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Accountability

Top Brand Marketing Trends for 2019

2019 is set to be a game-changing year for brand marketers. Between a rapidly shifting political landscape and fast increases in marketing technology, the way marketers do their jobs – and how brands connect with their customers – is likely to witness some major new trends that they’ll need to be prepared for to capitalize on.

That’s according to an article by Michael Stone, published in Forbes that while “we live in a time of radical transformation” of the retail space, savvy marketers can still prepare themselves for success.

So, what significant trends are set to shape the marketing landscape in 2019?

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Merging Online and In-Store Customer Journeys

One of the biggest marketing trends set to continue well beyond 2019 is the merging of an online and in-store customer retail journeys.

As Stone says, “the blurring of online and offline retail will continue at an increased pace.” This is made possible in large part due to advances in customer data tracking and analysis. Thanks to a multi-channel understanding of a customer’s interactions with your brand, you can drive them either to your brick-and-mortar space or your e-commerce website by offering personalized deals through either channel.

At any rate, brands will need to ensure both their digital and in-store marketing are in healthy, fighting shape, as competition continues to grow from retailers moving from one space into the other (like Amazon’s move into brick-and-mortar, and Walmart’s robust online shopping platform). Stone explains: “Retailers will not [be able to] sit still as they continue to up their game.”

One of the biggest trends for 2019 and beyond is the merging of an online and in-store customer journeys.

Creating Compelling In-Store Experiences

As we’ve discussed on the NVISION blog before, one of the most interesting retail marketing trends is the growing appeal of transforming retail stores into “experience centers.”

With online shopping and e-commerce becoming easier and faster every day (especially with services that offer next-day or even same-day delivery), brands must find new ways to draw customers into their brick-and-mortar stores. To do so, they are creating experience centers, where customers can physically touch, try, handle, and use the company’s products, and even test them in a real-world environment.

“Brands will continue to look for ways to ‘pull’ customers into the brand rather than ‘pushing’ the brand at them,” Stone explains, “such as creatively driven pop-up stores; new, permanent mono-branded stores; malls featuring spa services, tailoring, and personal stylists; branded hotels; themed restaurants; and themed exhibits. Brands and consumers will become more ‘entangled.’”

And as the popularity of these brick-and-mortar experiences grows, so too will the need for brands to create, produce, and deliver their physical marketing materials on-time, on-budget, and with empowered flexibility.

Transforming retail stores into “experience centers,” brands will continue to look for ways to attract customers by offering hyper-personalization.

Brands Taking Positions in a Shifting Political Landscape

For years, brands were told to “stay in your lane” and athletes were told to “stick to sports.” But 2019 promises to be a year where much of the rules around marketing and politics change.

As Stone points out, many brands have been “forced” to take a stand politically, citing the example of many brands pulling their support (and advertising dollars) and “abandoning the NRA following the shooting last February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.”

Other have chosen to take a stand and roll the dice both financially and politically, such as Nike did in 2018 when it made former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick its spokesperson.

“Brands are increasingly aware that younger consumers want their brands to take a position and to have a purpose,” Stone writes. And whether that position is something fairly uncontroversial – like using sustainable manufacturing processes or promoting female executives to leadership roles – or whether it is a new hot-button issue for 2019 (like the widespread legalization of the marijuana industry in the U.S. and Canada), customers want their brands to stand for something.

Brands are expected to take a position and to have a purpose for hot-button issues.

Conclusion

2019 will be a year of new trends and changes for marketers everywhere. Between a shifting political landscape and the continued blurring of the online and in-store retail spaces, having flexible and reliable marketing operations will allow many brands to capitalize on these changing trends and post record-breaking years. And that’s a trend we can all hope for.

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Why NVISION?

NVISION® is a marketing execution company helping Fortune 1000 organizations optimize their marketing supply chain process. We provide the expertise to simplify the creation, procurement, fulfillment, distribution and ongoing account management for customers’ printed marketing materials.

With nearly 100 years of supply chain management expertise in streamlining operations, leveraging buying power and creating innovative solutions, we reduce cost and increase speed-to-market. NVISION provides dedicated experts that understand clients’ brand standards, internal processes, deadlines, and distribution needs.

We manage every step of the process to deliver marketing operations – simplified.

See how NVISION can help your business | Let’s start a conversation about your complimentary assessment!

Top Ways ABM Is Creating Opportunities for CMOs

Think of traditional marketing as fishing with a net – designed to reach as broad and wide as possible to snare any potential deals of all sizes. This works well if your goal is not to miss any opportunities but ultimately leads to significant waste.

Then there is ABM or account-based marketing. Compared to traditional marketing, ABM is like spearfishing – targeting only the ideal accounts that are most likely to close and/or generate the most revenue. That’s why, according to a recent report by ITSMA, 87 percent of companies state that ABM delivers a higher ROI than traditional marketing.

So, why should CMOs care about ABM in 2019? Jon Miller of Engagio explains some of the best reasons.

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Better Alignment With Sales

One of the most common frustrations CMOs face is a lack of alignment with sales teams. With different goals, KPIs, and responsibilities, marketing teams often find themselves pursuing one thing while sales is actively pursuing another.

The result? Your prospects receive mixed messages and inconsistent marketing materials. That weakens your brand. But with ABM, marketing and sales are more fully aligned. With a small selection of specific, hand-picked accounts, CMOs can produce marketing materials that are more personalized, targeted, and branded just for those accounts. Marketing and sales are now working in tandem, sharing the same goal of landing those identified accounts.

And that means better ROI for CMOs. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, sales and marketing alignment can drive up to 36 percent more business growth and 27 percent faster profit growth.

87 percent of companies state that ABM delivers a higher ROI than traditional marketing.

Stronger Brand Recognition

Related to the “waste” associated with traditional marketing methods mentioned above, even the strength of your brand can get lost in the shuffle. For every mass email blast that reaches an audience it wasn’t intended for, your brand is seen as inaccurate, irrelevant, or – worst of all – pitching a message that you did not intend for that customer to hear.

“ABM allows [CMOs] to establish and cultivate trust with your customers, thereby building a strong brand over time,” Miller explains. “If you take the time to utilize the core tenants of ABM, and send a personal and relevant message to a targeted audience,” you are able to portray your brand as an authority, a trusted advisor, and an approachable resource. That specificity and intentionality strengthen your brand.

Sales and marketing alignment can drive up to 36 percent more business growth and 27 percent faster profit growth.

Marketing Guides the Customer Journey

ABM is a “land and expand” type of strategy. It involves identifying and targeting accounts that are not only ideal new customers but that present likely upselling and cross-selling opportunities as well. “ABM guides intelligent account expansion at existing customer accounts,” Miller says. “In ABM, all customer-facing teams work in harmony to ensure a buyer’s experience is positive, consistent, and in context with the rest of the account.”

This means that ABM uniquely puts CMOs in charge of creating the customer’s journey since CMOs are the best-qualified people in most organizations to safely steward the brand’s identity and value propositions across multiple channels.

“It is about providing a holistic view of each account, coordinating interactions across departments for every stage of the customer experience, and measuring results with an account-centric lens,” Miller continues. “The right person to own the coordination and orchestration of the relationships is [the CMO] because they have the technology and skills to do so.” ABM presents savvy CMOs with an opportunity to apply their strategic expertise to real-world account-based campaigns.

ABM presents savvy CMOs with an opportunity to apply their strategic expertise to real-world account-based campaigns.

Summary

Account-based marketing, or ABM, is changing how marketers generate leads for the better. With this new focused, granular outlook, ABM presents CMOs with several exciting opportunities to improve both the public perception of their brands and the operational effectiveness of their marketing departments. And that can lead to better ROI, more qualified leads, and stronger revenue forecasts.

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Why NVISION?

NVISION® is a marketing execution company helping Fortune 1000 organizations optimize their marketing supply chain process. We provide the expertise to simplify the creation, procurement, fulfillment, distribution and ongoing account management for customers’ printed marketing materials.

With nearly 100 years of supply chain management expertise in streamlining operations, leveraging buying power and creating innovative solutions, we reduce cost and increase speed-to-market. NVISION provides dedicated experts that understand clients’ brand standards, internal processes, deadlines, and distribution needs.

We manage every step of the process to deliver marketing operations – simplified.

See how NVISION can help your business | Let’s start a conversation about your complimentary assessment!

The Top Building Materials Trends for 2019

The 2019 NAHB International Builders Show is around the corner and NVISION is gearing up to be there!

S&P Global recently released its Building Materials Industry Top Trends 2019, highlighting some of the key trends, takeaways, and forecasts the building materials industry will be keeping its eye on this year, and especially at IBS 2019.

Based on the trends report, here are our three key takeaways that all building materials industry leaders should know!

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Commodity Costs Will Continue to Grow

As the report points out, commodity costs for the building industry in North America rose in 2018 for several reasons, including decreasing unemployment, new tariffs, and increased demand. And S&P Global expects those same factors to continue to drive commodity prices up in 2019.

“So far, most building materials companies have been able to offset the cost increases with higher pricing, but it remains to be seen if companies can continue to maintain higher prices in 2019,” the report says. With S&P Global predicting a 3 percent increase in building materials costs in 2019, the building materials industry will need to look at cutting costs and optimizing their supply chains to offset this increase in prices and maintain their margins without continuing to raise prices.

The report predicts a 3 percent increase in building materials costs in 2019; the industry will need to look at cutting costs and optimizing their supply chains to maintain their margins without continuing to raise prices.

Increased Prices Could Slow the Building Materials Recovery

As the report states, low inventory, higher home prices, and higher interest rates may be pushing marginally qualified homebuyers out of the North American market. This, S&P Global says, could bring a halt to the building materials recovery. “Existing home sales (a big driver of repair and remodel activity) could slow if values remain high and available inventory low,” the report claims. With fewer pre-existing homes being purchased, fewer old houses will be getting remodeled and repaired by new homeowners, and that means less business for building materials companies.

With building materials companies competing for homeowners with fewer dollars to spend – or with new construction townhomes that don’t need remodeling – they will need to find other ways to protect their margins, including finding ways to cut costs and compete on the customer experience with enhanced agility and responsiveness.

With companies competing for homeowners with fewer dollars to spend, the ways to protect their margins will include providing agility and responsiveness to their customer experiences.

The Building Materials Market is Healthy, But with Growing Risk

When it comes to the numbers, the S&P Global report predicts modest growth in the North American building materials market. “We expect 2.3 percent real GDP growth, 3.6 percent unemployment, and 1.3 million housing starts. We further expect mid-single-digit growth in repair and remodeling activity, and only 2.8 percent growth in nonresidential construction,” the report states.

As a result, S&P Global is predicting another year of improved sales and earnings for building materials companies. But, the report says, “with much less growth than in 2016 and 2017.”  What’s more, due to the affordability and availability issues of new homes mentioned above, S&P Global warns that housing starts could actually retreat slightly in 2019. To combat this problem, many builders will “attempt to address this by offering more value-based entry-level housing,” which will present an enormous opportunity to building materials companies who are able – thanks to a nimble, efficient supply chain – to offer reduced prices on materials and faster delivery timelines.

With only moderate growth expected in 2019, many builders will attempt to offer value-based entry-level housing that will create an opportunity for building materials companies who can offer reduced material prices and faster delivery timeline.

Conclusion

The 2019 NAHB International Builders Show promises to be one to remember. With these trends in mind, building materials companies will want to be on the lookout for experienced partners who can help them cut costs and better optimize their supply chain management in order to capitalize on this shifting market.

NVISION will be there, and we hope to see you!

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Why NVISION?

NVISION® is a marketing execution company helping Fortune 1000 organizations optimize their marketing supply chain process. We provide the expertise to simplify the creation, procurement, fulfillment, distribution and ongoing account management for customers’ printed marketing materials.

With nearly 100 years of supply chain management expertise in streamlining operations, leveraging buying power and creating innovative solutions, we reduce cost and increase speed-to-market. NVISION provides dedicated experts that understand clients’ brand standards, internal processes, deadlines, and distribution needs.

We manage every step of the process to deliver marketing operations – simplified.

See how NVISION can help your business | Let’s start a conversation about your complimentary assessment!

Gartner: Three Tips for
Building an Agile Marketing Culture

The landscape for marketers is changing more rapidly than ever. And for marketing leaders who feel like their teams and resources are already stretched thin, this can be a daunting reality. But, one of the best ways to plan for this reality, and to prepare your organization to maximize marketing resources is to develop a marketing culture around agile thinking.

That’s according to Marc Brown at Gartner, who explains that today’s marketing leaders can cultivate an agile culture – and agile thinking – by focusing their attention on three key areas: Skills, Data, and Operations. So, what does that actually look like for real CMOs and marketing directors?

Let’s dive in.

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Build Your Team with the Skills to Match Your Vision

Nearly every member of your marketing team probably has different skills. From copywriters to designers to marketing automation experts, your marketing department is more than the sum of its parts. But just as each member of your team has different skills, so too does each marketing department have a different overall vision for success. And that vision should shape the skills makeup of your team.

Marketing visions can vary vastly from team to team,” Brown explains. “Assembling a team with a unified vision all starts with the recruiting process.” To this end, Brown recommends taking the time to put down on paper exactly what your team’s vision is – what metrics success will be judged by, what key goals you will hope to achieve, etc. Then, Brown recommends recruiting “T-shaped” team members, or team members who possess a broad breadth of skills while also demonstrating deep expertise in a single specific area. According to Gartner’s 2017 Marketing Organization Survey, 53% of modern marketers are already “T-shaped,” so developing your perfect team is mostly a matter of mapping everyone’s skills to your larger team vision.

Assembling a T-Shaped team with broad skill sets based on a unified vision is a critical step toward building the agile marketing culture.

Data is the Foundation of Agility

As Brown explains, one of the fundamental characteristics of an agile marketing approach is constant iteration and analysis. What’s working, what isn’t, and how closely are you measuring it? “For a marketing team to break the norm and boost engagement, they must first understand exactly what ‘the norm’ is,” Brown says. “Agile marketing’s iterative approach enables you to incorporate data and insights into your planning on an ongoing basis.”

Gartner specifically recommends using your customer data to create a multichannel 360-degree of your customer’s journey, from Buy to Own to Advocate. “Using this data is key to understanding pain points. You can’t find innovative solutions if you don’t understand the common snags in your systems, customer behavior, and shopping trends,” says Brown. If you want to build an agile marketing team that can respond to new trends at a moment’s notice, you must first establish the data practices to discover them.

“You can’t find innovative solutions if you don’t understand the common snags in your systems, customer behavior, and shopping trends.”

Agile Operations Are Not Always Linear

Part of shifting to an agile marketing mindset is adjusting your expectations for your operational workflows. Traditional marketing operations tend to conceptualize these processes as flowing naturally, step-by-step, from something like Strategy to Research, Design, Deploy, and finally, Measure. But as Brown explains, agile marketing operations look very different.

“It’s better to view the process as a loop to continuously facilitate collaboration, ideation, development, execution, and measurement.” This, Brown says, is to account for the fact that no team can ever predict all the ways and areas where optimization has opportunities to improve the process. “Although it may seem like these processes naturally flow from one stage to the next, there’s never a one-size-fits-all formula. Certain stages may be conducted simultaneously in order to view the situation from all angles, or to reevaluate a plan or to pivot and adjust direction.”

“It’s better to view the process as a loop to continuously facilitate collaboration, ideation, development, execution, and measurement.”

Conclusion

An agile marketing mindset helps marketing teams position themselves for future success in a quickly-changing landscape. But to put themselves in a position to respond with agility, marketing leaders must take steps now to build and establish an agile mindset. By focusing on Skills, Data, and Operations, smart CMOs can do just that, today.

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Why NVISION?

NVISION® is a marketing execution company helping Fortune 1000 organizations optimize their marketing supply chain process. We provide the expertise to simplify the creation, procurement, fulfillment, distribution and ongoing account management for customers’ printed marketing materials.

With nearly 100 years of supply chain management expertise in streamlining operations, leveraging buying power and creating innovative solutions, we reduce cost and increase speed-to-market. NVISION provides dedicated experts that understand clients’ brand standards, internal processes, deadlines, and distribution needs.

We manage every step of the process to deliver marketing operations – simplified.

See how NVISION can help your business | Let’s start a conversation about your complimentary assessment!

3 Marketing Tips to Deliver ROI Accountability

For marketing teams everywhere, the name of the game is ROI. From budget to revenue to cost reduction, no figure reflects a CMO’s performance in the eyes of the C-Suite more than the return on investment. The best organizations don’t leave ROI to chance. In fact, they plan for it by building ROI accountability directly into their marketing plans. That’s according to Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review, who explains that with discipline and foresight, marketing teams can give their ROI accountability a head start for the coming quarters.

Here are the top three tips for ROI accountability in marketing.

Create a Single Point of Truth for Marketing Inventory and Resources

Taking stock of the assets, inventory, and resources at your disposal is a critical first step towards ROI accountability. Especially in larger organizations, this can be a challenge. With multiple vendors, distributors, delivery timelines, invoices, warehouses, and more, just getting a clear understanding of what’s at your fingertips can give even the bravest CMO pause.

Gallo goes further, explaining that for many organizations, it simply makes more sense to outsource this business process to an expert. “Recognize areas where it may be more cost effective to partner with an agency rather than trying to bootstrap a solution on your own,” she says. Think of this exercise as a sort of audit for your marketing procurement process. If you can’t see and understand every link in the supply chain, you simply cannot identify areas prime for optimization and cost reduction.

Build a Marketing Schedule That Sticks

Time can make fools of us all, but it doesn’t have to for your marketing organization. That’s why it’s so important to plan, establish, and stick to a schedule. Your team should do this upfront, before solidifying your strategy for the quarter.

“Set clear milestones and deadlines for each [asset]… We recommend scheduling team check-ins in advance around deadlines for key deliverables,” Gallo explains. Not only do these check-ins keep everyone accountable, but they help ensure that every member of your team knows what is expected of them and when, and gives them proactive opportunities to push back against unattainable deadlines.

But anyone can make a schedule. Sticking to it is the real key. In modern marketing, customer demands shift nearly every week. The ability to adhere to strict timelines helps guarantee that your marketing operations remain flexible, on-message, and poised to capitalize in a timely manner on any new development or opportunity. As noted above, business process outsourcing (BPO) for the procurement of physical marketing materials can help build this schedule. With experience and best practices around timelines and delivery, a trusted partner can provide both realistic deadlines and baked-in reporting, so visibility and accountability remain top priorities for your organization.

Focus on Your Marketing Activities that Matter

This is another area where BPO can be hugely beneficial. Outsourcing generally provides higher ROI by applying expert talent, best practices, and buying power to your marketing operations, not only improving the effectiveness of your marketing materials, but also significantly lowering the costs of each procurement.

The C-Suite wants to see the bottom line. “Connect your marketing activities to ROI by tracking the path from strategy to tactic,” Gallo says. “Show how each step helps build a program that leads to a shared business goal.” Looping in a trusted partner can secure that bottom line, take unnecessary work off your already-full plate, and help ensure that marketing hits every one of the targets it outlines. With the support of the leadership team, marketing is free to aggressively pursue every opportunity.

Smart marketing teams always build ROI accountability directly into their marketing plans. By partnering with NVISION to optimize your marketing procurement and operations, you can stick to the plan.

 

Taking careful stock of the assets, inventory, and resources at your disposal is a critical first step towards ROI accountability.

 

The ability to adhere to strict timelines helps your marketing operations remain agile for any new developments or opportunities.

 

Connect your marketing activities to ROI by tracking the path from strategy to execution.