2019 was an interesting year that saw marketing being undertaken by many as business personality GaryVee became an advocate of everyone building their brand and creating more content on social media platforms TikTok and LinkedIn to capitalize on the organic reach.
However, with the start of 2020 we have entered into a new era (and decade) where marketing can no longer be posting motivational quotes on social media, or spending huge marketing budgets haphazardly without any real consideration as to how it affects the bottom line of the business or company.
In 2020 marketing has to be strategic, intentional, and customer focused. This is the only way you will win in today’s very crowded digital space.
To help you get a great start for the new year, I have compiled eight things you should be doing right out the gate of 2020 to increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
8 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Marketing in 2020
Tie marketing to business goals for 2020
I don’t mean to state the obvious and it should go without saying right? Unfortunately, many marketers are still executing their marketing without knowing how it directly ties back to the overall business goals or how it drives actually business results (not vanity metrics).
Before establishing what your marketing goals are you should first know what the business goals are. Not only identifying them, but being incredibly specific about what they are. Don’t just write down the goal, have dates for what you want done, by when, and how it will drive success for the business.
In order to have a full understanding of how your marketing can help the company achieve its business goals meet with your boss or senior management that is responsible for establishing those business goals and find out what is their goal for 2020. Once you know that you can now think about how your role as the marketer will help in making that happen.
Establish a weekly review of your business goals
It’s not enough to just know what those business goals are. You have to create a system of continuously reviewing them to ensure you are on the right path.
It’s easy for us as marketers to get caught up in the day to day of ensuring that the creative is done, ensuring that we are adhering to brand guidelines, trying to think of the best copy to go with that social media post, and other task, without taking the time to see how our actions fit within the scope of the business. More so, IF our actions are actually producing results for the company or are we simply being busy trying to get the day’s tasks done.
As a marketer I understand how hectic our days can get. That’s why it is imperative to have an actual system where you review everything that you do.
There are two ways I do this:
Every action, tactic or strategy I come up with or take I also document what is the purpose of it and what do I hope to achieve. This way it ensures my focus is on what truly is moving the needle
I have a weekly review of my overall goals and assess if my actions until that point has been helping to move me closer to their achievement. If not then I look on how I can adjust so that my actions are in-line with the goals that I have
Do market research on your current and potential customers (first)
To be truly effective as a marketer in 2020 and beyond every strategy and decision should be driven by data.
It can no longer be about what the individual wants or what feels right, it should only be about what the data says. Now just to be clear it doesn’t mean you can’t execute on ideas that you have or what you think will work.
However, a final decision to do so must be supported by the fact the idea was tested and data collected to assess the viability of doing a full role out of that idea, rather than doing a full implementation based on gut feeling alone.
You want to focus on two sets of groups, your current customers and potential ones.
For your current customers do research to identify new pain points they have and how what you offer can better serve them for 2020. By doing so you create upsell and cross-sell opportunities for the company, and secondly you increase customer retention and the lifetime value of each customer.
For potential customers the research will allow you to better understand the needs of the market and create new revenue and growth opportunities in the following ways:
Attracting new customers (selling more of your existing offering to the same demography)
Identifying new market segments to sell existing offerings (selling to new customers outside your current target demography)
Identifying new product lines that does not exist (creating new products and services to expand your offering)
Develop your brand identity in 2020
2020 will see businesses that win create a brand identity that connects and resonates with customers. It’s no longer about who has the best price. Customers today want to buy from people and brands that can be human who they can relate to and trust.
There is also a strategic and competitive advantage to creating your brand identity. It helps you to stand apart from your competitors and differentiates you in the market. This is especially important if your offering is similar to those of your competitors. Where products and services can be copied your brand identity cannot.
To create this identity ask yourself two questions:
What do we want to be known for in the market?
How can we position our brand as the solution to our customers’ needs?
The second is key because you can only create a strong brand that lasts by focusing on the needs of your customers.
Do a content audit
If you’ve been executing any sort of content strategy, then most likely you’ll have existing content that was used or unused from 2019. Rather than letting it go to waste you should do a content audit to see what can still be useful in helping you achieve your marketing and business goals.
In case you do not know (because I won’t assume that you do) a content audit is when you look at all your content assets and all the content you have created to see which content gaps need to be filled, and which content can be repurposed to create new content.
So an example of this is I have posted a lot of articles on the CMG blog, as well as videos, podcasts and articles on social media. A lot of those content pieces garnered a lot of engagement and awareness for the brand, and some didn’t do as well as it could have.
Rather than having to come up with new content ideas for 2020, I am taking the content that did well and reusing them in different formats to drive specific goals I have for CMG. So an article around creating a content marketing plan can now be used to create a webinar on said or similar topic to reach new audiences, and present the information in a new way for existing audiences.
I intend to do the same for the content that didn’t do as well, because in my opinion no content is truly useless, and every content piece should be squeezed to maximize the return you get from each.
Develop a content strategy and content calendar
According to Gartner in 2020 customer experience through content will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Therefore, the question is no longer if you should be doing content marketing, but what form it will take. Having it as a part of your marketing mix and growth strategy is a must to survive and thrive in today’s digital space.
Consequently, once you have identified your business goals and how your marketing will support achieving them, done your market research and did your content audit to see which assets you have already available, now you need to outline what your content strategy will look like. Also, you want to create a content calendar based on the people, their roles and contribution to creating each piece of content.
By doing so you ensure that your content drives business results, and you create structure and a system so that everyone knows which piece of content should go out each day, week or month, and what are their individual responsibilities to ensure it gets done.
Create a continuous feedback system
For greater clarity when I say create a continuous feedback system I mean create a system where you can constantly collect consumer insights to help continuously improve your marketing efforts.
It’s one thing to collect data on your customers through a yearly or even bi-yearly research, however what I have found in today’s environment of ever-changing technology and customer preference waiting until the beginning of a new year isn’t enough to truly create marketing initiatives that cuts through the noise to the heart of your customers.
Your strategy and approach has to always be shifting and changing to keep up with your customers’ buying behaviours. Don’t assume because they told you they like a specific feature of your product or delivery of your service in a particular way means it will always be the case.
A few ways to do this is to gather data at key interactions with your customers such as online and in-store purchases, social media polls, customer experience surveys, or sales presentation meetings to potential customers. Every touchpoint you can think of where customers interact with your brand should be an opportunity to collect data to consistently improve your strategy.
Use data to create a customer-focused strategy
The final point in making your marketing more effective for 2020 is using the data you have collected as a way to create your entire marketing strategy (content marketing, social media marketing, traditional, email, trade etc.). Your strategy should be highly customer focused and not sales focused in order to be effective.
Why is this important you ask? For one consumers have become numb to push marketing message with an immediate ‘Buy Now’ message, so if you take a sales focused approach you’ll be almost immediately ignored.
The second reason is due to information being readily available (and transparent) on Google customers complete 70% of their research for a solution before even reaching out to a sales rep. This means if you focus only on selling you would have missed out on 70% of the initial interaction and by then they would have already known their top 3 choices based on research, which by the way would not have included you.
It’s important to make your brand known from the beginning of the research process, even before they know they have a need for your product or service.
Going into 2020 as marketers we can no longer think about marketing as we have over the last decade and previous decades before. Marketing needs to be strategic and intentional and drive the same business results using new methods.
Marketing in this new era has to focus on the customer rather than the sale, focus on data rather than gut feeling and hunches, and building brand focused on creating experiences that customers enjoy being a part of, thereby creating loyal and lifetime customers.
Though I’m sure there is much more work that would need to be done the first 30-90 days starting a new year, these eight fundamentals are what I have found to be key in getting a great start to the year, and carrying that momentum through the entire year.
But it starts with a change in mindset of how we think about marketing.