Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Unpeeling the onion of complexity: marketing directors must simplify the industry to deliver growth

By Lars Lehne, Global CEO, Incubeta

It might seem like there isn’t a great deal connecting the marketing industry to an onion. Except both have layers that must be unpicked to understand their core and today’s marketing ecosystem is increasingly layered and complex.

Changing privacy regulations, digital transformation, shifting customer demographics, legacy infrastructure and rising costs are all layers putting marketers under pressure. In fact, working out how to unpeel the layers of that marketing onion has been a problem the industry has been trying to get to grips with for decades.

As far back as 2003, 92% of marketers believed marketing had become too complicated thanks to the changing complexity of consumers’ lives. That has only intensified in the two decades since. Two recessions, a pandemic, the advent of smartphones, social media and the ecommerce revolution has seen consumer behavior change dramatically, bringing yet another layer of intricacy to the industry.

Despite all that change, brands today still don’t have the right operating model for the shifting landscape. Today’s marketing directors are overwhelmed as they try to deliver growth and reach the right consumers at the right time. It’s no wonder that 63% of marketers feel they are under extreme pressure to deliver revenue growth.

To keep ahead of these changes, you need to identify the different layers blocking your path to success.

The outer layers: complexities of the consumer

Understanding consumer challenges is the first step in refining your marketing strategy. It has become tougher than ever to understand consumer behavior and their purchase journeys.

Adapt your data approach by introducing new technologies, such as augmented reality tools, which can provide you with new granular first-party data streams, as well as offering a more interactive experience for the consumer.

94% of Gen Z are frequently using multiple screens, meaning brands have to stand out and guarantee a seamless approach to media to grab the attention of increasingly distracted users. In one example of doing just that, the airline Transavia increased its media conversion rate by 187% through Seamless Creative, a proprietary technology designed to create bespoke creative customization that quickly adjusts images, headlines, taglines, and copy at scale tailored by the user’s location and destination.

The inner layers: complexities in the industry

With increased digital interactions, billions of people face several ‘moments that matter’, shaping their decisions. Marketers must take action to win these moments which in turn create ‘signals’ both contextual and intent-driven. Using both signals together will allow your marketing team to reach out to your consumers with highly targeted content that is more likely to convert.

With a surge in ecommerce, there is also a growing expectation for more personalized customer experiences. A McKinsey study shows that 71% of consumers now expect personalization in their interactions with businesses, and 76% are frustrated if they don’t receive it. For the first time, real personalization opens the door to incredible new opportunities for customer engagement. But it will need to be dealt with intelligently to ensure personalization is performed effectively.

Marketers must also ensure they are prepared for the changes to privacy regulations, removal of cookies, and the sunsetting of Universal Analytics. Data compliance issues can have devastating consequences, with regulators allowing just 14 days to turn around any non-compliance. This will not only place a renewed reliance on first-party data and data sharing but will also require more focused advertising strategies.

The core: complexities of the marketing team

Unsurprisingly, at the core of the marketing onion, is the marketing team. Complex campaigns and teams require integration, to allow for skills, resources, savings, and big ideas to be shared. If creative teams are separate, then their knowledge, insights, and talents are kept separate as well.

Your team must also unify its approach with other teams – particularly IT and sales to develop collaboration among key players, ultimately driving your growth.

Embracing the whole onion

Marketing as an industry is developing rapidly and, as such, it’s important for marketers to remain resilient, keep on top of changing developments and adapt their strategies to suit.

Breaking down the complexity of marketing and peeling back one layer at a time can help to identify focus areas to build a response. Use your experience to make the right decisions.

This, alongside the unification of different teams within your organization, can provide clarity – helping to achieve goals and deliver standout growth to your organization in a changing world.