They say change is the only constant. I say, it is without a shadow of a doubt, the only thing we can rely on to move forward. There has been a lot of disruption in the past few years which changed the way we work, communicate, and shop. The business landscape got more competitive, profit margins got thinner, and customers raised their expectations for smarter services. 

Marwa Kaabour

Perhaps, we can have a quick view on what’s been happening around us. 

The world has gone from a pandemic to a ‘wardemic’. We’ve had two years of disruption to the systems on which society is run, and this has taken its toll on everyone. And just as the world thought it was out of the COVID-19 chronicle, we were hit with the Russian invasion on Ukraine. Alongside, there has been shortages of raw material affecting every sector. This resulted in a bear market, and we now acknowledge that we are living a global recession. 

In the United States, the annual inflation rate was up to 8.6%, the highest level it has been since 1981. The macro-economic outlook thereof is not favourable. This comes as no surprise since the media continues to subject us to a daily barrage of bad news. 

The rising challenge of climate change brought along dangerous floods, massive heat waves and bush fires, not only disrupting the balance of nature, but also the profitability of world economies. With this, we are going to see governments speeding up decarbonisation rules. And while a global energy transition is underway, further action is needed to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

A new norm of work and making money is emerging. Thanks to the promise of the metaverse the ‘creator economy’ is growing. People are making money by playing and learning. The metaverse has the potential to impact everything from employee engagement to the customer experience. This is shining the light on omnichannel marketing, product innovation, and community-driven content. Meta is based on the basic human instinct of humans feeling a lot more powerful when entering parallel universes and acting in their own avatars. 

So how is this impacting customer psychology? Our customers want to save the planet. Research companies like Accenture believe the next big opportunity is for brands to break new grounds of balancing ‘Affordability’ and ‘Sustainability’. 

Customers are also looking for smart solutions that make their lives easier. What matters today is technology that solves environmental issues. Smart technologies are in turn paving way to smart cities. As smart citizens, customers are recalculating their consumption and with this, customers are re-thinking the concept of ownership and are leaning more towards flexible options. Many of today’s customers prefer to rent, car share, lease holiday homes and even furniture. 

So what can marketers do to ride these waves of change? 

We sail with ample opportunities ahead of us. I see three main opportunity themes emerging for marketers. The first is rethinking the customer journey, the second is rethinking the role of content and the third is embracing sustainability as part and parcel to your product mix.  

Let’s begin with rethinking the sales and customer journey. If you are using the same approach to sales the way you did just three years ago, you may find it difficult to realise your maximum revenue potential. The unfolding of Meta, VR, and AR experiences will make your customer journey more playful, interactive, and dynamic. Your customer journey must unfold in multiple disciplines, both offline and online, with an integral tone and a consistent experience. 

Content now sits at the heart of the brand, marketing, and communication love triangle. Content is no longer social media feed. Your content can make or break your brand and the power lies in the hands of your customers. Revisiting how your content is created is key to brand survival. Giving your customers reasons to create content around your brand is vital. 

And finally, sustainability no longer sits in your sponsorship strategy or with your comms team, it is at the heart of everything you do. Perhaps you need to go back to your 4Ps and add a fifth – Product, Place, Promotion, Price and Planet. Address the stressing state of the planet in all facets of your marketing mix. You could be looking for new product lines, a new way of producing your products or services or a new way to deliver your services without harming the environment. You may want to plug in the cost of emission reduction into your pricing strategy. Dare to rethink your 4Ps and maybe then, you won’t only ride the waves of change, but perhaps become a creator of positive ones yourself. 

Happy sailing!