Take note: 5 back-to-school lessons for marketers
Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Mastercard and WFA President, shares five lessons to help marketers succeed and make the most of the rest of 2022 and beyond.
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The change of season and a fast-evolving landscape remind us that the only constant is change. From the rush of technology – think metaverse and Web3 – to the shifting geopolitical landscape, there are a multitude of forces that require our attention and action.
As marketers, staying ahead of the game requires a strong foundation and each of us can benefit from going “back-to-school” to reinforce fundamentals, reassess priorities and reaffirm purpose as we navigate a fast-paced environment. After all, being reactionary means you’re already too late.
Here are five reminders that will help marketers succeed and make the most of the rest of 2022:
Be educated – learn, learn, learn
We may not be returning to a classroom, but we should all be students. With two-dozen new and emerging technologies headed our way, it’s critical we understand the new data-driven capabilities shaping the future of marketing. Peoples’ needs and wants are rapidly evolving. Marketers need to know their audiences and the best ways to reach them. Take a course, attend lectures, and keep up with the latest news and trends. Educate yourself and your teams.
A company’s purpose should drive everything it does and gives your marketing strategy greater meaning and motivation beyond strictly maximizing shareholder value. Anchoring your brand to a philosophy also helps build trust with consumers. And as more and more people want brands to align with their values, being purpose-driven is a huge differentiator for companies.
After an unprecedented couple of years – from the global Covid-19 pandemic and now monkeypox to rising inflation and a polarizing political environment – one thing that remains certain is that we will continue to face crises. Marketers must be ready to pivot strategies, plans and tactics. Do yourself a favor: embed risk management into the marketing function to monitor, train and plan for potential headwinds. It’s not a matter of if there’s a crisis, but when, and you’ll want to ready.
Amplifying and advancing your company’s message are core functions of marketing. While it may be necessary to trim marketing budgets because of economic headwinds, brands should never go dark. It is important for a brand to assert its values and stay appropriately visible. Stay close to your customers and keep your brand top of mind.
Successful marketers today are backing up their creativity with a deep understanding of the dynamic forces impacting our function and harnessing new digital platforms to empower their teams and extend their reach. Experiment and don’t let fear of failure get in the way. Testing and learning fast will help build the creative muscles shaping the fifth paradigm of marketing.
As you take in this guidance, encourage your teams to do the same. Going back to basics doesn’t mean reverting back to status quo, but rather to examine, challenge and redefine it for today and tomorrow.
Regardless of what’s next, we know the world will continue to go through tectonic changes. Marketers bring great impact and contributions to drive our overall businesses and building a competitive advantage. Let’s seize the opportunity!