December 15th, 2020

Here are the 5 Marketing Strategies you Need to Know When Everything Changes

Brave New Worlds 2020, our inaugural two-day virtual summit held on October 15 and 16, 2020, brought together the world's most respected leaders to address some of the hardest problems in digital transformation, marketing technology, and data science. This is the fourth in a series of seven blog posts recapping highlights of this event.


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The year 2020 will forever be marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the incredible toll—human, social, economic—it continues to leave in its wake. But it's in times of crisis that real leaders emerge. That's true in life, in politics, and, certainly in business, too. And when the ground shifts, marketing matters greatly because it allows business leaders to have their ear to the ground, recognize where the tremors are coming from, adapt, and pivot for growth.

Alison Lewis, Chief Growth Officer at Kimberly-Clark, is one of those rare leaders. She's been in the trenches, with direct responsibility for some of the most iconic consumer brands in the world—at Kimberly-Clark certainly, but also at J&J, The Coca-Cola Company, and Kraft Foods over an illustrious career spanning thirty years—and she describes the past six months as "some of the most unsettling, volatile, yet at the same time, weirdly exciting times" she's experienced.

Alison shared her insights about the pandemic, and the lessons she and her team have drawn from it, in an inspiring keynote address at the Brave New Worlds conference this past October. It was an invigorating take on why marketing matters, and the role the right marketing strategies can play in reshaping a company's priorities—not just to survive the immediate short-term crisis, but to build stronger fundamentals to thrive in the future.

What can we learn from Alison's presentation?


5 Marketing Strategies to Adopt

Strategy #1: Find purpose in what you're doing

What Lewis calls "grow for good." Consumers are people first. They're afraid for their lives, concerned about where the next paycheck will come from, and unsure who to trust anymore. Learn how the Cottonelle and Kotex teams at Kimberly-Clark seized the occasion to remind their customers of their shared humanity, and to reinforce the values the brands stand for.

Strategy #2: Double down on omnichannel marketing

The shifts we've seen in consumer behavior this year (online shopping, takeout, click and collect, new viewing habits, etc.) didn't happen overnight, but the pandemic brought them to the fore, and it's hard to imagine that consumers will revert back to the old ways once the pandemic is over. See how Kimberly-Clark developed new direct-to-consumer functionalities to be better positioned moving forward.

Strategy #3: Recognize the shifts and lean into the tailwinds

When change happens, it happens fast, and it’s crucial to recognize the opportunity and stake a claim before your competitors do. Lewis tells us how her team was able to think like a startup and develop a new product line for Kleenex that was launched in record time to fill a glaring "white space" in the market.

Strategy #4: Understand the intricacies of the consumer journey

Today, you need a performance-marketing mindset. Many consumer brands see retailers as the primary points of contact for consumers, and, as a result, produce advertising campaigns that are too generic, and too focused on reach and frequency. Disconnected from the realities on the ground. But every touchpoint is an opportunity to learn: Lewis calls it the "multiplier effect."

Strategy #5: Invest in the new culture

All companies have had to work differently this year, and, it turns out, most employees have loved it. Why go back to the old ways? Agile marketing is a new culture where quick decision-making, growth-hacking, and constant adjustments have become the norm. It’s intoxicating, and we should all embrace it for the long-term.

There will come a day when the pandemic will be a distant memory, but the marketing strategies we’ve already drawn from it are here to stay.

Watch the video above to get the full story about why, more than ever, marketing and the right marketing strategies matter.

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