Why you shouldn’t ditch your marketing plans until prospects are clearer
Businesses, industries, consumers and communities are all reeling under the pressures that the global pandemic has forced upon them. It’s easy to assume amidst so much uncertainty and doom and gloom that prospects are grim and that the best option is to hide under a rock until the situation passes.
But no matter how you look at it, we’re all in this together; there isn’t an individual or business that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 in some way. If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that adaptability and agility will always get us furthest down the line, after all, we’ve come this far.
In this article, I will explain why you shouldn’t ditch your marketing plans in 2021 and instead approach them with a renewed vigour using our most valuable asset - experience.
2020 was a time for change
The past year has pushed us to the edges of our comfort zones; and whilst we’re used to changes and upheavals in marketing, no-one could have prepared us for what was to come. But through struggles, come changes and these can be powerful, even for new businesses.
Use this point in time to look at what you know. For example, what did you learn from 2020 and what will you take away? How did you connect with your audience? What were the main successes and challenges for your business?
When we look ahead to 2021 marketing plans, ‘flexibility’ and ‘expect the unexpected’ are going to be key phrases. When it comes to strategies, relying on the tried and tested ‘because it’s always worked’ is a quick route to failure.
Put customers at the heart of your strategy
With remote working now the norm and the pandemic continuing to limit all of our natural instincts for personal connection, many people will be craving a replacement. Personalised marketing is going to be even more important in 2021 with an emphasis on retaining customers. Data collection and analysis strategies will allow you to tailor marketing content to individuals. Continually re-evaluate your approach by listening to your customers often.
‘Personalisation’ means creating content that an individual customer will actually look forward to receiving from you, even if they are not in the buying mood. When a customer is treated as an individual, it generates the kind of brand loyalty and customer satisfaction that can result in repeat business and even referrals.
Now is the time to nail your content marketing
The purpose of marketing should be to grow alongside your customers’ habits and needs, address the specific challenges they are facing and stay connected to them. Content marketing is the most effective way of speaking directly to your audience in a way that benefits you both.
During a crisis, content marketing can position your brand as a credible, useful source of information, or even inspiration. It can allow you to form a direct relationship with your target audience. An effective content marketing strategy should put the customer front and centre; think about the problems they are currently facing, what are they trying to solve? What questions might they be asking?
During a crisis it’s also important to reflect the current mood of your target audience. For example, there may be times when you need to take a more sombre stance on the issues that are affecting them and there will also be times when humour is welcome. Your content marketing strategy is another way of demonstrating that you know your audience and you have your finger on the pulse of what it is affecting them.
Our measurement for success may need to change
Marketing initiatives during the pandemic in 2020 saw brands finding new ways to engage audiences with more willingness to ‘test the waters’ of new marketing approaches. This brings with it healthy change for businesses and new ways to find success.
But with this comes a greater requirement to measure marketing practices to see which are providing most value. Planning for ‘adaptability’ means that we must continually review the marketing channels and formats that we’re using and mix them up to compare results.
When it comes to marketing, there is no need to over complicate your approach, but whether it’s email marketing, blogging, social media, paid lead generation or video it’s advisable to treat everything as a one-time approach.
Experiment with your marketing, connect to your audience in new ways on social media and as soon as possible, look for ways to deepen or change your strategy based on how your target audience responds. By remaining agile in your approach, you’ll make every pound you spend on marketing stretch even further.