Where Do We Go From Here? Examining Our New Reality

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted nearly every profession and created new necessities. For marketers, it’s made us more agile and far quicker. We need to stick with new ways of working and thinking, remove the barriers that were restricting us, and deliver marketing that is more authentic and personal. 

We face a tremendous opportunity to recreate our profession.  Research shows that customers engage with customized content, and 80% will only engage with brands who deliver it. Yet fewer than 10% of companies feel they are personalizing the conversation as well as they could be.  

Why the gap — and how has it changed? It takes time for people to adapt to new things, like the platforms and channels we have had at our disposal. Right now that adoption cycle is speeding up, and it’s become clear that we cannot do today’s job with yesterday’s tools. 

Necessities Drive Innovation

Marketers needed a nudge to drive innovation by knocking down barriers. Challenges -- such as long timelines between idea and deliverable and rigid infrastructure --had been holding back great ideas and leading us down paths of least resistance. 



We couldn’t have imagined a WFH reality, where virtually everyone who can work from home does, where we all shifted gears and ran with new ideas when the old ones didn’t work -- and did it all lightning-fast. 

Nearly every industry created new norms and delivered authentic work:

  • When doctors couldn’t see patients in their offices, they relied on telemedicine. According to Frost and Sullivan, the use of telehealth services has increased by 50%  nationwide since the start of the pandemic, and virtual interactions could reach nearly 1 billion by the end of 2020.
  • Gyms and trainers turned to streaming exercise classes, reaching loyal customers and creating new ones.
  • Online education delivery changed, from K to college and beyond. 
  • Brands started sounding authentic and heartfelt, delivering real value in real time. For example, one healthcare company’s ads showed doctors answering coronavirus questions; Anheuser-Busch partnered with the American Red Cross to create One Team. 

Emerging Technology Will Continue to Accelerate the Curve and Drive Momentum 

As we transition into our new normal, technology will smooth our paths and help us continue to work, physically connected or not:

  • 5G Connections -- The technology is already rolling out, offering far faster Internet speeds; accommodating more devices, including smart IoT devices that have become powerful outlets for marketers; and improving latency to provide more enjoyable experiences.
  • Quantum computing -- Massive computing power is driving AI and automation to become mainstays in many industries, marketing included. We’ll continue to see significant advancements in quantum, providing sophisticated intelligence to better predict our outcomes.

It’s the Right Time for a Redo

While this crisis has had devastating impacts, it has sparked innovation and presented opportunities. Marketers can leverage them to:

  • Rethink structures of teams, workplaces, and workflows to maximize our abilities and effectiveness.
  • Remove barriers that impeded our creativity, including geography and time.
  • Re-engineer for speed. 
  • Reimagine marketing as a value exchange. 

Marketers can exceed new consumer expectations, importing new channels and changing the tone to deliver a two-way conversation that provides true value. WFH has proven that we’re up to a challenge.

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