LONDON: Trends including big data and real-time marketing are forcing marketers to rethink their concept of long-term strategy, as the need for agility becomes ever more pressing.

A growing challenge for marketers is achieving a balance between data-driven responsiveness and a long-term brand vision. This challenge is explored in the opening chapter of Warc's Toolkit 2015, a guide to six major marketing trends for the year ahead, produced in association with Deloitte.

"Agility and fluidity" will be among the key capabilities of successful marketers, according to Nick Turner, partner in the Customer Advisory Practice of consulting firm Deloitte.

Marketers' lives are being made increasingly difficult by a rapid expansion of data sources, the rise of social and mobile, shifting media habits induced by new technologies and a short-term business culture. But, at the same time, marketers have an opportunity to lead the agenda.

One such, Deanie Elsner, EVP/CMO of Kraft Foods Group, has outlined the goal as "agile and addressable marketing".

The foods giant has successfully fused data with content and prioritised infrastructure investment accordingly. "It's... more effective for us, which is exactly why we're doing it, because we've got to increase the returns on our spend," she said.

But where does that leave long-term strategy? One conclusion is that it is evolving away from a pure communications role to embrace wider business challenges and more product development.

Another is that brands need to develop their purpose – the 'reason for being' that helps guide the brand.

The value for marketers of being clear on a brand's purpose is that it helps focus marketing efforts on a long-term goal, the Toolkit suggested. "This is one way of ensuring brands are built to last in an 'agile' marketing environment".

Warc subscribers can read the full Toolkit report at Non-subscribers can download a sample of this chapter here.

Data sourced from Warc