Next to supply chain, marketing is most affected due to the pandemic. Initially, marketers played their cards close to their chests, expecting the pandemic to be a short term thing. But once they realized that it was here to stay for a while, most of them, including the ones who were digitally naïve, were forced to transform the way they did marketing.
According to Statista, 64% of US participants said that they had accelerated their digital transformation efforts tremendously. So much so, that the pandemic was called the transformation catalyst or the transformation accelerator.
Over the past several months, several brands have talked about different things they did as part of their marketing transformation initiative. For some, it was about building the capability to reach wider audiences at scale. For others, it was about ramping up to increase the frequency of communication with their customers. Some others focused on being able to create complex customer journeys that involved multiple channels. Some channeled their efforts towards modernizing the entire marketing technology stack altogether and streamlining the process. And so on.
Based on this, one can see that the scope of marketing transformation is clearly far-ranging. That being the case, how then can brands claim to have transformed their marketing by doing only one or just a few of these things? Is there an accepted way to measure the transformation? Is there even a universal framework or definition for marketing transformation? Sadly, no.
In this article, we aim to simplify the measurement of marketing transformation.
Marketing transformation has to be viewed from both the lenses of the marketer and the audience. For marketers, it is all about transforming the mechanics of how marketing is done. For audiences, it is all about the communication they receive from the brand and the message they “perceive”. “Perceive” is the key word here. It is not about some random messaging that they see on an ad at some point. This is the perception the audience has, that is based on all the cumulative messages they receive from the brand.
So how does perception, a vague metric in itself, clarify something as ambiguous as marketing transformation? But it does and here’s how.
Perception of the before and the after states are clearly measurable. What matters is knowing what to measure.
True marketing transformation is possible if you are able to evoke the following from the audience -
- Empathy – The brand does not see me as a money-milking machine. They see me as a human with feelings and distinct needs.
- Availability and assurance – I can easily connect with the brand and get my issues sorted out without any hassle
- Consistency – The brand no longer confuses me by asking me to do conflicting things at the same time
- Relevance – The brand doesn’t just tell me what to do. It gives me relevant reasons and helps me understand why I should do it.
- Respecting preferences – The brand is equipped to deal with my explicit and implied needs
Consumer perception can be measured directly or indirectly through surrogate metrics. By tracking the before and the after state of each of the above, you can measure and validate how well your marketing transformation efforts are doing.
In the second part of this article, we dig deeper into why these perceptions are important, how perceptions of likely and existing customers can be improved, and the concrete metrics that can be used to measure each.