The pressure of 2020 has created a diamond in marketing strategy: the power of choice.
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We all miss doing business face-to-face. Rubbing shoulders, schmoozing, pressing the flesh. The pixel version of live marketing (be it events, exhibitions or expos) can’t touch the buzz of face-to-face experiences in these sorts of business environments. Seeing people’s reactions in real-time, knowing when it’s time to start closing the deal, the clinking of glasses and high five celebrations at the end of a productive day – all of this doesn’t translate to digital (just yet).
This year has shown we can get the job done, even with pandemic side effects such as half-work-half-pyjama Zoom dress codes and vying for the attention of our customers whilst they take up teaching roles in their homes. In recent months, our business has had plenty of impressive client wins, and our service capabilities have grown exponentially; we now have enviable credentials in both digital and virtual marketing strategies too, across both the B2C and B2B spectrum. At Because, we’ve embraced the change of 2020, as we believe the best brands are those with change intertwined in their DNA; ones that are continually evolving and are never afraid to try. They’re like Swiss Army Knives, evolved from one primary function, but now equipped with specialist tools to handle any marketing challenges.
But we have agreed as a team that it’s still more fun ‘doing business’ in the real world. Starting the day by dressing sharply and heading off to set the business world alight with a coffee in our hand and a confident lean, just feels good. So does ending the day by collapsing bone-weary into a chair, but content with new ideas ignited and head brimming with creative prospects. These days the pandemic workday has also spread like beetroot juice into our non-work lives, and there’s no longer a clear distinction between our professional and personal lives (and, we miss this).
But it’s not all doom and zoom fatigue though; there’s plenty to celebrate too. Pixel events (as we tend to call them) means brands get more ‘bang for the buck’, less valuable time is wasted commuting, we’re minimising our carbon footprints, and for those at a higher risk of Covid, it’s much safer to stay at home.
However, Covid will go away. And when it does, what do we expect to see from both B2B and B2C brands alike? Brands have recognised the need to behave in a ‘human’ way, and to create the human interactions we now realise consumers and customers want, and after lockdown, crave. Brands also, however, must continue to strive forwards, finding smart ways to make real connections in a digital world too. We’re skipping buzz words like ‘pivoting’ and the ‘new normal’, and we’re betting our money and time on one yardstick, one guiding principle to navigate the future stormy seas of business: the power of choice. Multidimensional marketing (MDM) offers just that, and you’ll be hearing a great deal about it from us in 2021. It’s an integrated approach with the same marketing message but delivered across different dimensions simultaneously: live, digital and virtual. These experiences will seamlessly integrate like a golden thread, and it will offer audiences a way to engage with a brand that works best for them, on their terms. Here are the lessons we have learnt so far about this new MDM model.
1. Bolt-on options will never work.
Brands cannot survive by offering one of the three dimensions as an afterthought. All the options need equal attention at the outset, and in the new multidimensional marketing language of success, the best marketing solutions are a seamless fusion of all three. Nothing can be treated as a less-favourite step-sibling: this multi-pronged focus needs to be conceptualised right from the first client coffee and scribble session. You need to focus on the goal, which is your consumer or client’s attention, whether it’s through a live conference or streaming into their living room. The experience has to be stellar, no matter what the channel or medium.
2. There are no more physical limits or borders.
Through innovative multidimensional campaigns, events and experiences can now have unlimited numbers, can be scaled quickly and easily, and you can cross countries and cultures. Time zones aren’t a problem either – savvy planners can schedule sessions or offer pre-recorded content to make campaigns sing from the same sheet, no matter where you are in the world. So, brands can potentially spend less, but in doing so also perhaps think BIGGER!
3. Choice is the new marketing royalty.
Clients and customers are engaging with brands on their terms. They will either choose to join the live event in person, or to follow the digital parallel experience. They decide on how and when they interact with the brands, and increasingly, they’re also expecting personalisation – and that’s beyond simply putting their name in the header of an email. They want to be able to choose what they want from a brand experience, and how they want to experience it, and they want to feel like they’re being heard. The event needs to feel as it was designed specifically with their requirements in mind, as bespoke services and customised content are a big part of the digital-powered future.
No matter what happens over the next twelve months, we can all agree on one thing: brands will need an agency partner that’s well versed in creating connections across all dimensions. A marketing specialist that builds brand love, and that can handle change like a chameleon. The good news? You’re looking at one.