Why the 2020s Are the “Agility Decade” and How Marketers Can Adapt

Derek Andersen Copywriter, DialogTech

COVID-19 has fundamentally altered today’s business landscape and nearly every aspect of our lives. With consumer behavior rapidly changing, marketers need to adapt.

In this installment of our Embracing Evolution webinar series, our SVP of Marketing Viji Davis and VP of Marketing Dave McAnally sat down with Perry Marshall, online marketing guru and author of the best-selling book 80/20 Sales and Marketing, to discuss how marketers can identify new opportunities and embrace this hyper-evolutionary time.

In addition to sharing “crystal balls” into the future of marketing, our speakers also discussed the new hobbies they’ve taken up since quarantine started. Perry indulged his inner audio geek and built his own open-back speakers. Dave has taken up birdwatching with his daughter — they’ve spotted goldfinches, blue jays, and robins nesting in their yard. Viji is enjoying the simple pleasure of McDonald’s strawberry shakes and fries.

Check out the full conversation, Evolving Your Business in the Wake of a Crisis, for all of Perry, Dave, and Viji’s insights. And for all of the top takeaways from the on-demand webinar, read on.

Why the 2020s Are the “Agility Decade”

Perry predicted back in December that the 2020s would be the “agility decade.” It didn’t take long to see his prediction come to fruition.

In the twenty-first century, everything is interconnected — from cell phones to the internet to international travel. According to Perry, this interconnectedness makes our world less stable — one microscopic event on the other side of the world can now have a global ripple effect. COVID-19 is the perfect example of this trend in action.

These destabilizing events can be almost impossible to predict. As a marketer, your best bet is to be prepared for change, be agile when it comes about, and quickly adapt your strategy.

Perry Marshall's Quote: “There is going to be more disruption than you can possibly predict in this decade. You can’t waste your time grieving about whatever the world was yesterday — you need to get over yourself and move on to the next day. If you’re stuck in 1986, God help you.”

How Should Marketers Think About Their Data in the Agility Decade

Dave shared that, with so much data at our fingertips, it’s easy for today’s marketer to overreact and make knee-jerk decisions. An example was when brands pulled their media budgets when COVID-19 broke out. Marketers who weren’t so hasty — who instead kept their ads running — gained a huge advantage in this environment. Prices immediately dropped and they were able to get more placements for their investments.

To improve decision-making, marketers should act on first-party data from CRMs, web analytics, and inbound phone calls, all of which are far more reliable indicators than third-party data.

Perry chimed in that the cost of advertising online has dropped 20-40% and Facebook advertising is the cheapest it’s been in 5-7 years. But, he added the caveat that you cannot just throw money at ads. You need to watch your numbers, measure your ROI, and be strategic.

Perry’s “Rack the Shotgun” Philosophy

It’s hard to do justice to the anecdote Perry shares here. Viji called it “a mash-up of Breaking Bad, Bloodline, and Narcos all in one.” We recommend watching it for yourself:

“Racking the shotgun” boils down to sending a signal to your audience and seeing who responds to it. You can then weed out those who didn’t show interest and focus your marketing efforts on those who did.

How Can Marketers Adapt to Changes in Consumer Demand?

Perry says there’s no quick fix or “trick” that can help you in times of crisis. People do business with people they trust and you need to earn your customers’ trust by connecting with them authentically.

Perry Marshall's Quote: ”There is no marketing ‘trick’ that will save you in a crisis. People do business with people they trust, period.”

Earn that trust by having conversations with your customers and understanding their pain points. He recommends reaching out to your customers and saying “we’re trying to figure this thing out just like you are, talk to me.” If you can provide value to them during that conversation, they’ll see you as a partner and will want your assistance moving forward. This may not be in the same capacity you worked with them before, but you need to be flexible and adapt to their needs.

Dave emphasized that during a crisis like COVID-19, brands have to switch from having many personas to having just one: a helper. In the crowded digital landscape, authenticity is often the best way to cut through the noise. You have to understand what your customers need in this difficult time and how you can deliver it to them.

Dave McAnally's Quote: “Brands need to go beyond their products and think about what they represent to customers.”

Dave shared the example of a DialogTech customer in the senior care space who used call analytics to learn common questions their callers were voicing during COVID-19. They identified that callers were frequently asking for “grocery delivery” — a niche service they only offered to select customers. But they quickly pivoted and made this one of their primary offerings and promoted it heavily, fulfilling an important customer need and driving additional revenue in the process.

How Is Measuring Marketing Success Going to Change as a Result of COVID-19?

Dave says the KPIs marketers are measuring won’t change much, but brands do need to be more mindful of how they can measure customer engagement. Quantifying the lifetime value of the customer and the strength of your relationship with them is critical, so you can build long-term revenue streams that will weather crises.

Perry added that, by his estimate, 85-90% of marketers don’t have their sales funnels properly attributed. This makes it difficult to properly adjust your marketing campaigns in times of crisis. He recommends having these important fundamentals in order before you tackle anything more complex.

Perry Marshall's Quote: “If you’re flying a plane and your instruments are right, you’re not going to smack into the side of a mountain. If they’re wrong, you almost certainly will, sooner or later. One of the most important flying instruments for marketers is attribution.”

For more insights on how marketers can adapt their marketing strategies for the agility decade, watch the on-demand video, Evolving Your Business in the Wake of a Crisis.

To learn best practices for driving more appointments and customers during the COVID-19 recovery, download our eBook, Driving Appointment Calls From Paid Search After COVID-19.

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