Will the road back be the road less travelled?

Luke Baweja

It’s ironic how relevant the phrase “the road less travelled” has become in today’s world. With businesses and individuals working through the complexities that COVID-19 has brought, we are now eager to travel down that road, to a new normal. Question is, what will that look like? And what can we in marketing learn and apply to our practices for the future?

The “New” Normal

The first steps to a successful return have been well stipulated by the government, with the rollout of the three stage plan and the COVIDSafe app. With these measures in place, we can start to see the progress Australia is making towards the normal we seek. Ultimately though, these guidelines are exactly what they are, guidelines, and they rely on businesses and individuals to do the right thing. Autonomy has never been valued more.

At the end of the day, businesses and individuals will need to ensure they are being safe and let common sense and good practices prevail. For example, the way we approach personal and office hygiene will shape how our day-to-day activities will operate, focusing on an individual’s health and safety. It is important to remember though, that whilst we are looking inwards at ourselves, we must also look outwards, in strengthening and maintaining our professional relationships. The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts, and those relationships will be essential in making progress and moving forward, both in terms of our professional resilience along with our personal well-being.

The “New” Vision

In adapting to these circumstances, we have seen a rapid increase in digital transformation to support the demands of businesses and individuals alike. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that ‘we have seen 2 years’ worth of digital transformation in 2 months’1 and expectations may be that we continue on this road. Digital transformation is inevitable, but what we have learned is that it can be done quickly and efficiently, paving the way forward for a more digital work experience.

With more innovation, comes more flexibility. Working from home is now a more attractive option, as is our capacity to maintain our performance online. For marketers, this new vision changes how we approach campaigns. Will previous practices be as effective within the new working landscape? And how can we best communicate to our audiences in their new spaces? With the exponential rise in digitisation, there should be greater investment and rollout of online elements to campaigns. Digital channels enable us to track our campaign progression with a lot more consistency and accuracy than traditional or offline channels allow, opening doors to possibilities perhaps not fully considered before. In the ever-changing realm of digital transformation, marketers should be ready to take the road less travelled, pushing the boundaries and exploring new opportunities.

The “New” Frontier

How should marketing manage this transition? In an industry renowned for its malleability, we are in a great position to adapt and advance towards this new frontier, utilising all possible resources along the way. Digital marketing may be the way forward, but data will be the foundation of how we get there. The power of data in today’s world is evident (just think of the COVIDSafe app), and marketing can use this power of data to create innovative and integrated campaigns.

Whilst the digital transformative sphere is not new, the velocity by which we’re progressing through it is. This is what defines this new era, this “Fourth Industrial Revolution”2. The digital environment has never been more important to marketing as it is now, and this new frontier allows for an abundance of opportunities. Problem is, it’s not a secret anymore, so how can you travel the road less taken when everyone else is looking to do the same? 

To stand out, marketing will need to be innovative and select in how it is created, and through the foundations of data and the exponential growth of processing power, it can. With ever-increasing digital capabilities, come ever-increasing marketing opportunities and this can present the road for marketers to advertise on a more personalised level. By intersecting data with digital marketing, marketers can create campaigns that are individualised, as an alternative route than performance marketing. In an era defined by leads, clicks and sales, a humanless approach to marketing will only deliver a humanless response, so it is our responsibility as marketers to evolve and adapt to this new frontier, to remain innovative and relevant.

Data-driven marketing will have a great impact on how we create campaigns and target audiences accordingly. With an increase in end-user digital touchpoints, the opportunities to advertise on this frontier are there for the taking. Ultimately, we must strive to think carefully, stretch our strategic imaginations, and challenge the status quo. Not only can we now follow the road less travelled, we can create that road ourselves. 



1 Dignan, L., 2020. What Does The New Normal Look Like Post COVID-19? 15 Cxos Answer. [online] ZDNet. Available at: <https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-does-the-new-normal-look-like-post-covid-19-15-cxos-answer/> [Accessed 26 May 2020].

2 Schwab, K., 2016. The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What It Means And How To Respond. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at: <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/> [Accessed 26 May 2020].

It’s ironic how relevant the phrase “the road less travelled” has become in today’s world. With businesses and individuals working through the complexities that COVID-19 has brought, we are now eager to travel down that road, to a new normal. Question is, what will that look like?


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