4 lessons CMOs should bring into 2021

by Garth Stirling
January 1, 2021

With 2020 behind us, we’re well and truly into the ‘new normal’ of business. Rapid changes in consumer behaviour catapulted businesses into a time where digital comes first.

As we focus on digital in 2021, here are some lessons to bring into the new year:

Lesson 1: If you’re not investing in digital, you’re falling behind

In the early stages of the pandemic, media consumption increased by 52% YoY and Aussies flocked online to consume content. This is still the case in 2021, with many Aussies still preferring to read media and buy goods online.

In response, 2 in 3 CMOs plan to increase their digital channel budgets in 2021. If you’re not planning to increase your investment in digital media, you’ll be left behind in this new age as competitors and partners turn to digital.

Action: Draft up a digital strategy in 2021 following these steps:

  1. Start with your digital vision: a bold, brave and winning aspiration for where you want to go.

  2. Understand where to play: this means defining your scope and narrowing your playing field through an understanding of your geographies, product categories and customer segments.

  3. Define how to win: this starts from building your unique value proposition to your customer, and understanding the best way to reach them through customer journey mapping.

  4. Determine the capabilities you need to execute: this means identifying the skills gap in your organisation, investing in key training areas such as data management and martech, and determining the team structures needed for your strategy

  5. Invest in technology to support your strategy: you can read our free guide to understand how, or check out this article.

Lesson 2: Marketing tech and data are the engines for success

67% of CMOs expect to increase their MarTech investment in 2021, and those who were successful during the pandemic were more likely to invest in tech and data.

When thinking about MarTech, imagine your organisation as a car (stick with us).

  • Your strategy is the GPS system: it tells you where to go and how to get there

  • Your people are the drivers: they’ll take your organisation to your destination

  • Your technology and data are the engine: they power your organisation towards where you need to be

Technically, you can operate a car without an engine, like in the Flintstones, but you probably won’t get very far. You can also drive without a GPS system, but you’ll need to stick to familiar places, or you’ll get lost.

So data and tech are important, but they’re only effective when used in conjunction with your strategy and capabilities.

Action: Invest in strategic MarTech to power your organisation in 2021. If you’re not sure where to start, download our free guide.

Lesson 3: Your brand must be discoverable to those you serve

Online research has increased during the pandemic, especially for those over 45 years old. In order to get the most bang for your buck, you must invest in search marketing to make sure you’re present on Google and other search engines when your audiences look for you.

Being present in the organic (non-advertising) search results for important terms can help at every step of your customer’s journey: when they’re first hearing about to to when they’re ready to buy or donate. That’s why SEO is one of the highest marketing spends for CMOs, even above paid search marketing.

Source: Gartner

Action: Invest in search in 2021. Here’s a handy guide to get you started.

Lesson 4: People of all ages have high expectations for web experience

The increase in digital has brought an increase in impatience. You’ve read the stats: the average attention span is now 8 seconds (and decreasing), 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load and 79% of consumers who are dissatisfied with a site are less likely to return.

This is the same across all industries, from not-for-profit to commercial. If you’ve got slow and confusing web pages, you won’t convert your traffic.

Action: Remove friction on your website by taking these actions:

  • Improve website load time (enter your URL here to check)

  • Make your website mobile-friendly

  • When including donation information, make it transparent and include the ‘need’ and ‘impact’

  • Reduce the number of clicks or options for the user to take

  • Reduce the number of fields on a form

  • Consider whether registration is necessary

  • Include digital payment options (credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay)