It’s late Saturday morning. You showered, brushed your teeth, watched 10 TikTok videos your best friend sent. Now you’re ready to make breakfast. There’s just one problem—the fridge is empty.

You go to the grocery store and grab what you need. At the checkout, you have to decide: Left where the checker faces a customer with an overfilled cart or right to self-check with an occasionally unreliable machine?

You’ll probably choose right because you have more control and with control comes the potential for a faster experience. So it goes with marketing as well. “It’s that element of control that lets us do things quickly,” says Randy Frisch, a best-selling author of F#ck Content Marketing: Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships, and Uberflip’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.

At Managing Editor Live 2021, Frisch discussed why speed to market is essential to your business, crucial to the customer experience, vital to the overall success of the content experience, and how companies succeed by being faster to markets.

Speed Up Your Marketing Plans

When launching any campaign, the goal is to optimize the opportunity by hitting the target launch date. As marketing professionals know, that can be difficult for many reasons. Frisch notes a particular problem is when the campaign’s launch is simply not a top priority for the business, leading to a launch gap.

Frisch says a launch gap has three negative impacts on your company:

  1. Lack of Market Authority: “This is my nice, kind way of saying your competitors are beating you to the punch; they’re getting out there in a timely manner.”
  2. Missed Pipeline/Targets: “When we miss getting to market, we miss pipeline, we miss targets. [T]o miss this quarter of a launch can impact the pipeline and gain impact revenue targets in the quarters ahead.”
  3. Loss of Renewals: “[T]he reality [is] that a lot of us haven’t been able to grow. So we need to rely on our existing customer base. [I]f we don’t get updated new campaigns and messaging out to them, we may lose that renewal.”

Frisch offers two ways to prevent the gap. One is understanding that companies can guide customers on their journey, but not control it. The second is optimizing the technology available to you to ensure every part of your campaign is done at scale.

Elevate the Customer Experience

Almost everyone has a Netflix account (or, at least, access to someone else’s account). When you stream, it’s the specific content you want, when you want to watch it. The customer is in control.

In general, customers wish to operate at their own rate. They don’t want to cut their research short and make a purchase just because a business would like them to speed it up. “I want to research and buy at the pace that I want, not the one that you want,” explains Frisch. Companies must meet the customer in a personalized way, quickly and at scale. Since the pandemic has limited the number of face-to-face channels to help nurture the customer experience, Frisch states that means we must be more intentional in the digital world.

Specifically, a business needs to offer a personalized call-to-action (CTA). Too often, when a customer clicks on a CTA, the response they encounter is undeniably generic, which may cause the customer to walk away. “What we need to do is think about where you’re coming from, what we need to serve, and just as importantly, what needs to be served next,” Frisch advises.

Curious about other companies’ commitment to the customer experience, Frisch and his team researched to understand the definition of personalization in the eyes of customers and marketers. They found a huge disconnect. Marketers worried about the customer’s name, company, and industry. They were less interested in a seemingly vital question: Could they solve the customer’s problem? This, unsurprisingly, was what mattered to customers, who were frustrated when companies didn’t seem to take it seriously as well.

3 Companies Embracing Speed to Market-ing

While many companies have successfully adapted their speed to market strategy, Frisch highlights three that went above and beyond.

SAI Global: In March 2020, the company had a scheduled event they sponsored. The event was canceled due to the pandemic. Not wanting to disappoint the attendees who planned to travel to the event, the company converted the in-person event into a virtual one. They created and ran ads for LinkedIn, set up their webinar platform for presentations, and produced all the event content within a week. Due to their quick thinking, attendees could experience a high-quality virtual event from the safety and comfort of their homes.

Medtronic: They had field sales reps assigned to hospitals to support clinicians who used their ventilators. When the pandemic hit, suddenly, regulations prevented their reps from doing so. What did they do? They built one-to-one pages for all the hospitals using their products to help the clinicians understand how to run their systems and offered a call-to-action to contact a sales rep for more help.

TMLT: The pandemic caused them to realize that people need different messaging depending on who they sold through. They created detailed text-based emails and long-form content because TMLT wanted to be a knowledgeable source that their customers could rely on during that stressful time. They linked to relevant content depending on who they were selling through. TMLT was afraid of losing their customers during the pandemic, but they increased their retention rate to 95.4% by adopting these tactics.

Why Speed Is Essential to the Overall Content Experience

Frisch recalls the words of his board member Elissa Fink: “Content experience is creating this mindset where we get people to act.” When companies create their content, they have a framework for the overall experience that can help generate their desired results.

“As marketers, we need to ask, ‘Are we responding fast enough?'” Frisch said. He helps us understand that customers are on their schedule and are very quick to change their minds. Frisch shared, “It’s on us as marketers to be there for our customers when they need us.”

Since the pandemic, companies have been looking for ways to make things easier and faster for customers. As Instacart and others demonstrate, when you offer customers personalization and save them time, you’re ready to soar.

Watch Randy’s full session here.