Five fundamentals to marketing success in 2022
Written by Christina Hamilton, head of business development and marketing, Freshfield.
The pandemic has led to immense change across most businesses. Over the past 18 months, marketers have had to radically change direction, rolling with the suspension of face-to-face events, furloughed teams, managing mass digital adoption and for many, fluctuating budgets.
According to a recent McKinsey survey, a quarter of companies say they will be redirecting and increasing spend towards emerging opportunities in 2022. Sounds straightforward. But how easy is it to find those emerging opportunities and how quickly can the marketing team flex to accommodate them?
If you are facing the 2022 marketing planning phase and are under pressure to identify new opportunities to maximise growth next year, here’s a good starting point.
1: Research your customers
While many companies believe they have a detailed view of their customers, their behaviours and intents, circumstances are now so different that marketers should be questioning everything they previously thought they knew.
Customers haven’t been able to purchase in person and have turned to digital platforms to build relationships, purchase products and services, and to engage.
Detailed monitoring of customer data and trends in their behaviour has always been important to us marketers and if you are embarking on the 2022 marketing plan this should be your first starting point.
Purchasing habits have changed dramatically due to the pandemic and this has important implications for marketers trying to build lasting relationships with customers. If there is a gap in the correlation between sales and marketing activity to new sales, renewed sales, referrals or lost customers, then there’s a fundamental piece of the jigsaw missing and a top priority in the plan should be to find and fix it.
2: Adapt your client communications
By understanding your clients and their needs correctly you are better placed to communicate to them. Given what you now know, does your value proposition still talk to your customer? Have competitors altered their value proposition in line with market changes and is it time to review your own brand values and positioning?
It is crucial that this customer insight be shared and understood by everyone; CEO, the board, the management team and your people. It will help everyone immediately adjust their messaging to address their customers’ new reality and engage with them more thoughtfully and authentically.
If your CEO needs a helping hand to communicate those messages we have the perfect blog for you here.
Consumers don’t want to hear how fantastic your product or service is. What they want to know is the story about the time you helped to solve a specific problem. What is often missing is a real-life display of the advantages that the product has.
- Did your service increase productivity by 50%? Tell everyone
- Did your product innovation have impact? Tell everyone
- Have you helped your clients grow? Tell everyone
Once you understand how to talk to your customer, make sure your social media strategy integrates and supports your strategic business plan. There’s no point suddenly deciding you need to be on social platforms, but not taking the care to communicate back to clients. Thank for them for reviews, good or bad, use your social media handles to offer levels of digital customer service. B2B organisations can utilise B2C tactics well with a little innovative thinking.
3: Generate more clients
Increasing the right kind of traffic can lead to more client opportunities. That could be website visitor traffic, people responding to a direct communication piece you sent out or an introduction over coffee that have been arranged with referrals or recommendations.
The more people we speak to, the greater the outcome. Opportunities to talk might be hidden within your current client base. If you are a tax adviser, look to tee up a meeting with your client and the audit department, or the financial planning team. If you have a website, look to set up a simple Live Chat platform where you can directly engage with site visitors, you’ll have a higher chance of converting them into a client.
Look to the network of contacts your team has and identify cheerleaders that will recommend you and provide referral opportunities now and, in the future. Reach out to them with a view to building some reciprocal referrals, they will thank you for it.
What gets measured gets improved.
Having lots of website visitors or Zoom coffee meetings is great but how do you take the customer to the next level of their journey? Whether it’s an online transaction, or an opportunity to tender for the next big project, the customer needs a journey.
Monitoring the pipeline and conversion rates of turning a prospect into a customer is important to help marketing understand where the leaks are happening. A good CRM system will help identify the ‘leaky buckets’ and pinpoint a price or product issue, along with skillset and resources that could be hindering your growth rate.
Coming together with your sales team over a Zoom coffee to analyse the sales data is an excellent opportunity to think outside the box and identify new opportunities that are waiting out there.
Unfortunately, we frequently see the marketing department reporting upwards into the business at campaign level to justify spend. Marketing teams should have a place at the management meetings to be able to disseminate the invaluable information we can glean and inform the ongoing adaptability of the business plan.
5: It’s all in the planning
It’s important to take a thoughtful, step-by-step approach to your marketing plan. The process of developing a marketing plan forces you to re-examine your marketplace, competition, target audience and value proposition.
This kind of focused research reduces risk because it compels you to evaluate your business model and marketing programme before you commit time and money to them. Planning helps you to be proactive, putting you in control. However, it’s important to be agile enough to react to changing circumstances. Having well-documented plans makes it easier to change them.
In a changing world, we must learn to be agile and be open to new ideas — doing things the way we’ve always done them and still expecting to find opportunities isn’t a winning strategy.
If you are currently going through the planning process and looking for some inspiration on those emerging opportunities or struggling to find and analyse your customer data to make some meaningful inferences, then give us a call. We’d love to talk.