Whenever one year draws to a close, there’s always one thing on marketers’ minds: New Year’s celebrations. Oh wait… that’s not what this blog is about (although it is true… mmm champagne). Actually, what we meant to say is that a new year’s arrival gets marketers really excited about new marketing tactics. There’s nothing like the latest marketing trends and the promise of a fresh budget to get creative wheels turning. But just because it’s fun to think of all the possibilities, it’s not always easy to map out the best strategic plan. Here are a few areas of your marketing in 2021 worthy of your attention – and spend.
If there’s one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s that life is unpredictable. Given how the pandemic impacted us all, it’s likely that buyers will continue spending conservatively next year. They’ll be looking to get the best value from the purchases they do make, and seeking support along the way. With this in mind, companies should adjust their marketing approach to be value-centric.
Revisit your content marketing strategy, and consider making it more educational. Give away tutorials for free, when possible, to help customers accomplish something (with no price tag or strings attached). Make sure the paid media ads you run are relevant, and offer solutions to consumers’ problems. In 2021 your marketing tactics must be about the customer and not about you. This will help you retain more customers and a positive brand image in the aftermath of a very trying time.
What’s Your Intent(ion) With Data?
We all know data has become increasingly important over the years, and never more so than this current year. In 2021, we want to challenge you to improve your data practices. Move on from measuring vanity metrics like social media likes or website traffic, and instead, gather data that really matters to your business outcomes. For instance, keep track of data around customer retention, employee satisfaction, and marketing’s contributions to the pipeline. These are what will move the needle for your business, so they’re really the only metrics that matter.
Also, explore new types of data. Intent data isn’t exactly new, but has picked up steam this year and holds a lot of possibility. While used heavily in the B2B world, it has a lot of applications in the B2C world as well. Third-party intent data can be used to help you understand where someone is in their buying process, what actions they’re taking on other websites and what types of keywords they’re searching for. It’s not a silver bullet in and of itself, but it’s definitely worth a look in conjunction with other data inputs.
A Little More Conversation
Conversational marketing has been a concept for many years now, but its relevance is higher now than ever. Gartner Research defines it as “technologies (which) enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale.” Many companies do well using relatively basic tech to accomplish this. For example, you may use an automated SMS tool to ask a customer how they like the product that was just delivered to their door.
Or, you might use more advanced methods like putting LiveChat or Tawk on your website. This can enable customer service conversations via AI when actual agents aren’t available. These methods continue to be refined as technology evolves, but the main takeaway is that the more human your conversations with customers can seem, the better. For best results, work to incorporate that nugget into all of your marketing channels.
Digital marketing was really awesome and exciting… until, that is, digital marketing became all we had. This year, many organizations had to reallocate budget from in-person events and field marketing toward – yep – more digital marketing. And while we’re a digital marketing agency and therefore pro-digital, we are also an agency of humans who understand other humans’ need to be away from their computer screens from time to time.
Recognize that your customers have very likely reached a state of tech fatigue. Virtual burnout. Technology tiredness. Email exhaustion… you get the idea. None of us know if in-person marketing options will be available to us next year, but at least plan for some offline marketing efforts. Can you send a happy-hour-in-a-box to your top customers? Launch an integrated direct mail and email campaign instead of a purely digital one? Even small experiences away from the computer screen are sure to surprise – and delight – your customers, so plan on making them happen.
These are the four areas of marketing we think are important to keep on your radar as we walk our way into 2021. What else is on your list? We’d love to help you set your strategy and tactics. Just give us a call!