2020 has been a year unlike any other. A pandemic that upended daily life and routines. Worldwide economic disruption. Universal uncertainty about exactly what comes next. We’re all traveling in truly uncharted territory.
In business and marketing, it’s not that the core challenge has changed: Deciding on the investments and steps needed to get your business ready to take action on your product, channel, or consumer strategy is still essential. Instead, it’s the traditional idea of what it means to be ready for what comes next — including the familiar playbooks and proven approaches so many businesses relied on in the past — that’s grown outdated, in the space of just a few months.
The good news is that the twin challenges of profound disruption and uncertainty also present businesses with an opportunity to rethink readiness. To reimagine how to best meet consumer demand, even as it fluctuates, and even if it remains volatile. Today, businesses have more data and consumer signals, are better able to act on them, and can meet a higher standard for doing all of this more responsibly than ever before.
Research Google conducted in partnership with Deloitte found that Fortune 1000 board members believe marketing, in particular, can be an engine for business growth, if led by 21st century CMOs who embrace value-creating roles, such as Innovation Catalyst, Capability Builder, or Growth Driver.
Leveraging these advantages can do more than help you find and capture growth by meeting the demands of the moment. It can also provide you a significant business advantage and help equip your business with the agility and resilience needed to be ready for whatever comes next.
How do we know this? Because many of the most disruptive trends businesses face today — such as keeping up with rapidly shifting consumer demand; creating and maintaining reliable chains of supply and delivery; and making sound business decisions quickly enough to keep up with competition — aren’t really new at all.
In 2020, the pace of these and other prevailing trends accelerated so much that, in the last six months alone, we’ve probably experienced 10 years’ worth of change.
In that same brief span, we’ve seen businesses embrace digital transformation and thrive. What do I mean by digital transformation? It’s not just — or even primarily — about building a better e-commerce site (as important as that is). It’s about using data and technology to upscale your product and channel capabilities.