The marketing buzzword for 2020 has got to be “adapt”. From toggling between push and pull strategies to switching up messaging, reacting to changing consumer behaviours to experimenting with new channels, marketers can probably liken the past year to running a marathon without a finish line in sight.
But there’s plenty of good that’s come about amidst all of the chaos – being pushed out of comfort zones, the imperative for transformation and the rise of the empathetic brand. And while it’s frightening for any weakness to be exposed, the truth is it’s never too late to learn and grow.
The lessons learned in 2020 will play a huge role in shaping priorities and overall strategies in 2021. Let’s start by looking back at the key trends.
We recently surveyed over 200 marketers globally and 50% were operating with reduced marketing budgets in 2020. The good news is there is a strong level of optimism amongst marketers: they predict budgets will either maintain or increase to more than pre-COVID levels and even grow their teams in 2021.
In addition to proving ROI, marketers also anticipate these challenges:
- Changing consumer behaviours
- Cutting through the digital noise
- Growing uncertainty
- Maintaining relevance among target audiences
The most prominent shifts according to the marketers fall in three categories – the pivot to virtual and digital; the need for marketing to play a bigger role in the sales function; social became the reigning channel champion.
Marketing Amidst Uncertainty
In our latest guide, Marketing In 2021: Pushing Forward In Uncertainty, we cover the top five areas marketers should focus on and the three potential strategies to adopt to stay ahead. The approach to take in 2021 will remain fluid – month-by-month planning will no longer be effective and instead, flexing around key priorities will work best. Here’s a sample of our top tips:
#1 Lead Generation & Conversion
Lead generation relies on a solid strategy, the right tools and a dedicated approach. Content forms the core of an effective lead gen program – it needs to capture attention, communicate a point of difference and be engaging. It should speak to the customer rather than at them.
#2 Dealing With Digital Fatigue
The size of digital audiences has exploded, but it’s a double-edged sword; with a larger digital audience comes more marketers trying to connect with them. Start by refreshing your message, get creative visually and test out new formats.
#3 Boosting Brand Equity
Marketers must play an active role in decision-making and advising senior leadership on how actions and strategies will be perceived. Consistency of purpose and message will also be key.
#4 Streamline Your Marketing Tech Stack
If you’re looking at areas to invest in, marketing technology should be on your list. As consumer habits shift and the way we work changes, consider tools and platforms that can help you get organized, keep you informed and measure performance in a timely and meaningful way.
#5 Strengthening Skills & Talent
With the increased emphasis on digital channels, adoption of new MarTech and lead gen strategies, marketers must also ensure they have the proper skills and talent for successful implementation. Take the opportunity to assess any gaps and opportunities that can be filled with internal training or upskilling, or with the help with an external marketing agency.
Finding The Right Strategy
Whatever the stage of recovery in your country or industry, there are 3 strategies to consider from – Cornerstone, Agile and Conquest.
Start looking outward in 2021 and take the time to better understand your audience – when and where they are most engaged and the messages that resonate with them at various stages of the marketing funnel.