The pace of change in consumer trends is so rapid that it can be a full-time job for marketers to keep up. However, as the industry becomes increasingly competitive, it is essential that marketers respond to shifting trends and consumer demands - otherwise, brands are at risk of suffering a 'Kodak moment' - where a market-leading brand fails to adapt to a major structural change, and is left behind - according to Simon Ward, CEO for Inspired Thinking Group. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

This pressure to keep pace with cutting-edge trends can feel like trying to hit a moving target. It places an incredible amount of pressure on the already stretched resources of the marketing department. Therein lies the problem for marketing professionals. How do they keep a finger on the pulse and drive creativity while simultaneously performing all necessary administrative and operational tasks effectively?

On top of this conundrum, the advent of integrated, omnichannel campaigns have brought another headache for marketers – every system, supplier and touchpoint must be synchronised efficiently to achieve success. Modern marketing is expected to bridge gaps seamlessly and reach customers across a spectrum of platforms, whether they are shopping online, using a desktop or mobile device, or in a physical store. So how can marketing professionals ensure that they continue to deliver on trend and on time?

Strip away the admin
To keep up with constantly evolving trends, a cultural change is required at the heart of the marketing industry. Simplification is the answer. Marketers need to return to being marketers – not administrators, procurement or IT people. Adopting a lean, strategic approach to marketing involves outsourcing dull, administrative procedures.

Outsourcing operations should yield immediate results in shifting the focus of marketers back to creative projects and campaign ideas. It can also help ease the pressure of looming deadlines, which are not conducive to innovation and creativity, and can cause work to be rushed. Delegating local customisations to an agency that operates 24/7 means you can provide a seamless, continuous service across your global markets.

Keep your finger on the marketing pulse
Once a cultural change has been effected, the next stage is to identify the technology that is the best fit for your business. Research from expert marketing technology consultant and analyst David Raab shows that almost 70% of marketers are either unhappy or only marginally happy with their current marketing automation provider. It is therefore essential to make an informed choice when selecting a platform.

A simplified marketing strategy should echo advances in modern society, where technology enables people to perform tasks more easily, with greater efficiency, and with fewer clicks of a button, from almost anywhere in the world.

Admin often relies on incredibly complex internal structures, which make simplicity more difficult to achieve. It is essential to ensure everyone – from suppliers to in-house teams – can work together via a platform that enables approvals, compliance and supplier touchpoints to be managed from a single unified interface. All members of the team should be continuously kept up-to-date with overarching creative marketing campaigns and projects through an easy-to-use platform.

Technology-led marketing services can deliver significant cost savings and meet changing and evolving customer demands. Once complex administration procedures and bureaucracy have been minimised, marketers are free to reinvest the time they save on brand development and management.

"The digital market is constantly changing. As we become an increasingly connected society, trends are shifting more quickly than ever, but this does not mean that marketers should lose track," concluded Ward. "The good news is that once a marketing department has identified the areas of its operations that can be outsourced or streamlined, it is simply a case of reclaiming this additional time and putting it to optimal use."