2020. From the COVID-19 pandemic to civil unrest and a contentious presidential election, we had a lot to take in. Yet, with challenges come growth and new opportunities.
From a marketing perspective, we must learn from this year and find ways to use our experiences to our advantage moving ahead. We’ve learned that we have to be fast…and flexible. But what are the other lessons that can help us as we head into the new year? In the year of takeout, here are four takeaways to start 2021 on the right note.
As we race to 2021, remember this: your brand has never been a product or a service, and it never will be. It’s all about the emotional connection people have with it, and that’s something to embrace. The brand that communicates with its audience as humans instead of customers will be the one that resonates, and ultimately, the one that wins.
A big part of this communication is telling your brand’s story authentically and emotionally. Being real and empathetic matters more than being perfect and robotic. Emotion is what makes your branded communications cut through the clutter.
Many people are working from home – some while juggling being a part-time teacher for their kids with online schooling, or working alongside a spouse or roommate or even a slew of rescue animals (which happens to be my preferred style), or working in isolation and needing that human contact. The need to connect with your audience authentically is needed now more than ever before. It’s essential that you have on-brand materials to meet your audience, no matter where they are in the customer journey.
Ahh, who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet?
Seriously, this year, work plans have reigned supreme for managing projects with a marketing team spread out remotely. They’re a powerful and effective tool to keep tabs on your strategies and tactics.
Make sure your plan is a living, breathing document, accessible to the whole team, so they are empowered to stay up-to-date and ready to pivot the overarching game plan when necessary.
The bottom line is this: a work plan has always been essential to keeping multiple moving parts in motion, but when there is a lot of chaos, that makes it even more crucial. So for the new year (and hopefully less chaotic times), make sure your work plan is working for you.
A lot of marketers often find themselves in this rut: given roughly the same annual budget, their media plan remains predictable with the same traditional and digital buys year over year.
With learning in hand from 2020, we know 2021 will not be the year for the status quo. With social distancing now the norm, more dollars previously locked up in tradeshows or other face-to-face events are freed up. It’s a real opportunity to test the waters on some advertising that you might not have tried previously.
For example, over-the-top TV (OTT) ads are what you see when watching a show on a Smart TV, Roku, Xbox or even your phone. Podcasts with local insertions could even be an option! With some strategy and overview of the options, you can dial in on the right media mix for your brand and begin testing uncharted territories.
Last on my list but certainly far from least: digital media.
Your website has always been a hub, but right now, it’s more vital than ever and demands extra attention to make sure you have your bases covered.
Take time and really think through your audience’s journey on your website. What is the ultimate action you want them to take? Once they take it, how do you follow up with them? Do you have the proper forms and content in place to continue nurturing them down the sales funnel? These baseline questions are a great start as you look at your brand’s digital presence.
If you’re looking for engagement and impressions, consider diving deeper into your social strategy and begin conducting A/B tests to refine your creative, copy or audience. Arm yourself with insights from A/B tests and dial in your social creative and messaging.
The finish line for 2020 is upon us. Take a deep breath and hold on to what we learned from this turbulent year to seize the opportunities of 2021. If you want to chat more about strategizing for the year ahead, don’t hesitate to reach out.