9 Feb 2021 Strategy

Marketing strategy ideas for 2021

A new year means it’s time for lots of blogs talking about what’s happening in the coming year. I’m reliably told that it’s a good idea to write about things that are current, or in the very near future – you know, for SEO and stuff.

Of course, 2021 has started out like no other year. That said, we’ve been pandemic-ing (yes I made that up) long enough now to make some educated guesses of what the year ahead will look like, at least where the pandemic’s concerned.

So, with that in mind, I’ve donned my best jet black wig, put a load of powder on my face (for that ethereal/gothic look) and gazed into my crystal ball for what I think are some of the areas to consider for any business’ marketing strategy for 2021.

The craze for a fresh start

If you thought people made hasty decisions at the start of a new year, imagine what it’s going to be like in the midst of a pandemic.

Plenty of people will take this moment to make drives towards renewed energy, making big plans and decisions. From a business perspective, these are still tricky times and so this won’t help. The reality is, until things ‘return to normal’, whatever that might mean, expect plans to change.

Agility

Given this, ‘agility’ could well be my word of 2021. The best marketing strategies will be able to adapt to a changing environment.

I’m not a doom and gloom kind of guy, but let’s say that the economy goes south, your business may need to react. Perhaps costs need to be cut, perhaps it will be harder to convert customers and make sales. There are many potential challenges to navigate. The best marketing managers will have one eye on how to potentially plug gaps:

  • Reviewing marketing costs is sensible, but one should always beware stopping services or subscriptions that you are currently paying for. If you’re outsourcing services, you’re usually doing this because the providers have expertise or efficiencies that you do not. Reducing spend in those areas could well be a false economy. Instead, talk to any provider about amended priorities and get them on board with any adjusted strategy
  • Selling your way out of a hole is always a positive action. It may be time to review the products and services that you offer and come up with new and exciting ways to market them to the changed market. Simply reducing your prices won’t necessarily help, but pay attention to the feedback you are getting if you are seeing a dip in sales.

Outsourcing for growth

An alternative, more positive outlook has us growing at faster rates than many of our neighbours. When demand is suddenly greater, it’s not always easy to recruit internally as fast as you need the resources. Outsourcing is a great way to plug the gap, temporarily or on a more permanent basis.

Understanding in advance the options that are available to you will help you make a decision rapidly.

Things that a marketing manager could potentially outsource include:

What are your strengths and weaknesses? There are plenty of freelancers or agencies that will be able to work on a retainer or just a project basis so that you can react to your market.

Virtual assistants, Bizee.co, list the many advantages of outsourcing, from time-saving to extra expertise and more.

Review your output, reduce your content

Now more than ever, we are bombarded with content – genuine, fake, paid for. How anyone can make sense of it is actually beyond me. Our emphasis as marketers in 2021 should be less on churning out ever-increasing volumes of content, but actively winding it back in and reducing our ‘content footprint’ (I just made up this term, but I like it).

Do you need to be on the channels that you currently are? Are they performing for you? Take us at LikeMind Media. I’ll be honest, when I review what we get from Facebook, it’s very tempting to just stop posting. I don’t think our target audience is really using it for discovering great marketing knowledge. The stats we look at seem to back this up.

I’m not saying that you should stop posting to Facebook; it’s about whether your target customer is using it for the purposes you think and whether you time is best spent elsewhere. For us, I don’t think it justifies the effort, so we should reduce that effort.

Similarly, what’s changing on the platforms and channels you are using? It seems to me that Facebook is pretty much just for advertising whereas, for B2B businesses in particular, LinkedIn is still having a resurgence.

What about platform of the moment, Tik Tok? Is your audience putting more effort there? If so, perhaps it’s time to work it out.

Don’t forget email

Sure, we all hate spam, we all probably get more emails that we thought we signed up for. Certainly more than we can read and act upon.

Yet, in a piece of research that we performed for MarketEd.Live 2019, email is the channel that most marketers in the research stated generated the best ROI and most sales.

It seems we love to hate email, but we still react to it. Why? Well, even though we know that email is delivered en masse via email marketing systems, the sender is at least trying to communicate with us on a more one-to-one level.

Plus, despite Outlook, Gmail et al trying to identify which emails are important, the user ultimately has control over whether they read an email. That’s decisive action from the recipient.

2021 is a good time to review what your email marketing strategy needs to look like and what you need to do to write compelling copy. A client of ours recently identified that every email we send on their behalf results in a new project – we’re not talking small projects here either.

We’ll certainly be doing more email in 2021.

Be braver, use your creativity

Whether you outsource your marketing or have a team, embracing their creativity is now super-important if you’re going to stand out. This is hardly revolutionary stuff. Indeed, it’s always been the case. But there has been a push towards metrics and ROI numbers.

When up against it, marketing teams tend to hunker down with figures that justify their efforts (and maybe their jobs).

Resist. As my good friend, Tim Elliott recently posted:​

In 2021, you can’t afford to be a commodity (unless you’re Facebook Inc.). Give your team the freedom to ideate and safety in being able to express their ideas without being ridiculed.

Remember, at some point, someone decided that Russian-speaking meerkats were the best way to market an insurance comparison website.

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