creativity work right now
One leading marketer commented that they had success with a decidedly “un-marketing-y” and sincere approach. They advocated for bringing customers, partners and experts into the marketing mix with a straightforward message to achieve this. Let your community tell true stories and leverage the Voice of the Customer (VoC) whenever you can.
When it comes to getting creative, consider seeking out your sales teams for cool ideas, especially for events. Inviting prospects and customers to an outdoor gathering worked well for one organization. Virtual one-on-one lunches or afternoon breaks were also recommended, especially for ABM initiatives.
5. Content is still king
As Gary Robbins, Senior Partner, Brand & Demand Solutions, Frost & Sullivan, noted, content is still driving the best marketing results at his organization. Several other marketing leaders concurred, and reminded listeners that good content can also be delivered via video or podcasts. Understanding your prospects’ and customers’ pain points is always an important part of content marketing. And remember to account for generational channel preferences. Ask: would your target prefer to watch or listen to your content? Would an infographic work best? Leverage channels that your prospect community engages in. Personalization is key.
2021 is already shaping up to be a year of unprecedented discoveries and opportunities. To meet this reality, smart marketers will assemble the best, most agile, team they can, remain unafraid to try new things (like an UnWebinar) and stay connected to their customers, whatever the future brings.