With so many trends to be aware of and articles to read this time of year, how do we make this one valuable to you? To begin, this article will not be about tactics or the latest media. If you are a small to mid-market company, most of these “hotspots” aren’t usually the places you will go to connect with your client base. The trends we will highlight cross your entire business, not just to the marketing department, alignment in 2021 is more critical than ever.
Be Personal and Authentic!
Let’s start with how your customers want you to communicate. It’s a sea of noise in today’s digital marketplace, your customers and prospects have to wade through mountains of email, social posts, and texts. We believe January is a great time to reach out to customers and find out how they want to hear from you. What are the key issues they are dealing with this year? By understanding and getting their buy-in on communication preferences, you jump back into the pole position with them. There’s a secondary benefit to focusing on your current customers first. You develop a better view of this audience, where are they going for information and how do they want to digest it. This becomes the basis for how you can target prospects with similar demographics.
Another area that we believe will help you connect better in 2021 is to show who you are as a company. The longer we have to do business virtually and not in person, the harder that is. People want to know who they are doing business with. That doesn’t mean go out and connect with prospects on Facebook! It means being willing to have leadership provide some insights into your business via videos, webinars, posts, and share what’s important to your company. Don’t be afraid to share, not only your vision but the passion and interests of the organization.
Quality Trumps Quantity
As the end of 2020 approached, businesses saw more companies on LinkedIn and other digital platforms. There was a growing trend of businesses just getting something published. The common refrain was “Let’s try several things and hope some of it sticks.” All this accomplishes is to further mix you in the sea of noise and trash. Now more than ever, well thought out content is needed and desired. Be willing to take a step back and make sure your content is relevant to what customers are asking to see, which is referenced in the first trend.
Don’t be afraid to be a connector. Thought leadership comes in the form of original content as well as connecting customers to other thought leaders. You can bring experts into your online forums (webinars, e-newsletters, or blogs) and share their expertise. You can also share articles written by these experts with your additional editorial. The adage of “measure twice, cut once” comes into play here. I’d rather have four quality touchpoints in a month than twelve lousy ones.
A Marketing Series Will Perform Better than a Big Splash
Does this contradict trend two, quality over quantity? Not at all. A well put together series of smaller advertising (print, billboards, radio, etc.) will perform better than trying to have one big ad or campaign. For example, the Avocado Growers of Mexico pulled back from the advertising in the 2021 Super Bowl. The reason is the sea of noise – it’s harder for one big ad or splash to get the attention of your target audience. This applies to other areas beyond just advertising, including trade shows and your content marketing.
Many companies are pulling back from in-person trade shows and some are deciding if it’s worth it to take part in a virtual trade show. One idea is to develop a series of company or product webinars or events leading up to the trade show and coming after. It allows you to get the undivided attention of your customers. It also builds the repetition that your brand craves. Another area is thought leadership. Even if you only create one case study or white paper a year, there are ways to segment this content and create a 3- or 4-part series to introduce them to the market. You can also repurpose multiple old case studies in a series and bring them back to life.
Customer Experience is More Critical Than Ever
Maybe you create a great deal of interest and attention and all of a sudden you can’t deliver on the product. Or what if customer service is clueless about what is happening and can’t reinforce your sales and marketing messaging? It’s happening more than ever because of the remote workforces. The ability to go and provide quick insight and training to other functional teams has been lost. It’s just like sport fishing. You need a captain to take you to the fish and instruct you how to set the hook. Once sales have reeled it up to the boat, you’ve got to have a team keeping the lines clear and gaffe the fish to bring in on the boat. Missing any one of these steps can lead to that big fish getting away.
If you haven’t seen our January LinkedIn video series talking about these trends you can take a look at the latest one here. And, be sure to follow Rand Inc on LinkedIn. In the meantime, if you want to talk further please reach out to us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.