Amelia Evans
Amelia Evans 9 April 2021

Marketing Creativity – How to Move Forward During a Pandemic and Beyond

It’s all well and good to say ‘marketers need to be creative and stay agile’ – but how can they do this? In this article, we hope to explain that through embracing creativity, your brand can prosper during the pandemic and beyond.

In times of economic crisis, it’s the businesses that are willing to be agile and creative that emerge victorious. This Forbes article from 2009 shows that Netflix actually introduced its streaming service during the 2008 financial crisis. The article compares the now (almost) defunct Blockbuster brand with Netflix’s forward-thinking model when it says:

‘Netflix, on the other hand, has exceptional growth prospects as it ventures into streaming movies and games over the Internet.’

We all know the rest is history.

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has transformed the marketing landscape – in fact, 99designs discovered in September that a staggering 74% of marketers had been working from home since March.

How then, has an industry so focused on collaboration for creativity, managed to thrive?

How Have Marketers Remained Agile and Creative During the Pandemic?

  • Switched to an in-house team
  • Focused on the customer
  • Utilised tech

Let’s dig a little deeper into these topics and discover how the marketing arm of your business can embrace creativity to flourish during challenging times.

In-House Marketing

Business as usual has certainly been affected by Covid-19. However, one trend that seems to be assisting brand marketing is in-housing. Creative management platform, Bannerflow, release an annual ‘State of In-housing’ report. Their 2021 study shows that 58% of leading marketers have noticed an increase in creativity among their in-house teams.

The report shows that marketers feel in-housing will be essential to the industry as we move through 2021 and beyond. The good news? In-house marketing is experiencing a continued rise in popularity. Of those polled, 73% stated they’d moved elements of their digital marketing efforts in-house.

Of course, many things contribute to the ability to be creative. Having more time, encouraging more collaboration or having increased budget can be huge drivers for success in this area.

From the Bannerflow report, 62% said in-housing will allow for more efficient remote working this year, while 58% think it could save on external costs. According to 65% of respondents, cross team collaboration is also up.

As a result, 57% said in-house marketing could further increase creativity within their teams.

The exciting thing for in-housing is that it’s flexible – and as the concept of in-house marketing evolves, so does the framework. Brands are selecting a way of working that suits their business. Some are opting for a completely in-house marketing agency model and others are operating via a more traditional method while more brands are heading towards a fresh, hybrid approach.

Customer Focus

Focusing on the needs of the customer has become increasingly prominent. Highlighting the imperative nature of this, Marketing Week’s annual CX50 list shows the top 50 companies they consider to be champions of customer experience. The importance of customer experience has never been more pressing than it has during the pandemic, however.

Executives from the 2020 CX50 list even told Marketing Week that their customer-focused approach ensured they were able to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19 far quicker. As a result, their dedication to the customer shone through, with the article highlighting:

‘Several reported net promoter score (NPS) increases, even when their service was impacted by lockdown, because of their workforce’s ability to display empathy and flexibility.’

As 2020 went on, we saw more brands hold webinars and events via social media and video calling platforms, creating online communities and offering virtual experiences.

Brands that have committed to focusing on their customers, being agile and adaptive have risen above the competition and will continue to do so post-pandemic.

Utilising Tech

Two things that go hand in hand are agility and tech – utilising technology can easily enable any brand to seamlessly focus on the customer. Being on the pulse means you can quickly adapt to changes in circumstance and still service clients and customers to the best of your ability.

On this subject, the concept of digital transformation has been gathering more attention for a few years now, but the pandemic thrust it into the spotlight as a truly hot topic. With careful planning and implementation, any business can transform their business to be true players in the digital space.

This can create unquestionable enhancement capabilities for streamlining processes and increasing what you can achieve with your creative marketing efforts.

More and more, there’s technology available to facilitate fantastic customer experience – from previously mentioned online platforms, to powerful tech that can optimise personalised advertisements.

What works for one business model doesn’t always work for another and if you’re making big business decisions, such as restructuring or digital transformation, there’s lots to consider.

However, we hope that this article has given you the confidence – and inspiration – to up your marketing creativity and embrace the challenges of the pandemic, and a post-pandemic, landscape.

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