Google's "Digital Agility Week: Adjust & Adapt" focused on staying agile in uncertain times, and look deeply at strategies to address core business challenges. Here are my top 3 takeaways for digital marketing leaders.

Google hosted the Google Agility Week: Adjust & Adapt, a programme of online events for Google Partners focused around growth in the “new normal” business landscape. I’ve had a chance to reflect on the most important messages, and in this post I’ll cover some of the key takeaway and insights from the sessions.

As the world grapples with a global pandemic, growth is not necessarily top of mind for everyone — but against this new enforced backdrop of “uncertainty is business as usual,” how do we continue to drive responsible and sustainable growth?

Creative is at the heart of digital success

The power of data, machine learning and artificial intelligence enables us to deliver high precision, highly targeted campaigns. Automation is top of mind for all great digital marketers.

But just connecting with the right people using the right data isn’t enough. What we say when we get there matters just as much, and this means that having the right creative powering your campaigns is a critical to overall success.

Your creative output is what people actually see — so whilst data and automation remain critical parts of any campaign, the same rigour must also be applied to the creative component of digital campaigns.

Studies show that, on average,  up to 70% of campaign performance depends on the creative — a stat that is often overlooked in the age of data and hypertargeted marketing.

Its time to get serious about your campaign creatives.

 

Ecommerce and kerbside growth is dramatically increasing digital complexity

The pandemic and ensuing lockdown has sharply accelerated the move to online ordering and home shopping, with a huge rise in searches for home and leisure shopping — a  trend that is likely to remain remain with retailers for some time.

We’ve also seen a continuing connection between online and offline commerce, with 26% of shoppers picking up in-store or kerbside instead of home delivery. It’s clear that the physical experience remains an integral part of retail — suggesting a much bigger scale of omni-channel and more complex digital landscape than ever before.

Staying ahead in this new competitive landscape will become ever more demanding, and will require new ways of marketing.

 

Adopt your personalisation strategy for the privacy age with first-party data

In this increasingly saturated online market due to the recent effects of Covid-19, personalisation is a critical way of staying ahead.

However, user demand for additional privacy has pushed increased regulation and higher controls from browsers — and platforms are quickly moving to meet these rising expectations. This is putting even greater strains on the advertising and marketing landscape, as traditional tracking and personalisation routes become increasingly restricted.

To stay ahead, you need to shift your focus to a privacy-first mindset.

So, how do we continue to drive for personalisation in the privacy age? Focus on the Value Exchange

To match rising expectations of personalisation and the rise of privacy, we need to adapt. So, how do we do it?

Users won’t engage with marketing if they don’t clearly understand the value exchange — it’s a two-way relationship, where customers will expect value in exchange for their trust.

This drives a greater need for personalisation and relies on more relevant personalised content, but also an ad ecosystem that’s built on trust, user relationship and brand connections. Overall, it means a sustained move away from invasive third-party cookies and tracking strategies.

First party data statistic

 

Automate everything… and make it creative

Automation is absolutely imperative — there isn’t one human that can master what is coming next, in terms of complexity, speed and scale.

A core part of any future digital strategy needs to rely on letting the machines find the Whitespace — the narrow, marginal spaces where we can get results based on the goals we have set in this increasingly complex and saturated marketplace.

And once the machine has found that perfect whitespace, then presenting the user with compelling and persuasive content is the one-two punch to success.

Automation combined with creativity is the only way we can be agile enough to win — and be profitable in the future.

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