As customers’ needs and behaviors change – adjusting to the continued impact of COVID-19 – marketers must proactively adjust to an evolving landscape. Business operations and customer actions have changed at one of the fastest rates in recent memory, leaving some marketing plans in need of TLC.
In late 2021, studies showed that 45 percent of full-time U.S. employees continued to work remotely some or all of the time. With supply chain disruptions and inventory shortages on-going, now is the time to make sure your marketing strategies are up-to-date with a changing marketplace.
Be mindful that your target customers, and the way you had delivered messaging to them, may have changed since the onset of the pandemic. Business continues to shift – with companies changing expectations, plans, personnel responsibilities, and in some cases, even changing what they sell. Your ideal customer profiles, personas and behaviors may be dramatically different than just a year ago. And the strategies that were months in development, may need to change as well.
Consider what your KPIs (key performance indicators) are right now. Do those KPIs shift from lead generation to contact building, or perhaps to brand engagement? And how do your marketing tactics and messaging need to evolve to achieve these new goals? Are your current marketing materials going to work with an evolving economic outlook and new customer engagement patterns? Now ask the same questions for what we predict conditions to be like 3- and 6-months from now.
Be nimble and strategic at the same time. You can’t put a pause on your brand or your marketing “until this is over”, because who really knows if, and when, things will return to what they were. For the foreseeable future there will be changing conditions, and marketing needs to be able to refocus and meet the right KPIs, probably more than once.
Marketing messages and sponsored content need to pay attention to the emotional pulse of the reader, as well as consider timing of when it is released. Right now the content your marketing may appear within, or directly alongside, could be highly-charged. Be thoughtful when creating messaging and materials so that you are sensitive to the current situations. Appearing to be too “hard sale” or business-focused may be off-putting to customers, and potentially even damage your brand’s position.
Carefully consider the words you select in your messaging:
Good marketing connects with a reader emotionally. It’s critical that messaging and ad materials still make those valuable connections that draw in hearts and minds, while not appearing to capitalize on reader sensitivities. It’s also critical for brands to stay on track. The marketing plans that were created during 2021 may have to be changed, but your core brand positions probably are the same – positions which should remain a cornerstone of your communications.
Artfully combining relevant content, marketing messaging and brand positions (that – as noted in the above – are mindful of tone and timing) will connect with customers in a powerful way, get attention and generate response.
Many marketing strategies have shifted to be, or are working to be, increasingly digital. When correctly deployed, digital platforms reach customers with highly-specific profile targeting, leveraging features such as Google’s custom intent audiences. Even though that many are working remotely from their home office, marketers are still able to target and communicate key messaging with potential customers.
However, we must consider how users are engaging with content much differently than just a few months ago. Right now, interest-based campaigns that reach customers higher in the marketing sales funnel are outperforming text search campaigns. Be sure your digital marketing team, or the agency you partner with, is remaining nimble – interpreting data, watching the shifts and repositioning ad campaigns to continually maximize return. Digital behaviors and routines have also shifted. The data you built your digital campaign strategies around has probably changed – and now must be evaluated and readjusted for today’s customer behaviors. For example, if social marketing (paid or organic) is part of your mix, have you revisited those campaigns in depth? Some platforms are reporting a 66% increase in social media engagement, and across some demographic groups, people are reportedly spending 3-7 hours per day on social sites!
Beyond just increasing social activity, how are you altering your desktop verses mobile ad deployment, ad timing, content delivery and platforms?
Whenever you shift marketing messaging, targeting or objectives, you need to track and analyze. Right now, many organizations have changed all three of those considerations. Add to that an economy and a workforce that has undergone huge changes, and major parts of your marketing plan may need to be addressed. Be flexible, be fast and be smart – and get help when you get spread too thin.
One positive point is that most marketers already have heavily integrated data tracking tools into their performance reviews. The increases in digital engagement over past months has provided enough data for marketers to extract trends, analyze patterns and make predictions. Staying attuned to performance metrics is critical now. Marketers on top of the data and can be nimble – adjusting while staying on plan – have an opportunity for significant success.
Today’s climate requires dedicated attention and a proactive approach to effectively navigate changes. It takes time, attention to details, and a collaborative approach to address what virtually none of us have dealt with before.
If you’re looking for a B2B marketing agency partner to help you with marketing strategy development or digital marketing, we’re here to help. Contact us for a free consultation and let us help you Power Up Your Marketing.
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