It’s time to move out of maintenance mode. For many, 2020 was the year of the void—the year where if you were lucky enough to keep your job, you put everything in maintenance mode, kept your head down, and (strategically) hoped for the best. Sure, there were some outliers and, yes, some companies expanded their marketing spend. No matter what, every company had to deal with adversity—reduced budgets and staff, remote work, new systems to manage collaborations differently, uncertainty, and more.
Fortunately, all of that also brought us new opportunities in ways we never thought possible. Fewer resources spent on sponsoring and attending events, yet more opportunities to speak; new channels and opportunities on which to really listen to your customers; more user-generated content; and a bit more empathy all around from everyone. And even though 2021 is already half over (where does the time go?), there are a few things you can do to up-level your marketing strategy for the remainder of the year.
Go Back to Basics
Let’s take it back to why we do what we do—solve problems for customers, or potential customers, in everything we do. I repeat: Everything you do should help them in a meaningful, beneficial way. Take the time to revisit the basics of your target audience and the pain your product is solving. Does your strategy need adjusting? Have you even identified that pain? Has their pain or rules of the marketplace changed over the past year? How are you resolving this for them? Adjust as necessary.
And it’s worth reminding your team that today’s customers and prospects want to have a conversation. They’re looking to build relationships and long-term partnerships with you; they no longer want to be pitched to. Who does? Make sure the relationships you are building are authentic.
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Get in Alignment
Align your corporate goals and go-to-market strategy to the customer journey. What are they looking for? You need to be laser focused and do everything with intent—yes, everything! If you can, say “no” to the things that don’t drive you or the company to reach goals. Learning to say no is challenging for many of us, but you’ll see faster results when you align your corporate goals to the customer journey and cut out the noise. Remember it is about them, not you.
In order to stay focused and do things with intent, complete an audit on both content and programs. Determine what’s performing best and update and amplify those assets and campaigns. When you find out what works, reuse, repurpose, recycle, and repackage. In other words, work smarter, not harder!
When you complete the audit, you’ll also likely find key areas that aren’t performing, resonating with the audience, or producing the results you need. That’s a good thing, too. You can either eliminate (or archive) these or adjust and modify them as needed. Trial and error is not always a bad thing and for this reason, make sure you are focusing on things that are predictable in outcomes that align to your overall goals. Make sure you can measure. This seems so simple, but you’d be surprised how many strategies lack this crucial element. Dollars were tight in 2020, and you want to make sure what you spend in 2021 and beyond isn’t spent blindly without data and measurement. If you aren’t measuring, you can’t see what’s working and what’s not.
Your Martech and You
Make your tools, systems, and technology work for you. There are so many of these available these days it can often be overwhelming to find what works best for you and your company. That being said, do not invest in systems, tools, and time where you aren’t being propelled forward or you cannot see impact and results in a meaningful way.
In fact, only build workflows that will help keep you aligned and only look at data that is pertinent to maintaining growth and showing results as they align to the overall strategy. Lastly, only invest in areas that will help move you forward and will help show that progress. That’s easier said than done, I know.
Plan on Planning
This year has flown by quickly, hasn’t it? For the love of all things marketing, start planning for 2022 now! My biggest tip for upping your marketing strategy in 2021 is to start planning now for 2022. Too often, we are given a budget and directives from a strategy standpoint well into the first quarter when we should be executing and seeing results—not planning.
The good news is that most of us are just ramping up now, trying to get back the momentum we lost. Implement these strategies to do just that. The bad news is that we might need to make up for lost revenue from 2020. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen. If you start to plan now for 2022 as an extension of your second half of 2021, you will be well situated to continue on a growth trajectory and see results and profit in Q1 of next year.
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