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Apr 14, 2020

Good to Great: Principles for Future-Focused Marketing Post-Crisis

Good to Great: Principles for Future-Focused Marketing Post-Crisis

COVID-19 has created a disruption in consumerism as we know it. And for most, this disruption will have a holistic impact on the way we do marketing.

While some companies dive into crisis mode or wait to see what happens, the companies that will ultimately prevail are the ones who are preparing for the future. Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, is a classic, best-seller containing over a half a decade of research following companies who went from having a below average market share to totally eclipsing their competitors.

Its contents serve as an inspiration to come out of any situation even greater than before. Using the framework outlined in the book, we highlight how these findings can help pull your marketing beyond the current shroud of uncertainty.

These future-focused marketing tips focus on achieving greatness in three Good to Great categories: Disciplined People, Disciplined Thought and Disciplined Action.

Disciplined People

Retain talent. As you already know, your team is crucial. After all, you and your team have been through something quite extraordinary together. As Collins describes in his book, Good to Great companies surrounded themselves with Level 5 Leaders who have a passion for building an amazing company regardless of the circumstances. When making your marketing decisions, think about your Level 5 leaders. Do you have the right people at the table? Which partners at your agency can you rely on?

Good to Great companies put their best people on their biggest opportunities. Delve into future-focused opportunities and continue fine-tuning it as you go, but make sure you stay on track by engaging the correct people from the start.

Disciplined Thought

Find your hedgehog. Change strategies that aren’t working. Jim Collins and his team found that Good to Great companies moved more like a hedgehog, focusing on simple ideas - as opposed to the fox, who tried several complex ideas at a time.

Since the official announcements of stay-at-home orders, average screen times have unabashedly skyrocketed. In addition, in our How to Adjust Your Marketing Budget for Consumers at Home blog, we discussed pivoting your marketing budget to focus on digital platforms. Right now, you should deliberately apply insights like these to your current marketing strategy. For instance, creating highly engaging content for social media may be the hedgehog marketing strategy that connects you directly to your audience.

Confront the brutal facts. Don’t shy around what is happening in front of you. Collins outlines the Stockdale Paradox, named after James Stockdale, former vice presidential candidate, naval officer and Vietnam prisoner of war. The main gist of the idea is that companies should balance realism with optimism. Like Stockdale, know that your strategies will come out strong, regardless of the facts that exist today. Your organic traffic may be down last month, but it will increase as you refine your marketing strategy along the way.

Disciplined Action

Create a culture of discipline. At a moment when traditional practices are being flipped upside down, it is important that your marketing team is willing to implement new ideas and insights – quickly. When you create a robust culture where the right people will work within your newly defined core values, you can comfortably take action on your hedgehog initiatives and say no to opportunities that don’t fit within that concept.

Use technology to your advantage. The transformation from good to great does not happen through pioneering technology, but by understanding which technologies are the right ones that best fit for your goals. For instance, homebuilders are using Matterport Tours to virtually engage their consumers and cities are implementing new platforms like WhatsApp to connect with a distinct target audience. Once you have a deep understanding of your hedgehog strategy, you can use technology to propel the company forward.

Honorable Mention: The Flywheel

Each of these efforts are a part of a cumulative process to catch the momentum of your company's “flywheel.” Your marketing strategy is an imperative part of that process, especially when you are future-focused. As market dynamics change rapidly, the key to gaining momentum is constantly reassessing campaigns, creative, and even guidelines. What you decided two weeks ago isn’t necessarily appropriate today. Consumers are looking to connect with brands that have similar values and can offer humility and trust. In your rebound campaigns, highlight your brand’s values and connect with consumers on a more emotional level.

Saying that this a unique time is an understatement, but as we collectively define our roles as professionals, this is the time to uncover the challenges and alter the trajectory of your company. There is no playbook for times like these, but thinking back to principles like those outlined in Good to Great can help provide clarity, especially when it comes to marketing.

There is a future in all of this and we recommend that you begin thinking about your “Come Back” campaign so that you are ready to hit the ground running when the dust settles. Contact GKA to stay ahead. After all, this could be the defining moment that propels your company forward.

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