Are we still looking in hope for that elusive panacea?

The marketing community in the South West, will be called upon to play an instrumental role in the months and years ahead. Supporting our business community in the post pandemic recovery, will need skill and effort and we are under no illusion that it will be demanding. However, summing up what needs to be done in a concise and straightforward way, is seemingly becoming more difficult with each day that passes. We somehow seem to have become awash with sound advice in some ways, and yet still manage to be very much adrift in others.
Balancing our need to reimagine and refresh, while upholding some assurance that we can remain focused upon the current demands too, is going to be of the defining features of the moment. So, how do we get our balance right, and is there actually going to be that one simple solution that we are all craving?
In short, it is highly unlikely that we will see one solitary piece of advice, which will point us in the most appropriate direction. That one concise set of clear instructions to follow, which will lights the path ahead, is going to be elusive at best. However, perhaps we somehow distil what will be required onto one side of A4? Below are 6 key themes that may just bring some of our challenges into focus and offer up some thoughts to get us started:
  1. Awareness: We must dig deep to think about what we are about and what we hold dear. In addition, we will definitely need to be brave in our choices. However, accepting that there is currently lower visibility and in turn lower familiarity, is not a new mandate for us to become unduly reckless. We need to be able to operate in a mindset of anticipation and versatility. For example, we need to anticipate how our customers and their needs are changing, and we will need to be able to see them at the heart of our efforts. Our closeness to our business environments will definitely be a key differentiator. Being aware of what is happening and what is likely to be just over the hill will be crucial for us. The need for our choices to be rooted in appropriately informed alternatives, will become increasingly important.
  2. Openness: We know that we will need to be open to asking brand new questions, as our customer needs change and our levels of empathy start to feel outdated. We must be very open to the answers we get back though too and be willing to accept that our previous questions were useful before, but may not be so now. Definitely a time for an open mind.
  3. Innovative: Seeking innovative solutions to the answers to our challenging questions, will need us to be clear and unfettered. However, within a context that feels like we have somehow lowered our visibility, can be quite off putting can't it? This isn't just going to be about being creative in our ideas. It will also be about our ability to formulate new ideas or to adapt or use existing ideas in a new or unexpected way to solve our problems. We also need to seriously consider the commercialisation of our innovative ideas.
  4. Pace: Investment in our recovery will be as much about our levels of effort as it will be about finances. The speed that we move at and in turn the speed at which we can make things happen, will be very important. Looking for us to get a move on, when we are clearly feeling tired, may seem harsh and perhaps even unreasonable. However, it will require effort commensurate with the task, if we are to succeed in our recovery. Not a more haste less speed scenario though, but something that is considered, directed and purposeful.
  5. Alignment: Of considerable importance, will be a real need to for us to be able to synchronize our plans with the timing of when opportunity knocks. However, we must ensure that will we be able to give this the attention it needs, while we manage the current demands being placed upon us .
  6. Iteration: It will be lovely to feel that when we get to this point, that it will be something like a celebration of job done. However, we may wish to see this a part of a process, where we are going to be revisiting and doing things to improve our improvements and maybe even realising that we are now in a constant flux with the accompanying feelings of permanent uncertainty. Things now seem to feel like there is little or no precedence, this may even extend for some time to come. It will be our ability to not only grasp the nettle of this, but to somehow use it as an energy source for our creativity and dynamism. It may well be in the iteration that the marketer can come to the fore. 

Written by Brian Doidge