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CMOs will be rewarded for meeting consumers' pressing needs during Covid-19

Seven key trends that can help c-suite executives lead with a human-centered approach.

Chief marketing officers (CMO) of brands need to meet the needs of consumers and provide them with different options during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Putting consumers at the centre of their marketing strategy and seeking feedback from them will help CMOs align their brands with the consumers’ own values, according to the Global Marketing Trends Report by Deloitte that found seven key trends that will help CMOs navigate through the pandemic.

“While the findings in this year’s Global Marketing Trends report speak specifically to this unique moment in time, they also offer universal insights that CMOs and other business leaders will be able to apply for the long-term success of their brands,” said Jennifer Veenstra, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and managing director of Deloitte’s Global CMO program.

“So much of what we do right now will impact the relationship between companies and their consumers for years to come and this report offers a wealth of useful insights to help guide organizations through this chapter and into the next.”

What are the seven key trends?

• Purpose - 1 in 5 customers will support a brand that has positive brand actions while 1 in 4 will walk away if they do not agree with brand decisions. Keeping this in mind, organizations should look to put their “why” at the centre of their operations and work to amplify purpose both within and outside the enterprise.

• Agility - 58% of respondents could name a brand that quickly pivoted its offerings to better react to the effects of Covid-19. 82% said that these new, relevant offerings made them want to do more business with the brand. To ready an organization for these real-time shifts, CMOs and other c-suite leaders can look to digital tools such as social CRM and social sensing capabilities to forecast where conversations are headed and leverage customer feedback to rapidly prototype new offers.

• Human Experience - More than 56% of respondents reported they specifically desire a more “human” experience from virtual environments. C-suite leaders stay proactive in aligning their values with shareholders and view their organizations as human entities that mirror and support the values of those they are built to serve.

• Trust - Consumers are 2.8 times more likely to continue purchasing from a brand after a data breach when brands are transparent in their intentions. During the global pandemic, a third of respondents most concerned with data privacy are willing to share data with businesses helping with the pandemic given that they were trustworthy organizations operating both transparently and ethically.

• Participation - 405 c-suite executives and over two-thirds of respondents said that they transformed the way they engage with consumers because of the pandemic. 56% of respondents reported that they participated directly with a brand over the last year with acts including posting on social media, developing original content and even co-creating product offerings.

• Fusion - Majority of C-suite executives (78%) agreed that new relationships forged during Covid-19 will continue to be part of a long-term strategy after the pandemic subsides. And although executives are still operating with a defensive mindset. 42% of respondents are looking at digital investments as a way to improve efficiency while very few (17%) are looking to grow revenues.

• Talent – 77% of CMOs have turned to AI to automate work during the pandemic, but on a small fraction of those (6%) have also tapped the gig economy – an option that could allow companies to scale their workforce up or down as needed. The survey found that 14% of respondents had entered the gig economy for the first time during the pandemic.

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