What every marketer should refocus on in challenging times

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It’s going to be another tough year. It feels like everything is constantly changing… again. Headwinds, my CEO at one of the companies I used to work at would call it, before announcing another set of cautious statements about our growth trajectory. Goodness, we do have some this year don’t we? Slow growth, general inflation, even higher media inflation, low consumer confidence, high taxation, cuts in the real income of most households, and in business the continued pressure of short-term commercial thinking and cash preservation. All the enemies of investing in long-term growth and a commitment to develop ambitious multi-year business plans. But what does this mean for marketing and marketers?

My answer has been to refocus on the 3Cs to deliver effective marketing leadership in my organisation. Perhaps they will help you too.

Customer strategy

Putting the customer at the heart of any marketing approach is crucial. What do they expect? What are they getting today? How can we close that gap with our proposition? How do we make our brands and products easy to find and easy to buy? Can we use experience and superior customer service as a differentiator? What role can price play in gaining more profitable volume?

In my experience businesses that address these questions stop obsessing over making their products a tiny bit better and optimising their operations.

Instead they perform the kind of commercial judo that leads to increased market share and pricing power. Leveraging all of the 4Ps, these rare businesses build and distribute propositions tailored to the needs of their customers to unlock the biggest value pools.

Not all marketers or marketing departments are in a position to action this kind of change, but they will have agency to develop a communications and brand plan that can elevate their part of the mix, while inspiring and influencing others to change. Increasingly this requires balancing short-term activation marketing at the bottom of the…


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