How marketers achieve the velocity and volume required for modern campaign orchestration

CMO's latest roundtable brings marketing and media leaders together to talk about the state of marketing campaign management and how the pandemic, personalisation and channel proliferation are driving change

It’s one thing for brand marketers to build a campaign proposition, creative concept and marketing plan they’re happy with. It’s quite another to orchestrate the work with speed, consistency and agility.

Rising volumes of customisable creative and content assets are required for ever-fragmented media channels and to take advantage of programmatic advertising and digital opportunities. Throw in an unprecedented ability to optimise campaigns inflight, growing stakeholder and personalisation content requirements, plus the Covid-19 pandemic, and you have a perfect storm of forces transforming brand and campaign management workflows today. 

The very real challenges 12 Australian marketing and media leaders face adapting campaign systems to modern marketing channels and needs was the topic du jour during the latest CMO virtual roundtable, held in partnership with Sesimi.

From brand asset tools, processes, technologies and data supporting responsive campaign and creative workflows and complex media outputs, to considerations and compromises marketers are making as they look to improve velocity and volume of content, marketers agree campaign orchestration is getting a shake-up. And thanks to the adaptability they’ve had to exhibit these last 20 months, there’s a desire to keep innovating approaches, too.

So what does it take to adapt to the new brand and campaign management normal? Here, we highlight elements of the roundtable discussion, including how creative automation solutions can help resolve the orchestration challenge.

The status quo

Arguably, the biggest disruptor the past 18 months has been the global pandemic. Covid presented all marketers, regardless of category, size and scope, with the imperative to adapt, pivot and change campaigns, media channels, programs of work and brand narratives on the fly.

Roundtable attendees shared stories of extreme flexibility across ways of working, campaign creative production, management and activation. Timescales compressed as the need to be flexible grew. Some scenarios marketers tackled included contact-less services and product delivery, quickfire responses to address retail closures, adjusting tourism and travel offers as state and local areas open and shut and consumer travel sentiment fluctuated, and exponential growth in home renovation – when the tradesmen were allowed in.

Broader business growth ambitions didn’t stop either. Even as it launched contact-less pet care services and product delivery and respond to changing retail conditions, PetBarn parent company, Greencross, has been working on an ambitious growth agenda. With that in mind, chief marketing officer, Adriane McDermott, has been shaking up the way the brand portfolio looks and feels.

“This creates a ripple effect thought every email, digital display ad, piece of collateral, poster and social tile,” she said. “We’ve just changed our parent company name, repositioning to Greencross Pet Wellness Company for future growth, plus rolled out a rebrand and endorsement mark for our Greencross Vet clinics, Healthy Pets Plus program and Webvet nationally.”

GreenCross wraps all products and services under five ‘pillars of wellness’ – nutrition, health, comfort, training and play.

“What this has given us is a framework for how we bring customers on a journey both physically and digitally through pet wellness products in retail and services. Everything we do is grounded in data insights about where pet parents are in this journey, depending on the life stage of their pet and how many pillars they engage with,” McDermott continued. “The personalisation imperative is most important to us in serving up pet parents the right products and content at the right time in their journey.”

At payments provider, Tyro, the past 12 months brought with it a partnership with Bendigo Bank to exclusively provide merchant acquiring services, plus the acquisition of health fintech, Medipass Solutions.

“With the Bendigo Bank alliance, we have developed completely new ways of operating to enable them to offer Tyro’s payments products including rethinking the entire customer journey and co-branding experience,” Tyro chief marketing officer, Lisa Vitaris, said. “With Medipass, we are developing new ways to operate across both marketing teams while still being able to deliver at the speed required.”

These changes only add to the volume and variety of content and creative Vitaris’ team needs to produce and manage.

“With our business customers, differentiated campaigns acknowledging their differences achieve the most cut-through. Add to that the proliferation of media channels and our requirements could easily escalate for our predominantly in-house creative studio team,” Vitaris said. “Our focus is therefore to deliver creative, campaigns and content at scale. All of our creative ladders up to our main ‘innovation’ positioning.”

Many attendees also shared efforts to find more suitable operating models for marketing team management, or better cope with unique industry needs. In a globally networked context, for instance, marketing teams need to operate in a certain way – just think of organisations like Austrade or tourism bodies as examples.

Yet this presents challenges when looking to find efficiencies and agility around campaign and workflow management, as well as push through necessary changes at a higher velocity than ever before. Attendees identified pros and cons operating both decentralised and centralised models and, in many cases, are building shared services to unite geographically distinct teams with unique local market needs.

Velocity and volume game

Velocity and volume of content is the overriding reality. One retail marketer cited exponential demand from internal stakeholders for more content assets.

“We activate in so many channels, let alone with paid media. The request from other teams in the business – such as onsite and personalisation teams – has resulted in a proliferation of content required,” the retail marketer said. “Stakeholders are wanting more. While we have the data, how do you make a decision based on that, then optimise it? It’s one thing to request assets to go out, but do they drive value?

“We’re starting to look at it from resource point of view, and in terms of the effort, value and time to do it, as well as content management of it.”

Personalising creative to suit nuanced customer segments and needs is another must. The rise of TikTok, along with digital video, are further opportunities many marketers are trying to navigate.

“Every high-performing team wants to be able to smash through campaigns with messaging and creative that cuts through the clutter, fast,” McDermott commented. “Since the mainstay of our media plans are ‘always-on’, we have a need to be constantly optimising for effectiveness.

“Our new GM digital and ecommerce, Sandra Sinclair, uses the term ‘content velocity’, which I love and I’ve adopted. It really means: How do we keep pace with the campaign material required without driving people crazy with new iterations of creative?” 

Then you have Covid-19’s unique communication and customer impact.

“Let's face it, Covid has changed everything over the past 18 months,” Hipages chief customer officer, Stuart Tucker, said. “It’s tested all of us, but also forced the team to adopt new processes and ruthlessly prioritise their efforts.”

Tucker highlighted group recognition of the value measuring results in real time and rapidly adjusting to market dynamics can bring.

“The marketing team is empowered to move fast, make changes and get work to market as soon as possible. They have access to data via our BI tool and can generally understand the impact of campaign activity in close to real time,” he said. “This has been particularly important during the recent lockdowns, as activity was developed in response to the rapidly changing environment for tradies and homeowners. I genuinely believe our ability to respond at pace was a competitive advantage. At times, the team was able to get critical communications to our customers within hours.”

Of particular importance for Tyro has been getting tone of voice right responding to constantly changing conditions across each area it operates in. These were apparent before Covid, but more recently required teams to adapt to state-by-state lockdowns and retailers opening and closing their doors or going online.

“Providing the right content at the right time is critical,” Vitaris says.

Up next: The inevitable campaign compromises marketing teams are marketing, plus the rise of creative automation

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