With 2020 now done and dusted, marketers are looking back at a year that has taught us one major thing: the importance of agility. From helping clients evolve their offerings to suit a new normal in their marketplace to managing budgets that took a hit, we’ve had to adapt to major changes seemingly overnight.
Now, with a pandemic that remains ongoing for the time being, the spirit of adaptability is likely to continue defining this year as well. So, it’s imperative to explore creative ways to drive engagement and growth in what could possibly be another unprecedented year.
When creating your 2021 marketing plan, here are a few things that you should consider including in it.
Focus on Purpose
Regardless of what they offer, purpose-driven businesses inherently understand why they exist and who they are best built to serve. And people, particularly throughout 2020, have been taking note of these companies. A survey of 2,447 global consumers conducted by Deloitte found that 79 percent of respondents recalled instances of brands positively responding to COVID-19 to help their customers, workforces, and communities.
Why is having positive awareness so important? Well, according to consumer research by Cone and Porter Novelli, 67 percent of people feel companies with a purpose care more about them and their families. As a result, 79 percent said they are more loyal to purpose brands, and 73 percent stated that they would defend them. Another 78 percent said they would tell others to buy from these brands.
When purpose is embedded throughout an organization, companies can live it out across the value chain to fulfill both the hopes of customers and needs of our world.
Enhance Your Engagement with Customers
While the potential directions a brand can take to change business models during uncertain times are numerous, one path stands out among the rest: pivoting the way they engage with customers.
As customers increasingly participate as brand ambassadors, influencers, and collaborators, customer engagement is rapidly becoming a two-way street. Participation can manifest in low-touch activities, like posting about a brand on social media, to deeper engagements, like collaborating on a video. As such, brands can benefit by crafting an engagement strategy that leans into participation and maximizes its mutual benefits for themselves and their customers.
Engagement strategies are also not exclusive to B2C companies. B2B companies can implement forms of participation as well. This might include building innovation labs, where customer feedback is used to cocreate new products or services. It could also mean inviting customers to share interesting points from a live in-person or digital conference that you’re holding or participating in by using a unique hashtag.
With engagement being a two-way street, brands now have more opportunities than ever to call on their customers to help them bring their products and services to life.
During a recent live stream of a safari, I saw what I initially thought to be an unlikely alliance of a mongoose family with a lizard. Responding to the confusion of viewers (me being one), the guide explained that their relationship is one built on safety and survival.
Just as in nature and life, in business, there is an essential need for collaboration and partnership. Harnessing the strengths of others from different corners of your ecosystem is one of the most strategic ways for businesses to solve complex challenges, scale their innovation, expand their network, and gain market share.
Developing relationships with different vendors in your industry is an ideal way to build the foundations needed to create a partnership. Typically, this is done at industry conferences and trade shows. But as many physical events remain on hold, you need to find alternatives for connecting with potential partners.
Our Industry Insights Webinars, for example, offer business leaders not just a speaking opportunity that allows them to showcase their expertise but also the chance to network and connect with potential customers and partners in a live chat. This can be a simple way for you to target which partner would be the right fit for you. Additionally, our webinars can also serve as a sales tool as we provide the opportunity to promote links to your website or landing pages during our webinars, which also remain on the recorded events.
Although we could well be going into what might be another uncertain year, there are a few evergreen marketing strategies that can help your business remain on track. Of these includes staying true to your purpose, improving the ways in which you engage with customers, and building partnerships that are meaningful and mutually beneficial.