July 10, 2020
5 Hallmarks for Winning in the Crisis
By Tom Kaneshige
Through global research on shifting consumer sentiment, McKinsey & Company has identified five hallmarks among companies that are really strengthening their position through this crisis. Brian Gregg, senior partner at McKinsey & Company, Americas leader in the Marketing and Sales practice, describes them:
The first hallmark is the ability to be ambidextrous. You have to operate at two, if not three, speeds simultaneously — and do them well. There’s obviously the navigating the here and now, the day to day, the hour to hour speed. That’s a critical capability. CMOs need to make sure every customer and employee is safe as stores reopen. The next speed is to prepare one, two, three months ahead. How do you continue to win consumers in the recovery? And then there is the third speed: reimagining what life post-COVID is going to look like — the customer experiences to offer, the revenue streams to invest in, and the business model evolution itself.
The second hallmark is this idea of reimagining the business. Consumers tell us virtualization of products and service is not going away. The amount of digital media being consumed and the importance of digital touch points is likely going to stick. In fact, one of our big findings is that over half of consumers believe they will stick with some of the new brands and new digital journeys after the crisis. Therefore, now is the time for CMOs to reimagine the value proposition in this more virtual world.
The third hallmark is granularity. Marketers have always needed to be personalized, of course, but we are hitting a whole new level. For example, the importance of hyper-local has never been so strong. We’re seeing a new magnitude in sales variability from zip code to zip code, category to category, that is critical for marketers to understand. This variability is likely to remain true for some time given consumer uncertainty; marketers must be able to quickly identify and predict where demand is going to surge (and not). This is a unique opportunity to meet this demand with the right messaging, content and customer promise.
The fourth hallmark is adopting an agile operating model in this virtual context. We have talked a long time about agile marketing and the importance of being able to be where the consumer needs you to be at the right time, but how you pull that off in a virtual world is even more interesting. We are seeing some companies rewire their ways of working — viewing the virtual context as a “clean sheet” opportunity — rearchitecting media plans and thinking about reallocation of dollars across different messages and media channels.
The fifth hallmark is the concept of self-banked growth. Many companies are unclear on the near-term future of revenues and cash flow. And yet winning consumers and keeping them engaged and loyal isn’t free. Therefore, marketers need to consider how to self-bank their investment. We have seen marketing leaders achieve anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of efficiency across the marketing cost envelope, where reducing the spend does not have to affect the customer — and ultimately can self-bank growth investments.
About the Author
Tom Kaneshige is the Chief Content Officer at the CMO Council and editor of Growth Monitor. He creates all forms of digital thought leadership content that helps growth and revenue officers, line of business leaders, and chief marketers succeed in their rapidly evolving roles. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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