How to adapt marketing communications to an unpredictable world

Marketing and communications professionals are adept at being adaptable; it comes with the territory of these professions. However, recent events have been challenging to even the most experienced marketing and communications practitioners, who may be finding it tough to keep key messaging and campaign themes aligned with events of the day. 

While current events are challenging, it’s not the first time multiple major events have occurred simultaneously. For example, within a period of two years, Australia’s insurance industry alone had to deal with the collapse of HIH, a royal commission, a nationwide public liability insurance crisis, multiple natural disasters involving bushfires and floods, the SARS virus, and the September 11 and Bali terrorist attacks.  

In situations such as these, how do communications and marketing professionals stay both relevant and sensitive to topics and issues of the day? 

There are five key things to consider when progressing marketing and communications plans in a volatile environment: 

  1. Empathy 

No matter who your target audience is and what role they play in an organisation, remember they are all human and emotionally impacted either directly or indirectly by external events.  

As major events are unfolding, consider how they will impact your own organisation, your clients and potential target audiences on both a professional and personal level.  

This degree of empathy helps marketers and communicators tailor messages that suit the issue and affected audiences. It involves more of an ‘outside-in’ view of the world, rather than a view of how the organisation will communicate its message outwards. In this way, the message helps to solve a problem for target audiences, rather than becoming an ill-timed and ill-pitched product promotion. 

An empathetic approach is particularly important in getting the tone of voice right on social media. Organisations don’t need to comment on major events, and should avoid doing so, unless they can offer some considered advice that will solve a problem for target audiences and be sensitive to the situation. Senior communicators should develop this content rather than junior staff members because social media and websites are the new shopfront for organisations. This is where most people will gain their first impression of a business, so you don’t want it displaying messages that aren’t based on a full understanding of the nuances involved. 

  1. Keep informed, not obsessed, about the news of the day 

With so much happening at one time, marketers and communicators can easily be caught up in the whirlwind of information. 

While it’s important to be informed and on top of current issues, there is a fine line between becoming informed and being obsessed with an issue. Obsession can make it hard to provide a clear and objective view of the situation for your target audiences. 

It’s important to obtain the facts about an issue from a trusted source, such as official channels or non-commercial news providers. While it may be interesting to see different perspectives about an issue on consumer social channels, don’t let this information cloud your judgement or your communications about the issue.  

If you find yourself becoming obsessed, consider limiting your view of issue updates to two to three times per day, unless of course it’s an issue that is unfolding minute-by-minute. Only rely on trusted sources of information. Turn off automatic social news feeds if you find you are becoming emotionally impacted or distracted by an issue. 

  1. Don’t plan too far in advance 

The digital business environment and the rapidly evolving global market have permanently changed planning cycles across all work functions in organisations.  

Developing an annual outline of potential ideas and activities is still relevant, but solid annual marketing and communications plans can easily become obsolete. If you focus on a comprehensive, 12-month marketing or communications plan, you could find yourself needing to redo the plan six months down the track. 

Instead, focus on a three-to-six month plan, with some potential ideas that extend beyond six months but can be easily adapted as market forces change. 

This approach also helps your organisation to become more agile and adaptable, and ensures your messages remain relevant no matter what market conditions are present. 

  1. Know that people still need to hear your message 

While marketers and communicators need to be sensitive to societal issues, equally they must be sensitive to the needs of their audiences. Outside of the issue, the world still turns, and business still needs to be done. This means that there are problems your target audiences need to solve, and they rely on your insight and expertise to do so.  

Thought leadership on key topics that provide valuable insights and advice for your target audiences is still powerful for conveying key messages, without being insensitive to societal issues. 

  1. Be prepared to adjust content and let some ideas go 

As a marketer and communicator, flexibility and adaptability are key. Thinking on your feet can be a great buzz as you adapt to keep pace with market demands. It can be frustrating when you’ve worked hard on a great idea that suddenly has no relevance to what is happening in society.  

When this occurs, consider your idea with a new perspective that is more relevant to the current environment. An entire campaign theme could go out the window but there is always something from that campaign that can be salvaged and reused.  

Ultimately, being an adaptable marketer and communicator in an unpredictable environment is a great opportunity to capitalise on your creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills, while further developing your empathy, which will make you a much stronger and more effective communicator in the long term, even when peace reigns in the outside world. 

Channel marketing firm, Outsource, appoints Kit Craig to lead channel consulting and training practice

Outsource Logo Local B2B IT channel marketing agency, Outsource, has appointed former Australian and New Zealand IBM Software Marketing Manager, Kit Craig, to the role of Channel Consulting Director.

This appointment expands Outsource’s marketing and lead generation solutions to include consulting and training for vendors and partners.

Adam Benson, director of Outsource said, “Kit is a strategic hire who will help us build out and deliver our vendor and reseller-facing consulting and training practice.

“For vendors we offer consulting and training programs including building routes-to-market; reseller engagement and new vendor establishment; rewards and recognition program builds and partner relationship management implementations. For resellers we offer a number of consulting and training programs, particularly around business transformation, services creation, innovation and marketing planning,” he said.

“Kit’s hire formalises a practice area we’ve been working in for some time in but are now investing in for growth,” Benson said.

Kit Craig said, “There is an opportunity in the market for a firm that delivers end-to-end IT channel marketing and lead generation services for vendors and partners, from strategy consulting and strategy development through to all facets of execution.

“Of all the flavours of B2B IT channel and field marketing companies I’ve seen, Outsource offers an incredibly focused and extremely relevant set of services that address the challenges I know most sales and marketing teams face. I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to help build out the consulting and training part of the Outsource business,” Craig said.

Craig’s hire follows the appointment of Eliza Kwan this month to the position of campaign manager at Outsource. Kwan was formerly a client success manager at Verticurl, a marketing automation consultancy owned by WPP. Prior to that Kwan was an account director at B2B social selling consultancy, Skotidas.

Sarah Danks has also been appointed this month to the role of Account Manager at Outsource. Dank’s previous role was as Marketing Coordinator at Professional Advantage. Prior to that she was Marketing Manager for Intelledox.

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About Outsource™
Outsource is a Sydney-based privately-owned business-to-business (B2B) marketing agency that delivers consulting, training, marketing and lead generation solutions to vendors, distributors and resellers across Australia and New Zealand.

Its flagship programs include Partner Advance™, a partner-activation-as-a-service program for vendors; Power2Sell™, a hosted points-based partner rewards program; Partner Manager, a hosted partner relationship management solution and Nurture2Sell™, a lead-nurture-as-a- service program. It also offers in-house design, web development, copywriting, telemarketing and events management services to vendors, distributors and their reseller partners.
It is part of a privately owned group of PR and marketing firms including Recognition PR and Write Away Communication + Events.
For more information, visit: http://www.outsource.com.au/

New Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud release unifies advertising and marketing via next-gen data management platform

Teradata LogoTeradata Marketing Applications announced global availability of the newest version of Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud, a powerful data hub comprising integrated solutions that are already helping more than one-third of the S&P Global 100 drive revenue and improve customer engagement through data-driven integrated marketing.

The new release makes Teradata the first company to bring online advertising and customer marketing data together to drive real-time interactions across all channels, and provide integrated, individualised insights directly to marketing.

To achieve this, Teradata acquired FLXone, a next-generation Data Management Platform (DMP) provider based in the Netherlands, on 30 September, 2015. It powers the Integrated Marketing Cloud, a data hub comprising integrated solutions that help drive revenue and improve customer engagement through data-driven integrated marketing.

Teradata’s latest release empowers marketers to truly individualise their marketing and connect one-to-one with customers by unifying customer-interaction data across paid, earned, and owned channels, at scale. Now, from campaign inception through every customer interaction and response, Teradata provides marketers the most agile and comprehensive integrated data-driven marketing platform available on the market.
As well as providing the data foundation for the Integrated Marketing Cloud, FLXone also brings an extensive partner ecosystem with more than 40 leading advertisers, publishers, agencies, and media trading desks. These partnerships will let customers quickly integrate their data and applications with the Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud, so they can leverage data in real-time, across all channels, to provide a consistent customer-engagement experience.

Unlike any other offering, Teradata’s platform unifies interactions across outbound, real-time, and audience marketing, and unifies data across anonymous and known customers; all on a single modular platform. Teradata’s solution will also connect to proprietary data stored in an Integrated Data Warehouse (IDW), directly integrate to email and mobile response data through Teradata Digital Marketing Center (DMC), and offer native integration with other Teradata solutions.

Bob Fair, Teradata Co-President and global head of the Teradata Marketing Applications division, said, “We help make marketers more agile through analytics-driven insights and strategic execution that let them build one-to-one connections with customers, and drive revenue. That’s what marketers want. That’s what they need. That’s what we do. We are THE strategic partner for data-driven marketers today.”

To view the full press release for more information on the recent product enhancements across all major product components of the Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud, please visit the website: http://www.teradata.com/News-Releases/2015/New-Teradata-Integrated-Marketing-Cloud-Release-Unifies-Advertising-and-Marketing-via-Next-Gen-Data-Management-Platform/

Independent research firm recognises Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud as a leader in real-time interaction management

Teradata LogoSYDNEY, Australia – Teradata Marketing Applications, a division of Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC), the big data analytics and marketing applications company, has announced that Forrester Research, Inc., a leading independent research firm, has recognised Teradata as a Leader in Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM). RTIM is a key part of the Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud, and is what allows marketers to deliver relevant, real-time offers and messages across digital or offline channels to best meet the most current needs of each individual customer. The report was released July 29, 2015, as “The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015,” authored by Rusty Warner, with Srividya Sridharan, Olivia French and Matthew Izzi.

Forrester defines Real-Time Interaction Management as, “Enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life-cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.”

In the report, Forrester evaluated eleven RTIM vendors against 35 specifically defined criteria. Teradata received the highest scores among all vendors in the “Capabilities” category, and tied for highest score in the “Solution Strategy” category.

Specifically, the report notes Teradata “builds on cross-channel campaign management strengths,” and that it “provides an enterprise-class decision engine for digital and offline execution.” The report also states that Teradata “references praise customer profiles and segmentation, analytics, business rules, and recommendation capabilities,” and states that Teradata “made investments to address digital experience delivery across the retail, travel, hospitality, financial services, and telecommunications sectors.”

Marketers continually seek better ways to deliver more contextually relevant experiences for their customers. And analytics solutions have evolved significantly to where some RTIM solutions, such as Teradata Real-Time Interaction Manager, can leverage data across both digital and offline channels.

“Telenor Denmark is developing an integrated, enterprise approach to planning, developing and managing customer communication across multiple channels, product lines, and business locations. Teradata Real-Time Interaction Manager is enabling us to leverage data in our network, billing and CRM systems to communicate with customers based on real-time events to deliver real-time personalised next-best offers,” said Petr Taborsky, senior director, Customer and Business Intelligence, Telenor Denmark.

“Marketers want and need to deliver individualised messages in a meaningful context. And consumers expect informed, real-time dialogue with brands. Our real-time decisioning makes this possible. I believe that this new report recognises the contributions Teradata is making as a leader in this important category,” said Bob Fair, Teradata Co-President and head of Teradata Marketing Applications.

For a complimentary copy of the Forrester RTIM Wave report, visit the Teradata Marketing Applications website.

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About Teradata
Teradata (NYSE: TDC) helps companies get more value from data than any other company. Teradata’s leading portfolio of big data analytic solutions, integrated marketing applications, and services can help organisations gain a sustainable competitive advantage with data. Visit teradata.com.

Team culture – you are what you do, not what you say

As marketing and communications professionals we spend a lot of time worrying about what is said and how it’s being communicated both internally and externally. I have strong feelings about internal communications. One of my strongest opinions is that at the end of the day what we say isn’t enough. What we do speaks volumes our words never will.

I was pondering this as my team participated recently in The Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea and is currently engaged in the Global Corporate Challenge. Great examples of what our culture is – get involved, get active, do good things and be consistent.

As leaders most of what we do needs to be to energise people, to keep the ship steering the right way. It’s never going to be perfect, there are always going to be things to worry about but leadership is about what you do every day, not just what you say from time to time.

There was a blog recently on Harvard Business Review “Culture takes over when the CEO leaves the room” (you can read it here – http://bit.ly/LTwDo7) and that’s incredibly true. Everything you do leads the team to know what the culture is and what the expectations are, everything you say should be a reminder of this – not the crux of it.