Urgent Message For CMOs Of Challenger Brands

We’ve all learned tough lessons over the past two months -- most oriented toward our health and well-being, but also about the health of our businesses. The core of those learnings is the impact a firm’s digital competence has on virtually every area of business, particularly marketing and customer service. 

So we’ve seen that some businesses have significant gaps in digital readiness, especially challenger brands that may be at a competitive disadvantage with digital investment and scale. Now is the time to reassess digital readiness -- particularly initiatives that make it easier for customers to do business with you.

If the world was already operating at a fast pace pre-pandemic, that speed of change has now hyper-accelerated. Businesses that once methodically looked at developing digital marketing strategies over annual phased approaches, must now develop initiatives in a fraction of that time, as in weeks, days or even hours. 



The good news is that speed to market can be an advantage for challenger brands, who have the ability to be more nimble than larger competitors.

As evidence of the immediate, almost overnight change, look no further than how swiftly organizations have migrated physical channels to online. Healthcare providers moved rapidly into telehealth, insurers into self-service claims assessment, and retailers into contactless shopping and delivery. Suddenly we are in a world where digital channels are the primary, sometimes only, customer-engagement method, often supported by AI.

If you felt your business was behind on the digital uptake pre-COVID-19, you may want to do a check-and-balance on the following right now:

  • Are digital marketing objectives linked closely to your company's growth opportunities?
  • Do you have a deep understanding of customer interactions with your brand/company, including mobile/social touchpoints?
  • Do you have technology that aggregates and stores customer/consumer data across all appropriate touchpoints?
  • Do you have in-house talent and/or partners available to quickly deliver best-in-class digital work?
  • What do you estimate the “data maturity” of your organization to be? (for example, how difficult is it to navigate company silos and/or technology landscape to deliver the big data necessary for marketing and customer service purposes?)
  • Do you have an agile test-and-learn strategy?
  • Do you have a nimble process for selecting the next CMS, CRM or marketing cloud platform?
  • Is your executive team well-versed in today’s digital landscape?

Keep in mind these are questions you were hopefully working on before the new world we are now operating in. Only now there is a special urgency to getting the right answers and quickly mobilizing around each of these areas to accelerate digital readiness.

Data analytics is important to deliver on digital marketing strategies and customer service excellence. How you deal with large amounts of data in a rapidly evolving landscape and make swift, accurate course corrections will drive marketing effectiveness and levels of customer satisfaction.

As a challenger brand, use agility and flexibility to move quickly in accelerating digital prowess. Acting boldly now, including instituting a test-and-learn marketing mindset, will provide the best chance of engaging consumers and keeping them happy.

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