Rethinking Marketing And The Creative Process Post-Pandemic

Rethinking Marketing And The Creative Process Post-Pandemic

by Manik Seth and Aashish Chandorkar - Wednesday, January 6, 2021 10:29 AM IST
Rethinking Marketing And The Creative Process Post-Pandemicmarketing will now change post-2020.
  • As the world continues to change rapidly, the overall marketing content process is going to come under heavy disruption in the post-2020 era.

Marketing mix and creatives are at the heart of every marketers’ playbook. And 2020 has really tilted the scales in favour of digital channels.

It's not something that will go away; consumption of digital content has increased forever.

Most marketers already knew digital was important. And the rhythm of operating campaigns on digital channels in tandem with traditional was well set for most large brands.

Marketing teams were experimenting with as much innovation as they could handle. The creatives — content which needs to be developed for all channels — had a process that was in a recognisable, albeit hassled steady-state.

Then regrettably, the pandemic happened, and all semblance of normalcy of marketing strategy were thrown out of the window instantly. In the months that followed, we all made some immediate and many gradual changes to our lives.

From a marketer's standpoint, the changes meant big changes to how people consume and interact with their brand.

A big theme that emerged in many virtual conferences this year, was that most successful companies were able to be agile and respond quickly with changed marketing messages.

Even with the time needed for the process to generate fresh branding messages, most successful brands got back on track within three weeks of the start of the pandemic.

This meant executing both the evolving mix and refined branding well.

The biggest hurdles also come from both those veins. For the mix, trying to figure out where attention is shifting in a rapidly evolving day-to-day situation.

For the branding, picking messages that are relevant and the time needed to generate fresh creatives that match them.

Data analytics, digital content and collaboration tools were the main reason brands were able to be agile. But we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

As the world continues to change rapidly, the overall marketing content process is going to come under heavy disruption in the post-2020 era.

Firstly, relevance beats reach hands down now. Most consumers are vastly overexposed. This was already true before March 2020, but the step change in time spent online meant every marketer pivoted hard towards digital channels.

Many smaller and low-tech companies took digital seriously for the first time as well.

With all this ongoing battle for attention, the ability to run scores of highly contextualised micro-campaigns will win over a more reach-first approach. The best part is, that is a good trigger to vastly improve the returns on the money marketers do spend on buying media.

The more specific the parameters brands can set for each individual micro-campaign, the easier it is to ascertain what works and what doesn't work.

That combined with the agility with which lessons are learnt and acted upon, can help companies gather the right kind of attention for their needs.

Secondly, when it comes to the creation process, there are many ways in which technology empowers each step. From initial storyboard to post processing, digital tools reduce the effort and improve agility.

Generative tools are still in their infancy, but they are already helping chip at the skills, time and money required to produce quality content.

There's something to be said about coming to the right content to create as well.

The organisation culture is very important here. Fail fast, recover fast, is the only way to operate, where the number of ideas being tried simultaneously is high, the fine-tuning of what works is constant, and there is no shame in admitting what needs to stop.

Again, data tools will play a key role in informing decisions, shortening time to get feedback and improving insights obtained from it.

Lastly, the entire budget needs to be relooked. Most brands spend around 80 per cent of the budget on media buying, and around 20 per cent on content creation.

Standard "your mileage may vary" warnings apply of course.

For the process to have the abilities it will require in the evolved world, making good quality content fast will mean more budget needs to be made available to creatives creation.

Luckily the evolving mix plays well into this, as traditional channels were some of the most expensive to buy media space.

The media purchase process is already depending heavily on data and technology to make investment decisions, and its efficiency and immediacy will continue to improve to drive the most impact.

The net impact would be to drive media-to-content-spend ratio towards something more akin to 1:1 in the medium term.

Like all aspects of businesses, marketing will see a deep change coming out of the pandemic as well.

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