Blog by White Marble Marketing’s CEO and Founder, Twink Field
I’m going to come clean. I’ve always found those pieces about how ‘the only constant is change’ really clichéd and unimaginative.
As a small business of 20+ marketers, based in London and Boston, in full growth mode a little over a month ago (is that all it is?), we’ve always had to be both highly adaptable and highly attuned to our clients’ needs. I think this is just part of doing business in this day and age.
And with that age now being under Covid-19 lockdown? It’s not quite the case that ‘we’ll be led by the science’, but at White Marble we are certainly adjusting (and readjusting) based on the inputs. Never before have we needed to be so acute in our hearing and so fleet of foot to market sentiment and client intelligence.
This blog really is to share a bit of what we are hearing from our ever-loyal clients (thank you), as much as the wider White Marble team (who I’ve never been more proud of). How are things changing given our remote working structure and investment managers’ increased dependency on marketing to deliver the full client experience? There are five main themes:
A clamour to digital content
Following the initial rush to get Covid-19 responses and updates out to clients, there is a recentring by marketing teams back to ongoing and regular editorial content. With all comms now being pushed through digital channels, you can’t afford to let your content drift. Clients that are achieving cut-through are very clear on where they have credibility to have an opinion. This opinion is relevant to genuine client needs rather than product push and in terms of production value: it is better being more personable than it is polished. Relevance, clarity and brevity remain key.
Real alignment between sales and marketing
Age-old barriers between sales and marketing are being broken down. We have heard wonderful stories of how these two teams are now working together better than ever in this remote world. Whether or not it is the breaking down of two traditional tribes outside the office environment, it is an exciting and welcome development. Alignment between these teams means the clients’ experience with the business is much more likely to be consistent, impactful and memorable.
Budgets are doubling down on customer experience
Not entirely unrelated to the previous point, but clearly there are no face-to-face industry events. Budgets that would normally have been spent on placing brands alongside sports, galleries and theatres are being returned. These have always been the big-ticket items in annual marketing expenditure. Rather than just absorb them back in the business, many clients are repurposing – at least partially – some of this budget to improve the end-to-end digital journey that target audiences have with their companies. This means an interrogation of the CRM, identifying those key personas and mapping personalised journeys to each.
Investment in the tools
In this highly competitive landscape of busy content and digital teams, there is renewed focus on understanding the effectiveness of our increased marketing activity. What’s working, what’s not?
How does that inform the strategy for the next client email or social post? Measurement, benchmarking and data analysis are back at the forefront of people’s minds, and that means finding the tools that address the gaps in their reporting of spend, activity and effectiveness. We are delighted to see greater recognition of the importance of industry benchmarks, rather than just reporting against internal statistics month to month. We believe this gives context on true out- (or under-) performance.
Living up to your values
It is under abnormal levels of stress that we see how true we are to the corporate values we have been extolling. It is now that we find out how deeply held these beliefs are. Are they playing out in our day-to-day behaviours? Our ability to showcase our values in action – the kind of organisation we really are when stripped bare – will determine our ability to retain (or acquire) talent in our business.
I am acutely aware of my responsibility in this. How the reactions or inactions, the big gestures or small touches are seen and interpreted. Do our clients – and my team – witness our shared values in my behaviour? Going beyond expectations, rolling our sleeves up, empowering through trust, thinking fearlessly (whilst staying humble) and being refreshingly straightforward? It has never been more important to lead, inspire and corral clients and internal teams alike.
On a personal level, I am inspired by the marketing heads I’ve observed who are really taking a lead in their businesses. These leaders are showing the capability of well-designed marketing plans and manage to galvanise their team behind their strategy. It is the day for marketing to show its true strategic strength and I’m excited to see it being seized by so many.