We recently met with a beauty brand that wants to work with us. Actually, they’re a brand I’d really like to work with and they’ve been around for 30 years. They’re really well respected and create a leading product in their niche.

If you heard their name, you’d think to yourself ‘Those guys are crushing it for SURE!’

What’s interesting though is that actually – they’re struggling. Their revenue is down and they are super stressed about all sorts of newcomers in their space who are mastering modern marketing (paid social, influencers and sophisticated sales funnels).

These ‘newbies’ are not only stealing market share but also have leaner cost bases which is making the brand we met feel even more stressed.

This was a particular conversation we had last week at Bolt Digital but it’s far from an unusual one.

There are a lot of brands that feel this way.

They were originally pioneers in what they did and they had that leader position and sat very comfortably. Then suddenly new people come into the market with much lower start up costs, they market really effectively and modernly by using social media and then the traditional brands suddenly think “Oh my God, how come we’re not the market leader anymore?” How come this person has gone ahead?” and it’s really frightening for them.

Even big giants such as M&S, where specialist teams for paid search, CRM and search engine optimisation have been drafted in, have had to undergo massive and continual revamps within their marketing structure for this very reason.

As Nathan Ansell, M&S marketing director of clothing and home explained to Marketing Week “We’ve structured the marketing with agile teams in order to be able to respond to things like changing weather; or when products sell out online we are able to respond really quickly in terms of the content we’re serving up to customer, making sure we’re contextually relevant through channels”

In September M&S released their major clothing and home campaign which promoted the latest wardrobe essentials in menswear, womenswear, home and childrenswear, home and beauty divisions. The campaign featured national press, video-on-demand services, digital out-of-home and online.

However, this time the marketing campaign was not launched on the TV, it was launched online in the efforts to shift ⅓ of their business online in the next four years.

(AND what is even worse is that there is no guarantee that despite taking the right steps, M&S can ultimate win in a battle with other clothes retailers that were born online ultimately do not have the same heavy costs to carry.)

So what should you do when you suddenly realise that marketing has moved on and you haven’t? It’s a bit like when you suddenly realise phones have moved on and you make a decision to stick with your landline, or get the newest iphone X.

It’s a case of all change, or get left behind for good

The only thing you can do is take action and start doing all the things you are complaining about your new competitors doing.

The good news is that actually if you are a real brand with longstanding brand awareness, quality products and history, you should (certain factors being in place) be able to make faster progress online than a new start up. Your reputation, quality of product, years of happy customers and the legacy you have already built are actually your advantage.

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