A Marketer’s Guide to Creating Clarity in Chaos

Marketing professionals are no strangers to change, but the pace and complexity of today's environment presents some real challenges and may seem daunting at times. However, by labelling and embracing this chaos, marketers can not only survive, but thrive. Amidst the chaos there is an opportunity for growth and innovation.


Nomonde Keswa, Strategy Director, Delta Victor Bravo


Business Brief

Key Challenges Faced by Marketers

Pace of technological progress
The sheer pace of progress in technology, driven by advancements like Generative AI, has transformed every aspect of daily life. For marketers, this rapid evolution presents both opportunities and challenges. Generative AI has revolutionised creativity, productivity, and media consumption, ushering in a new era of marketing possibilities. It has also disrupted traditional marketing strategies and threatened the role of human creativity and reasoning.

Shifts in consumer behaviour
Consumer behaviour is undergoing drastic shifts, driven by factors like demographic changes and cultural trends. The rise of the younger generations has disrupted traditional marketing paradigms, requiring brands to adopt more non-linear approaches, alongside traditional models. The fundamentals of the customer purchase journey, from awareness to consideration to action, still holds true but has become more nuanced. Younger consumers have blurred priorities and ever-changing influences across the journey and their decisions are made in sometimes unpredictable loops brought on by social media inspiration and real-time, frictionless actions. Linked to this, consumer expectations in any category have become highly influenced by experiences in other categories (no matter how unrelated the expectation may seem).

Data overload
In today’s era of information overload, marketers have access to an unprecedented amount of data which is a nice problem to have. However, this plethora of information can lead to analysis paralysis, where marketers struggle to translate data into actionable insights. The challenge lies not in the availability of data, but in the ability to distil meaningful insights from the data. Also, knowing when to pause and trust existing insights prevents the dilution of valuable information.

Doing More with Less
Constrained budgets and heightened expectations for efficiency have become the new normal for marketers. But rather than viewing these constraints as limitations, marketers should embrace them as opportunities for creativity and innovation. The expectation of doing more with less can inspire fresh thinking and propel marketers to find new solutions to complex problems.

Labelling and Embracing The Chaos

It’s worth spending time describing the ‘chaos’ in detail right upfront to better define strategies in the face of constraint. It’s not something to be glossed over or underplayed. When it comes to brand positioning, for example, the biggest opportunity for marketers to bring real progress to their categories, is to identify and accurately label what we call a “monster” in challenger thinking – something big and scary that a brand might want to eradicate for the benefit of customers and the category.

  • Define a single big question. This keeps everyone focused on constantly asking and answering the right question. This question becomes the lens through which all information inputs are viewed and filtered, helping to create perspective and clarity.
  • Invest in a ‘single source of truth’ This consolidates all marketing and sales data across the organisation into a shared reference point from which to draw actionable insights. Data and the integration of different sources of data across the organisation can be daunting, complicated and expensive (especially when we consider often outdated legacy systems in place), but it is the single most important investment an organisation can make in response to the dynamic consumer environment. HubSpot
  • Build from the customer’s vantage point. It is important for marketers to understand and leverage the interconnectedness of various elements that impact the overall customer experience. There is a real opportunity to leverage omni-channel synergies – consumers are everywhere all at the same time. Align messaging and offers across platforms, making it seamless for the consumer to navigate back and forth, and to make a purchase action across different touchpoints. Understanding customer journeys through their eyes (not the product lens) is essential in order to get sharper with the targeting of campaigns.

One example of successfully labelling and embracing chaos is Spotify. Spotify experienced a serious knock in revenue in 2020, with shrinking advertising budgets. They re-positioned their entire business model and brand from a music streaming platform for recorded artists, to a go-to destination platform for all audio: from news, live talk, audio books, and education. The re-imagined user experience has become a personal “feed”, inspiring deeper connection and discovery for creators and users. Today, Spotify plays in 184 countries, has 7,400 employees and $9.7 billion in annual sales. It is now worth $4.4 billion (Forbes).

In summary, chaos is not something to be feared but embraced – it certainly cannot be ignored. By acknowledging the challenges and complexities of today’s marketing environment and adopting strategies for navigating chaos, marketers can drive effective engagement with consumers and shape the future of marketing.