The pandemic is nearly history, but it has taught us lessons in resilience and agility in every sphere of our lives and livelihoods. It has altered buyers’ and customers’ behaviors, making them more digitally dependent and forcing sellers to embrace digitalization. As a result, we saw a rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry leading to many new digital-first marketplaces. But digitalization alone won’t make a difference.
There is a lot more to it.
Executives across the globe are prioritizing investments in capabilities that help accelerate growth. Traditional thinking and approaches are no longer enough to drive growth and ROI. Today, most CEOs (about 78 percent) are banking on their marketing leadership, including the CMO, to embrace new capabilities. What are these capabilities? What are they expected to do differently?
Seeking answers to these seminal questions, McKinsey and Company researched the top-performing companies. They found these companies invested in intangibles like creativity, analytics, and purpose and used them in a synergistic combination to create magic. The result? An almost 2.7 times revenue growth compared to peers. Interestingly, McKinsey and Company termed this integration ‘Growth Triple Play.
All three elements of ‘Growth Triple Play’ – Creativity, Analytics, and Purpose – are available with most companies, then why only seven percent of them could use them successfully? It’s a question that intrigues every marketer and C-suite executive.
This article will analyze how the top performers have done it differently.
What is 'Growth Triple Play?
It’s a term that reveals how creative you are, how you infuse creativity with analytics, and how you deploy analytics with purpose. It’s a simple, connect-the-dots approach. If done correctly, it addresses a contemporary urgency: engaging and bonding with consumers and buyers. It helps create targeted, personalized content, which has become the new normal.
It is no longer enough for companies to make and sell; they must tell stories about how, why, and for whom they make their products. And this inclusive approach produces impressive results.
Each element of the triple-tiered tactic is critical and putting them to work as a synergistic unit is key to pulling it off.
We can use the ‘Growth Triple Play’ elements to reinforce each other. The speed and granularity gifted by today’s analytics can have a more powerful effect when integrated with innovative, breakthrough ideas and programs. Both creativity and analytics will resonate with customers when connected to a purpose.
For example, Jane Wakely, the lead CMO of Mars, Incorporated, spoke of creating “shared and mutual value” with consumers through campaigns that improve our world. “We want to grab people’s attention in a cluttered world and then drive them to a collection of content that educates them about coral restoration and galvanizes them to join the effort to restore ocean health. It’s a magical way to open people’s minds and hearts and get them on board to drive a movement that makes a meaningful and measurable difference,” she said, talking about Mars’ SHEBA Hope Grows coral reef regrowth project off the Indonesian coast.
The significance of creativity in the marketplace is centuries old. Creativity is an indispensable part of the marketing story; indeed, it is the starting point, the origin of all breakthroughs and imaginative campaigns. Over time, marketing leadership has understood the importance of infusing creativity with analytics. But how to do it effectively?
Creativity comes from thinking and dreaming larger than life; it opens the door to new ideas and approaches in customer-centricity, i.e., attracting and delighting customers. Analytics provides information and data about the customers and their behaviors’ at a cellular level, unleashing creativity’s power. Analytics not only provides data but also helps make decisions faster. By infusing creativity with analytics, marketers can create meaningful moments for their customers and build active relationships.
If you want to excite customers, inspire employees, and galvanize investors, creating a ‘wow’ product alone will not do it. You must invest in that product with a purpose beyond its functionality. The purpose must be larger than life, not just to get the cash registers ringing. It can be fun yet meaningful, like taking a swing at outdated social mores, for example, or it can be to fight for a serious cause, social, environmental, or economic. But in all cases, it must seamlessly blend with the brand’s image and become intrinsic to its narrative.
Your product must become a consciousness that permeates consumers and buyers and expands their worldview; they must dread the thought of its absence. When you create this sense of attachment that transcends function, you have succeeded in making your product integrate with the inner world of the customer/buyer. It is the place where a product with purpose finds a lasting home.
Companies who work towards this goal lead the way. Their employees wake up with purpose daily, and their customers, buyers, and investors instinctively gravitate to such companies.
To understand it better, let’s imagine that purpose is like a well-placed window; it has a primary function (to keep out the elements, let in light, etc.), but it also gives you a view that ignites the imagination and makes your mind soar at the possibilities. Imagine if the window was not there.
Creating meaningful moments for customers requires analytical proficiency to discover their intentions, interests, and unmet needs. Marketers need to use purpose to identify which insights matter. Therefore, top-growth players prioritize flexibility in their analytics and data so everyone in the organization, starting from the C-suite level, can make better decisions. It leads to personalized content that provides meaningful moments to customers.
We must use the ‘Growth Triple Play’ elements to reinforce each other. The speed, scope, and granularity gifted by analytics can have a more powerful effect when integrated with creativity. Both creativity and analytics resonate with customers when they are connected to purpose.
A marketing leader who learns to integrate the three elements and activate them across their marketing panorama is 1.8 times more likely to be in the top quadrant of growth within their industries. McKinsey and Company’s research proves it is not a clutching-straws-in-the-wind theory.
CMOs and marketing leaders from the top-performing companies must understand which resources they need in-house and which specializations to outsource to implement the ‘Growth Triple Play’ factor successfully. Others must understand the value of working with external agencies that lead in capability areas such as strategizing and creating content exclusively to meet their needs and boost consumer/buyer engagement.
Merely selling a brand is passe; integrating it into the customer/buyer ecosystem to create enduring relationships is the new world order for the marketplace. What better way to do this than through content that births a shared heritage for manufacturers/companies and buyers/consumers?