With revenues in the toilet, enforced redundancies looming, all manner of businesses having no option but to become fiscally tighter, so, what is the impact on companies who pre-Covid relied on heavy outbound marketing and digital advertising?
The threat of the future has been upon us for some time. If it’s taken these trying circumstances and jarring cutbacks in media spend to recognize the flaws of this traditional model, it may be too late for a media agency to save its business.
It’s no coincidence that people were already turning towards ad-blockers and premium, ad-free platforms. Blasting people with targeted advertising can lead to short-term results, but often at the expense of long-term brand building.
Then came Covid!
There appears to be a view held in ad land that it was this crisis that created the need for change and innovation. I say that's utter nonsense, and here's why.
Pre-Covid people were constantly bombarded with digital junk, triggering ad fatigue and banner blindness.
Everywhere we went, we were greeted by unwarranted ads -- tags and cookies follow us from place to place -- insisting we buy things we’ve already bought or have no intention of buying.
A surplus of bad advertising was definitely overpopulating people’s screens and feeds. And Just like the multi-channel retail sector, rationalisation within the media buying industry was already leading towards significant staff reductions and a return to a more narrow range of services.
Pre-Covid there have been a number of accelerators for this like the gradual growth in social platforms along with the programmatic fraud ridden ad tech industry.
Over time this was also being impacted with companies taking control of a lot of those digital services in-house.
I often see the same thing with organisations where the agency has encouraged them to have an outsourced approach to social media, this is because the strategic value is yet to be unlocked and understood by the leadership team.
If you operate in B2B Gartner and Forrester research now tells us that antiquated 'old school' buying process has fundamentally changed beyond all recognition. In fact Covid has simply accelerated the fact that today the entire 'buying process' has altered, and inertia sits even more with the vendors prospects than ever before.
The key triggers for this change have been altered not just by Covid, but by the key changes in consumer behaviour, because there ability to interact with a brand, company, and it's employees today is all driven by social media.
Today's socially savvy, digitally connected prospect is using social platforms to perform their due diligence in stealth mode.
They no longer go to your website as the first port of destination to invite you in to 'pitch', circa 68% of that due diligence is being done prior to any direct contact being made with a potential vendor.
Due to the free to use, and accessibility of social media in the world of B2B there are now 8-10 internal stakeholders involved in that due diligence, they can see what you your employees are really like, they can evidence what your current customers are saying about you, and they can also benchmark you against the same things with your competitors.
If your an organisation that still thinks that 'Social Media' belongs to marketing, the guy with the beard, or the girl with the tattoo, or is just another way to 'advertise and promote' your brand then you're in for a shock my friend.
Customer experience (CX) continues to lead digital transformation investments, employee experience and organizational culture are also rising in importance to empower and accelerate change, growth, and innovation.