The events of 2020 have affected businesses all over the world. The global pandemic, one of the most historic presidential election in U.S. history, and social unrest are just some of the factors that have led businesses in every industry to adopt a "new normal" when it comes to company operations and marketing.
Of course, many organizations have been able to quickly adapt their marketing tactics, and move forward with minimal friction while, unfortunately, many have not. If you find yourself in the later category, your company will likely have to implement key changes in your advertising strategy (if you haven't done so already) to adjust to life both during and after these troubling times. There are several ways to pivot your marketing to the new normal in an effective, efficient manner. In this article, we'll discuss 4 steps to adapt your marketing and keep your company's forward momentum going strong.
1. Consider Adjusting Operating Costs
Realistically, the events of 2020 may have drastically altered your expense plans for operating your business. As the pandemic moves closer and closer to the new year, the Presidential election draws to a close, and social unrest continues throughout the country, you'll likely have to adjust your projected operational spending for 2021 to be more in line with the prospect of decreased, projected revenue. This should allow you to keep up with the ever changing landscape, prepare for the still developing nature of social unrest and COVID-19, while continuing to operate your business as efficiently as possible..
For example, if your business has taken a hit this year, you'll have to reduce your budget for certain aspects in the months to come. Perhaps you'll have to look for ad spend efficiencies, or even reduce staffing costs. On the other hand, you may have to invest more heavily in equipment and training for remote workers.
Whatever the case may be, be sure to discuss realistic adjustments with your management team when planning for the upcoming year. By factoring these changes into your strategy, you'll be able to scale certain operations up or down as needed.
2. Streamline Your Marketing
The turn of the year is a great time to reevaluate your marketing strategy and make sure that all of your creative is working towards the same goal. A cohesive advertising plan will align your sales and marketing teams to focus on your primary strategic objectives for 2021, with concrete, measurable gains as the result.
Taking some time to streamline your marketing plan can also have a powerful, positive impact on your budget. For example, as you analyze past and current PPC campaigns, which ones are high performers, and which are lagging behind? Focusing on those campaigns that are yielding optimal ROAs can inform the overall direction of your marketing plan, which in turn will dictate how future PPC initiatives are carried out. This makes for a "feedback loop" that allows you to do more with less while maximizing the impact of your ad spend.
3. Speak to Your Customers' Needs and Expectations
Not surprisingly, many consumers have new needs and expectations of your business due to the pandemic, heated election, and social unrest. Companies that cater to those desires are generally performing much better than their competitors that cling to pre-2020 business models. These new areas of needs could come in a variety of forms, such as:
- Financial needs, such as flexibility in payment plans
- Product needs (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.)
- Service needs, such as pick-up services that many grocery store chains now offer
- Changes in tolerance for overt bad behavior by customers and employees
- Increased sensitivity and accommodations for diverse groups and communities
- Making available more products and services unique to diverse groups and communities
For example, it’s important as a business to take into account the current state of the nation when marketing your brand. In the midst of racial and social injustices, your company should strategically decide on how to speak to the needs of your customers who are being affected by the hardships around the nation. From needs brought about by the year to consistent issues faced by people all over, it’s essential that your brand make marketing decisions will all of those things in mind.
If you are willing to innovate new processes that meet the needs of your customers, not only will you keep their business, but you will likely build trust with them that will reap rich dividends in the future.
4. Heavily Invest in Your Digital Footprint
It's vital that you stay top-of-mind among your target audience, no matter what is going on in the world around them. One of the best ways to do this, both before the events of 2020 and especially during it, is to invest in digital marketing.
Of course, you'll need to decide which platforms will yield the highest ROI for your ad spend going forward. Look at the numbers, and see which platforms were top performers throughout 2020, and then re-invest in those. "Doubling down" on your digital footprint can expose your brand to a wide, diverse audience, and help maintain a steady flow of new customers to your business.
Some digital marketing channels to consider for your strategy include:
- OTT: Over-the-top content has exploded in popularity, especially since March of 2020. As more and more consumers "cut the cord" with cable and satellite TV, streaming services and other forms of OTT content are becoming hotspots for forward-thinking advertisers.
- Email marketing: Segmented email marketing campaigns offer a high ROAS and continue to generate a high volume of leads for companies across different sectors of the industry.
- Social media: Social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn offer unsurpassed opportunities for growing brand awareness, increasing goodwill among the consumer base, and even capturing new leads.
- Digital ads: Paid advertising also has its place in marketing your business, whether in the form of PPC campaigns, display ads, or video ads.
How important is a strong digital footprint to marketing success? Consider this statistic: one study found that 57% of consumers are influenced to think more positively of a business after seeing positive comments or praise online. Clearly, digital marketing can affect consumers' perception of your brand—and with a strong, consolidated digital footprint, it will almost certainly be for the good.
In summary, 4 key ways to adapt your marketing to the new normal are:
- Adjusting your revenue goals
- Streamlining your marketing strategy and tactics
- Addressing the needs of your customers through flexible, innovative processes
- Maintaining a strong digital footprint
If you are having trouble with these or other adjustments, don't worry. Many business operators have found that working with an experienced media partner can help. Regardless, if you continue to adapt your advertising efforts to the new normal, in 2021 and beyond, then your business will likely enjoy sustained growth for years to come.