Hybrid Marketing Success for Uncertain Times: 4 Must-Have’s


By Maria Geokezas, VP of Client Services at Heinz Marketing

Not much has been certain over the last year.  We’ve changed from in-person to virtual to hybrid events.  We’ve moved from working in offices to working remotely and soon we’ll all move to some type of hybrid workspace.  What the pandemic has taught us, is that being agile, thinking in hybrid marketing formats is the only approach marketers can be certain of.  So, we might as well prepare for it.

What does hybrid marketing mean? 

A hybrid approach to marketing has been used to reference a melding of traditional and digital channels.  Also described as omnichannel or multi-channel marketing.  But really, hybrid isn’t only about which channels you use to reach your customers.  Today, hybrid must also utilize a higher level of customer insight to be smart and nimble.  A hybrid approach to marketing means utilizing all the tools in your marketing toolbox to read the market and seamlessly address to your customers’ needs.

4 Hybrid Marketing Strategy Must-Have’s

Hybrid marketing allows organizations to respond quickly to market changes, minimize risk, more effectively manage costs, and extend reach with more customized approaches.  These benefits to hybrid marketing hinge upon having a solid strategy.  Without it, hybrid marketing could turn into a rudderless approach to business and lead to disaster.  The key is planning ahead.

Conducive Organizational Structure

This is the time to pull out your organizational chart.  Examine the chart from the perspective of functionality and accountability.  Keep the people out of it for now.  Instead, focus on how you want information, responsibilities and approval to flow within your organization.  Determine the metrics each box on the org chart will be responsible for and sketch out the interdependencies between boxes and functional areas.  More agile marketing organizations tend to be more decentralized and push decision making to levels that are closer to the customer.

Right People/Right Skillsets

Typical marketing organizations divide roles by type of responsibility.  Marketing teams are typically delineated by what they do:  digital marketing, event marketing, content marketing, marketing ops, marketing analytics, etc.  This creates skillsets that are specialized around a certain marketing function.  That specialization could slow the organization’s ability to respond quickly to changing market trends.    As an organization, you must be channel agnostic and have the fortitude to switch channels, content themes and types as the market moves.  Which means your marketers must be generalists at heart.  They must be able to think strategically but act tactically.

Deep Understanding of the Ideal Customer

Organizations that have a solid definition of their ideal customer have the greatest advantage in a hybrid marketing environment.  A customer focus is key to any marketing strategy.  In times of uncertainty, intimately know your customer, the environment in which they operate and the situations and decisions they face daily will make or break your business.  With a 360-degree perspective of your customer, your USP doesn’t change.  Instead, how you use the brand messaging to engage your customer changes.  The channels and type of content used might change but the key benefits of using your product do not.

Focus on Business Outcomes

Smart and agile strategies rely on a focused set of trusted metrics.  Your reporting should provide a full-funnel view of marketing and sales performance metrics.  From channel performance metrics like clicks, to campaign engagement metrics like content consumption by type, by buyer persona; these metrics should point to effectiveness of your marketing spend.  With an effective marketing tech stack, inefficiencies and gaps will quickly be identified and trigger decisions about where and how to shift spend.  Work to ensure the metrics are aligned across business units in advance so that decisions can happen quickly.  How you measure the success of a hybrid marketing strategy might change, but what you measure should not.

Have you adjusted your marketing strategies to be more agile, flexible, responsive?  If so, what has been the most effective thing you have done to be successful?  And what pitfalls have you found?