As the world continues to change, organizations can benefit from adapting their marketing strategies. Michael Stahl shares ten ways to make the most of your marketing efforts in 2021.
The year 2020 brought both challenges and opportunities to marketing professionals. In fact, that’s probably an understatement. But the year has come to a close (thank goodness!), and it’s time to look ahead to hopefully brighter, safer, and more profitable days. As we shift our sights to 2021, I’ve put together ten marketing basics that can help you build a strategy to increase engagement, market share, and revenue.
Reposition your product for modern consumer needs
Considering we don’t know when the global pandemic will end, nor fully understand its long-term repercussions, we need to adapt our products and services to meet the new needs and expectations of our target audience. Often, this doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your business model—rather, just a pivot in your messaging.
For example, if one were to sell a sofa, they might have originally started with a pitch describing how it’s the perfect place to hang out with your friends. Now that many have been asked to keep a safe distance from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they might shift their content to focus on a comfy sofa as the centerpiece of a personal movie night-in.
Evaluate your brand channels
Don’t just evaluate where consumers hear your voice. Think about where they’re going to find it in the first place. In fact, recent research shows that roughly 57 percent of consumers rely on company social feeds for product updates and new features. As you begin your audit, consider the following questions:
- What channels are we putting the most effort into?
- Where do we receive the highest consumer engagement?
- What platforms can we add to diversify our approach?
- Are we responsive enough on our brand channels, or do we need additional communication support?
- Does our content resonate with the information our audience is looking for?
As part of this initiative, marketing professionals should develop a strategy to reward those who organically engage with your brand channels. Whether through “surprise and delight” initiatives, or a simple custom response, these reciprocated conversations will increase brand affinity and reputation.
Double down on content creation
Compelling visuals are going to captivate your audience’s attention in 2021. Whether it’s a powerful video with a relevant narrative or a photo to make them pause during a social scroll session, investing in quality content will take your brand’s digital presence to the next level.
Hire a professional team of creative collaborators to help fuel the content pipeline for your demand generation and automation experts—the key is finding the perfect balance between creativity and operations.
Look for opportunities for automation
Speaking of operations, let’s talk about the efficacy of your team. While some marketing organizations may have an extensive organizational chart with multiple collaborative teams, many are moving into 2021 with lean resources and bandwidth. To overcome this obstacle, leaders should be looking for ways to enhance their team’s productivity with automation tools like Marketo, HubSpot, or Pardot. There are a range of levels and tiers of functionality within these programs, and it may be worth looking into enlisting the support of an implementation partner to get started.
Create social sellers
Now is the time for sales and marketing teams to come together. We’re entering an era where there’s a gray line between the tactics shared between each team. Marketers should be engaging sales teams in regular training, sharing how to become social and community-first sellers by using marketing-centric strategies.
Fund consumer research
A clearer understanding of audience psychology and behaviors will help you predict where to place bets in the future. From your research and data, develop strong audience profiles that can be used to map content to intended outcomes. A persona overview like this will often involve the following components:
- Spending/Usage Power and Patterns
- Stage of Life
While your own personas may vary or require additional details, anchor your work in strong research, legitimate feedback, and pattern analysis.
Leverage intent data to fuel decisions
In connection to your persona development, you’ll want to leverage insight software to predict and analyze the digital behavior and footprint of your audience. Intent data has the capacity to let you know when a key target has shown interest, what content they engaged with, what they’ve been searching, and how “ready” they are to buy. Map this approach against a Marketing Qualified Lead scoring system to find the consumers with the highest probability for action.
Engage an influencer network
The value of human interaction has only increased during the health pandemic, and meaningful, authentic interactions are a priority for consumers. While your voice matters, potential buyers will be more likely to purchase from or engage with your organization if their decision is validated by someone they trust.
While you won’t be able to get their best friend on board, you can get the next best thing: someone in their following influencer network. Leveraging the power of both micro and macro influencers, you can build your company’s narrative into a user’s regular social media feed.
Prioritize digital UX
The very best user experience is the one that users don’t think twice about—because it works. If a button is broken, links are incorrect, or page-load is slow, it’s possible that you’ll lose the attention of a captured audience. Prioritize functionality and flow within your company’s digital space to ensure that you maintain a low bounce rate and increase the probability for web conversion.
Scale SEO initiatives
It’s time to ramp up efforts to make sure your audience’s searches find you, and not your competitor. If you’re new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), here are the key initiatives you need to plan for in 2021:
- Develop high-quality, keyword-rich content
- Plan a backlinking and outreach strategy
- Structure your data to provide content to search engines
- Grow your on-SERP (Search Engine Results Page) SEO
- Create seamless desktop and mobile experiences
Ready for the Future
While we can’t predict what 2021 will hold, we can plan to make smart pivots that will position us to dynamically shift with the unseen future. As marketing professionals, our goal is to not only be ahead of the curve—but fuel the trends that shape it.
Michael Z. Stahl is the chief marketing officer of SERVPRO, a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and mold mitigation and remediation. He was previously executive vice president and chief marketing officer of HealthMarkets. A Kansas City native, he lives in Nashville with his wife and four children.
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