How the Pandemic Has Changed the Relationship Between Brands and Their Marketing Partners

By Jennifer Choo


The pandemic has forever changed many aspects of our lives, from the way we live to the way we work and everything in-between. Consumer mindsets have also shifted, so the marketing strategies that engage them must adapt accordingly. As a result, brands across the board are updating their strategies and requirements for their marketing partnerships.

As we dive head first into the endemic era, marketing teams are restructuring and pivoting their strategies to meet the needs of the everchanging modern market.  Consumers are calling for more transparent marketing, data privacy is evolving in the blink of an eye, and the need for more robust omnichannel marketing strategies is more critical than ever before. 
Individually, these demands are a tall order in the best of times. In the current landscape, these evolutions, like the ever changing data privacy policies, can seem nearly impossible for teams to tackle on their own.  This is especially challenging for those teams that have been downsized or taken more inhouse in the wake of the pandemic.

While accessibility of platforms, software, and channels is easier to obtain than ever before, no team can possibly master every single one. This is why marketing partnerships are more crucial now than they ever have been.  

But the relationships and expectations between marketing teams and their solutions partners have changed as a result of the pandemic as well. Savvy brand marketing teams know that the key to modern marketing success is agility, which means the partners that they engage with need to provide flexible solutions to meet the everchanging demands of the market.

Siloed Solutions Are Out

In the months after the initial impacts of the pandemic, marketing teams began to understand how the shifts to digital shopping and personalization would significantly impact their current strategies.  As perceptive teams adapted their methodologies to accommodate these changes, they expected their partners to follow suit.  

In some cases, marketing solutions partners with the foresight and agility to adapt began to pivot their offerings to create solutions based on new and evolving needs, while others were slow to take up the cause. Those partners that stuck to a siloed solution offering have fallen by the wayside, as marketing team leaders across a variety of industries restructured budgets and evaluated the best way to maintain ROI through the turmoil.  

Now over a year and a half out, we see many pandemicdriven marketing trends become the norm, and the leveraging of agile full-service marketing partnerships is one of them. 

Strategic Partnerships Are Helping Brands Evolve

Some teams have struggled with identifying what to keep in house and what to outsource to a flexible solutions partner. With all of the available tools at our fingertips, this can be a real challenge. 

As sighted by Theorem founder and CEO Jay Kulkarni in a recent podcast, “If a brand needs to grow, retain, and attract audiences, there are only so many things they can master, so you need to determine what your core DNA is. For everything else you will need to lean on experts, which is where the flexibility comes in.

Brands must determine which elements of their marketing must be driven by in-house teams because of their brand and brand purpose knowledge. “A lot of these brands have the technology chops and have very strong purpose in their DNA which is something that needs to be kept in house. You can’t outsource purpose.” says Kulkarni. When taking this approach to in-housing vs outsourcing to partners, most brand marketing teams should have an easier time identifying what implementations need to be in-house team driven and which can be implemented and monitored by the right knowledgeable partner. 

Agility Is the Key to Success

The overarching theme of the new endemic era is agility. This holds true for inhouse marketing teams as well as the partnerships they engage in.

“Everything around us is becoming flexible, it’s just not the flexible future of marketing so to speak but the overall way we live and engage is changing and is flexible.” – Jay Kulkarni, Founder & CEO, Theorem

Marketing teams fully expect more evolutions to marketing strategies and trends and will continue to adapt to meet the needs of the consumer market. 

In every aspect of our lives, the theme of the future is flexible and digital marketing is no exception. Marketing solutions partners who rise to the challenge and adapt their solutions to meet the current and future needs of their brand partners are the ones who will succeed.


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