BIMA Roundtable | A Marketing Model for the New Normal – with WP Engine

By Ant Boyle
24 Jun 2020

Last week we welcomed our friends at WP Engine to host a roundtable discussion around defining a marketing model for the ‘New Normal. Here, we round up how the roundtable examined the new models that press the reset button on what we think of as marketing, integration and collaboration.

Where does the CMO find themselves right now?

WP Engine kicked the morning off and identified three challenges on the CMO right now:

  1. Budgets are tight right now given the current situation, causing significant impact on CMO decisions.
  2. Resources are limited whether it be furloughed staff within internal teams and suppliers who you work with, or lack of access to important tools in offices in which are no longer feasible.
  3. Time to market has increased dramatically, with companies needing to talk with their managers right now, but with traditional channels to speak to customers no longer available, we need to be able to talk through new mediums whether it be for engagement purposes, contact between customers & your business, or an actual platform for buying & selling your product.

Where these challenges are very real, there have also been opportunities for businesses and brands  to reflect on what is & is not working right now. The group noted that where the pandemic has been a hammer blow for sales, the honest conversation between customer and business has essentially restarted relationships and made them stronger than ever before. This all leads to the overall feeling that the group had that a lot of people in marketing were slipping into the same routine and playing it safe and (as long as your business that is within the sectors that have been hit hardest) this period will result in a lot of people to sharpen up and learn new ways of working.

Does the traditional model of marketing fit today? 

A lot of teams at the moment are seeing a breakdown in communication whether it be between business & agency or actually within the team itself. Are they integrated well enough? Are they siloed? The group noted that 2008 was ‘not that long ago’ and the impact that we saw then will be small in comparison to the aftermath of the pandemic. The importance of team integration and harnessing technology that allows collaboration and communication between teams to be as frictionless as possible is something that must be adopted right now.

Wendy Clark (incoming Global CEO at Dentsu) noted in a recent interview with Campaign that “the days of siloed thinking or internally focused corporate thinking by agencies is just not where the marketplace is. It’s certainly not how the consumer receives all of our work and our messaging.” This reiterates what the group agreed on: the solution is collaboration, integration and removing barriers between teams that are blocking those very things.

Where positive changes are being made to our traditional models, when we go back to “normality” will we slip back into our old habits?

WP Engine’ studies show that the purchasing power of generation z now equates to around 40% and by 2026 Gen Z will make up 40% of the workforce. It’s important to note this as what the current situation is showing us is that older generations are becoming more & more integrated into what is the (so far) the most digitally native generation of our times. Whether it is people’s grandparents having to learn zoom or local, small scale groups who were physical-events-only moving to online platforms to keep their community engaged, we are seeing a substantial shift in society who have been forced to connect digitally.

It’s clear that the BIMA Community is facing entirely new challenges, and in terms of marketing, the current pandemic is reshaping what has been a long standing perception of our normal marketing models. Time will only tell what final form this shift may take, but with unprecedented levels of digital interaction right now it’s important to plan & adapt to what this new normal will look like.

WP Engine have produced a number of resources that both look at how our traditional  marketing models have evolved and, crucially, where they seem to be heading. If you are a BIMA Member and want to join our new marketing model slack channel contact for more information:

The Value of Values (AI Research)

Gen Z Research

make|SHIFT documentary film

Multi-CMS E-book


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