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Riding the economic and strategic waves of marketing – lessons learnt at LinkedIn Connect

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By Pippa Chambers, Journalist

December 12, 2022 | 9 min read

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Now is the time marketers need to work up the strategic courage to disrupt their marketing mix, ease off the “crack pipe of agility” and double down on for ultimate success, according to speakers at LinkedIn Connect.

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Investing now for future growth

From global investment trends and risks to doubling down on long-term branding efforts and attributing the right weight and value to creativity, there’s a lot for marketers to keep on top of.

Among the geopolitical tensions of the world – many of which predated Covid – never has the importance of maintaining marketing spend during tough times been clearer. Yet getting there can be complex.

With the objective of growth paramount, coupled with the growing expectations of the increasingly socially conscious consumer and desire to cut through harder than before, its vital marketers and brands first have a sound understanding of not just a regional economic outlook, but a global and macro understanding.

Chief economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), keynote speaker and panelist, Dr. Simon Baptist, kicked off the LinkedIn Connect event with a robust session discussing just this.

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With localized supply chains gaining momentum and credence, he said there are many vital themes, headwinds and factors that are set to impact business decisions that companies need to make: “Everybody's looking to reduce the risk around their supply chain.

“There's now a changing calculus in boardrooms where they are thinking about the trade-off between efficiency and resilience in supply chains – and there’s a bit more emphasis on the resilience side of things now.”

In addition to geopolitics between China and the US, which has and could see more companies used as pawns in the ongoing tensions, Baptist said the era of very low-interest rates for a long time was now over, startups would continue to find it harder to get more funding and overall, the global picture “is going to remain fairly weak”.

Later joining Baptist was panelist and LinkedIn senior director and head of enterprise APAC, marketing solutions and managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Matt Tindale, who said in light of consumer spending, and what the stats show from brands that do spend on marketing during turbulent times, a key takeout is “don’t stop” when it comes to investing in brand.

Share of voice vital

Tindale said as a brand – especially in the categories where buyers maybe aren’t in the market – it’s about “investing now for future growth”. He said: “Share of voice is so fundamental to what we do as marketers and is the key driver of market share as well. In times of economic uncertainty, often competitors will reduce their activity but if you can maintain, you can often have a higher share of that market share.”

The formula to such sought-after market share – and ultimately growth – is no quick and easy feat.

As old school spray and pray marketing tactics fizzle out and reliance on media channels alone to get cut through dwindles, the value placed on creativity has been steadily rising up the C-suite radars.

The role of great creative being responsible for driving business outcomes is also no longer a game for the business-to-consumer (B2C) brands alone, as increasingly savvy business-to-business (B2B) companies begin to at last attribute the right weight to creativity.

Speaking on the ‘Cashing in on Creativity’ session, Derek Yueh, partnership lead from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute, stressed that creative is the biggest opportunity for marketing to contribute to sales.

Analysis from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute of more than 600 B2B ads found that 71% of people did not feel the creative was resonating with them at an emotional level, meaning that most of the creative is not memorable or driving any growth for the brand’s bottom line.

The study showed that most B2B ads used generic formulas such as faceless voice overs, stock footage, block text, they don’t show their logo until the very end, and few have story arcs.

This presents a huge opportunity for B2B and shows that despite all the advancements in ad tech over the past few years, if your creative isn’t resonating with your audience, it’s irrelevant.

Further to the ‘Cashing in on Creativity’ session, a panel of experts discussed award winners at Cannes Lions 2022, the recipe behind the winning entries, and how marketers can continue to champion creativity across APAC and on the global stage.

From highlighting the first-ever Creative B2B Grand Prix awarded at Cannes Lions given to Wunderman Thompson for an AI-powered tool it developed for paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams, to digital business Yellow’s campaign featuring New Zealand actress Robyn Malcolm, some great examples were shared.

As discussed in the ‘Performance branding: is APAC ready?’ session, such a need for great creativity goes hand in hand with a good dose of strategic courage and some hearty change management. Change is particularly needed when it comes to stepping off the performance marketing gas and moving into more brand building tactics.

Despite the value of performance marketing and how easy it is to measure, panelists agreed that having a healthy balance of brand building is increasingly becoming vital.

Growth is the goal

While preparing for future economic headwinds is essential and attributing the right value to creativity is key, at the heart of all marketing manoeuvres has to be the goal of business growth. But can this be forgotten or lost in translation?

Marketing academic Mark Ritson thinks so. In ‘The Objective is Growth’ session, Ritson said despite companies being united in their goals for growth, results around how much and how many companies achieve growth are surprisingly slim.

The founder of the Marketing Week Mini MBA discussed what a post-pandemic world means for marketing as well as some of the quick and not so quick ways to energize organizations to achieve better and more consistent levels of growth.

He advised embracing long and short-term marketing while trying to get the right balance, adding that “everyone’s underinvesting in long term brand building”.

By encouraging marketers in the room to be the exception, he explained how the long sets up the short and the short pays for the long: “You need them both to work together to maximize how much money you will make.”

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With most marketers underinvesting in brand, and as a result making less money than they could be, he explained how vital it was to get out of the 12-month or quarterly ROI evaluations and think bigger and longer term.

Ritson also said it was vital to stop trying to measure brand building success with dollar values as just because you may not be able to show a dollar value for a brand campaign one year, doesn’t mean it isn’t generating it.

Lastly, he advised the audience to plan for uncertainty, review targeting, positioning and objectives and to try and get a seat at the pricing table.

Learn more about All-Weather Marketing from LinkedIn’s think tank The B2B Institute here.

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