It goes without saying that the past year has been a time of momentous change for marketers. In previous articles, I addressed how CMOs and leaders have had to navigate an array of emerging trends, from new digital demands and customer preferences to growing workforce dispersion and diversity. These shifts have undoubtedly reshaped the marketing landscape as we know it and led leaders to seek new operating models and digital solutions to keep pace.
Now, as ongoing global disruption ushers in a new digital and hybrid era, it’s time for leaders to embrace that there’s no turning back. According to McKinsey, the future of work is hybrid, and Forrester dubbed 2022 the “year to be bold” as demands only grow stronger. Strategic marketing leaders must reshape their agenda in line with these new realities to find success this year.
So, where should leaders focus as they reenvision their organizations for the road ahead? Let’s look at the top four areas leaders must prioritize to gain a competitive advantage in 2022:
1. The cost of ineffective communication: Overcome the growing business impact of poor communication to adapt and scale.
Success in a digital workplace requires agility to reinvent operations, but one essential—and overlooked—factor hinders marketers from driving growth: ineffective communication.
In fact, new data released by Grammarly and The Harris Poll estimates U.S. businesses lose up to $1.2 trillion annually due to poor workplace communication—or $12,506 per employee every year. This is especially true for communications-heavy functions like marketing. And now, evolving workforce and customer demands are continuing to amplify the impact of poor communication across organizations.
From the surge of e-commerce and omnichannel to the rapid adoption of new digital tools, brands and customers are showing up and interacting in more ways and places than ever before. In this landscape, achieving clear, compelling, and consistent communication—no matter the channel or context—is critical for both productivity and engagement.
By building a foundation of effective communication internally and externally, leaders will build resilience to grow faster, control costs, and create reimagined experiences for customers and employees alike.
2. CX as a growth driver: Address ongoing market disruptors by delivering exceptional experiences that balance quality and efficiency.
New market disruptions are driving a renewed focus on the brand and customer experience, at a time when it’s increasingly critical to business success.
As consumer spending continues to overwhelm supply chains, experts predict that inflation and higher prices will continue to worsen. This will lead to a far higher bar in customer expectations to pay those prices. In response, CX will reach a critical turning point this year as business and marketing leaders must double down on the customer experience to justify rising costs and keep pace with demands.
Success for brands will come down to a delicate balance of meeting customer expectations with both quality and efficiency—i.e., keeping up with high spending patterns while delivering a better, more consistent experience. Leaders must overcome unwanted brand variability across channels and equip teams with the right tools to quickly and consistently meet customer needs.
Those who deliver consistently compelling experiences will gain an advantage so that when supply chains normalize, they’ve cemented a loyal customer base.
3. The rise of employee empowerment: Engage employees—and customers—by building an empowered work environment that promotes confidence.
Marketers can no longer ignore that the employee and customer experience are inextricably linked. Successful CX depends on first building engaged, productive teams who effectively represent the brand.
But from the “Great Resignation” that shows no signs of slowing down to increasing globalization creating more cross-cultural teams, it’s never been more challenging to engage and retain all employees. In a world where employees have increasing choice, delivering exceptional employee experiences will become a foremost differentiator. In fact, research shows business leaders are prioritizing employee satisfaction and retention this year—ahead of team productivity and customer satisfaction.
Leaders that deliver a new, location-agnostic approach to EX—i.e., reinventing experiences to be engaging and seamless, no matter the location or context—will come out ahead. Employee empowerment will be at the core of this approach as leaders must embrace new tools and strategies designed to enhance employees’ potential, grow their confidence, and help them be more productive wherever they are.
This focus on empowerment will underpin the digital workplace, lead to new customer and brand experiences, and redefine productivity with experience at the center.
4. Empathy as an imperative: Prioritize the human connection to meet customer and employee needs.
In many ways, the constraints of the past two years often made interactions more impersonal and transactional. This lack of human connection has left customers and employees alike desiring more empathy and emotionally sensitive support from employers and brands.
But that’s a daunting task when paired with the shift to a hybrid workplace and influx of digital touchpoints that have cropped up in recent months. This leaves marketers with a dual challenge: Keep pace with the sheer amount of interactions happening across systems while delivering higher quality in all of those engagements.
In response, leaders must invest in empathy in the workplace as a strategic business priority. Human-centric technologies play a vital role in this process by helping teams move faster while maintaining the humanity of a brand. With automated and integrated solutions like communication augmentation platforms, leaders can infuse more of a human touch, strike the right tone, and create more genuine connections with employees and customers in all the places they’re already engaging.
As we tread forward, CMOs and marketing leaders must embrace that uncertainty is the only constant they can expect. As Forrester emphasized, the time to be bold is now—and tremendous opportunity awaits for those who reimagine the status quo.
By focusing on the above areas—investing in effective communication, delicately balancing new customer and employee needs, and prioritizing empathy and human connection—marketers will be well-poised to adapt and grow this year and beyond.
For more on how to reimagine success in the hybrid-work era and the business impact of poor communication, download the report, “The State of Business Communication: The Backbone of Business Is Broken,” and visit www.grammarly.com/business.
This sponsored article was written by Dorian Stone, head of organizations revenue, Grammarly.