In research released Jan. 10, Kate Muhl, vice president analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice cited a U.S. Labor Department report that found a record 4.5 million workers, or 3% of the workforce, quit jobs in November 2021, matching the record set in September.

How does the latest record statistic in the so-called Great Resignation affect marketing leaders?

“Marketers must recognize that consumers are in the midst of an exhausting practical and spiritual overhaul,” Muhl said in a Gartner press release. “That presents an opportunity for their brands to be facilitators of change. Consumers are valuing themselves more. Because of this, brands must emphasize their values that speak to topics that include authenticity, identity and self-esteem.”

So, just how are marketing leaders prioritizing roles and responsibilities for 2022?

Community Member Experience Innovation

Brittanie Williams, chief marketing officer of Earnin, said her company’s 2022 priorities will center on improving and innovating on its community member experience. FinTech, for which Earnin specializes, is a rapidly-changing space with products becoming both more specialized.  “COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how people see work,” she said. "They’re demanding better options, including more timely pay. As Americans continue to balance living paycheck-to-paycheck, it becomes more important to be a brand that’s convenient and reliable. We want to provide customers choices that support their financial well-being.”

She’s seen a convergence of what were once stand-alone products into a single service or app. Traditional banks are also making moves to address the areas FinTechs have sought to disrupt. “Having a brand that connects beyond the transactional becomes more important in this environment,” Williams said. “With so much choice, the challenge is to build a long-term relationship with customers. We see the primary way to do this is by building based on consumers’ needs and delivering consistently. For us, this will take many forms, thinking not just of their financial journey, but what finance means in the context of life.”

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Building Out Awareness, Value-Messaging

David Kirven, chief marketing officer at Reltio, said the big focus for 2022 is elevating the brand, both in building greater awareness and broadening messaging on the value his company delivers and the outcomes it helps customers drive in the Master Data Management (MDM) category. “We will be focused on how this elevation of the brand impacts our share of voice, but more importantly, its impact on widening the top of our sales funnel,” Kirven said.

Further, Kirven will also be focused early this year on accelerating hiring to scale his organization. The challenge lies in the general recruiting landscape; it is an extra-competitive battle for talent. “That said,” Kirven added, “we have been successful in bringing in top talent. Our ability to hire faster than our scaling will help us drive even greater growth for the business.” In such a tight hiring market brands need to articulate why their workplace is a great place to work, otherwise they can go elsewhere

Learning Opportunities

Additionally, Kirven and Reltio have a heightened commitment to be even closer to customers. This includes understanding their key insights and translating that insight to clear and compelling strategies that continually help be an even better partner for customers.

Proving Relevance to Customers

Zarina Lam Stanford, chief marketing officer of Bazaarvoice, said the scale of customers reaches global, regional and local markets around the world. But ultimately, she added, when it comes down to the individual level, it’s about the consumers. “Consumers and individuals are now guiding all businesses, brands, and retailers,” she said. “An organization’s brand is no longer dictated simply by how they market themselves — their brand is what consumers say it is,” she said. “So, we must all prove ourselves relevant to individual consumers more than ever, as they guide how our brand is perceived.”

For any company to stand out, including Bazaarvoice, marketing leaders must first understand the needs and preferences of shoppers and buyers as it creates relevance — why, where, what, and how they shop and buy, for example. “Since each shopper is unique, personalization is key,” Lam Stanford said. “And since we are appealing to individuals, the ability to humanize a brand will further elevate shopper and buyer engagement."

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Providing Support Throughout Customer Journey

Colson Hillier, chief marketing officer at Alorica, said alongside a shifting workforce is a rapidly-evolving global economy that has driven deeper furrows between the haves and have-nots across data, technology and customer engagement. “To enable our clients to successfully navigate these changes while keeping pace with growing consumer expectations, Alorica will continue to focus largely on providing consultative support throughout the customer journey,” Hillier said. “This requires integrating technology, people and processes to deliver business outcomes — speed, accuracy, satisfaction, flexibility, security and more. Companies will need to proactively take action based on data and insights and continue to test and learn, while up-leveling talent to meet evolving consumer engagement preferences.”

Effective measurement remains critical to successful digital transformation, he added. Every aspect of the business must contribute to the ROI across employees, processes and products. “To accomplish this, we must reduce friction across internal silos and invest in improvements to our data architecture,” Hillier said. “In addition, this approach requires defining the appropriate applications of that data, overcoming any blindspots and accurately visualizing these insights into outcomes for our own business and that of our clients.”