Every day, consumers of all ages are inundated with marketing messages from brands on various media channels. Which messages will capture your audience’s attention, and what will they tune out?
Take Note of Current Trends
Local marketing experts recognize the importance of creating dynamic marketing campaigns that ring true with consumers. Heading into the new year, it is important to understand trends and how to execute them to successfully reach your target audience, grow brand recognition, and fuel company growth.
Madison Keast, marketing strategist for DayCloud Studios, noted that personalizing your marketing message is one of the most important things you can do. This is especially important in a time when people are flooded from all angles with pressure to make purchases.
“By personalizing your marketing messaging, you will have a higher chance of connecting with the consumer,” she said. “This can include email campaigns, content, or products.”
Lauren Gilmore, director of media planning and buying at Smith Kroeger, agreed.
“Marketers should explore how they could implement people-based marketing and individualized/customized messaging based on customer preferences — even if it’s not the right time for them yet, now is the time to get educated and be ready.”
Wendy Wiseman, chief creative officer at Zaiss & Co., suggested taking note that overall, consumers are looking for companies that are doing their part to give back to communities and larger social causes.
“Now, more than ever, consumer preference is driving toward brands that do the right thing,” she said. “Seventy-two percent of Gen Z’ers are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. People want to buy ‘in’ to something versus buy something.”
As businesses continue to pivot their marketing strategies during the pandemic to reach their audiences and try to connect with them amid ongoing turmoil, one thing is evident: communicating clearly with authenticity is critical.
“Successful brands have been ones that are able to communicate updates to customers quickly and authentically,” Gilmore said. “Changes in inventory, shipping times, wait times, staffing challenges, and more are all surmountable challenges as long as your customers know what to expect. Thinking critically about how customer service is part of your marketing strategy to help retain current customers and conquer competitors who aren’t keeping up is something that will last long past the pandemic.”
Keast agreed that people connect better with marketing tactics that are truly genuine.
“Consumers are now used to and want a brand to have an authentic tone of voice in their marketing and advertising,” she said. “Consumers are looking for brands who value people over profits.”
Finishing the Year Strong
Engagement during a busy month of holidays and planning for the new year means getting creative and not letting go of the goals you have made to have a successful year.
Ann Pedersen, vice president of solutions delivery for OBI Creative said, “Don’t slide through the holidays into the new year. Keep the pedal all the way down, continuing to execute on your organizational goals through Dec. 31. While you’re doing that, take a close look at your marketing goals and make sure they are aligned with your company goals for next year. By setting metrics upfront, you can track progress toward marketing goals and adjust as needed throughout the year.”
Gilmore recommended keeping an eye on the current customer base, too.
“While most business efforts are around new customer acquisition, incremental sales opportunities from existing customers could be a good strategy to finish the year strong,”
Katie Herzog, chief client officer for Ervin & Smith, advised using the end of the year to strategize for the next year.
“Use 2022 to position yourself to take advantage of future opportunities,” she said. “If we learned anything in the past two years, it is that no one can predict what will happen next.
Having a plan for the next three to six months will allow you to get out of reactionary mode now — and enable you to react more quickly when the next great opportunity comes along.”
New Year, Positive Results
Investing in the right tools to reach your audience at the right time is paramount to business growth.
Wiseman said that knowing which digital tools work is important to establishing a strong presence and attracting a wide audience of technology-savvy consumers.
“The pandemic pushed brands into the digital/online sales space like never before,” she said. “Online retail sales increased 32.4% in 2020 and are up 39% year to date.
“Nearly every brand across categories pivoted to stay alive ‘differently’ during the pandemic, changing delivery of their goods and services. Find the right digital tools to target prospects by preference and deliver to them what they want.
“Done strategically well, this channel can be very efficient and informative, allowing small businesses to invest in what makes sense, then see what works and pivot quickly.”
In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that online marketing is not a trend that’s going away anytime soon, and engaging users with short form videos is something that businesses should consider pursuing in 2022.
“With over one billion users using TikTok, short form videos are on the rise,” Keast said.
“They are perfect for declining attention spans, ideal for social media, and it is easier for
viewers to remember.”
In addition, influencer marketing is something else to watch for and consider implementing.
More and more companies plan on using macro/microinfluencers in the coming year to build brand awareness.
“Consumers are looking to buy products from someone they ‘know’ instead of from traditional media,” Keast said.
Pedersen noted that working with your marketing team to create a strategic plan that caters to your unique business and audience base is important.
“We recommend investing in tools that can help small businesses to build engagement and offer value — tools that allow small businesses to manage, track and talk to existing clients, as well as nurturing prospects into sales-ready leads,” she said.
But what it really boils down to is looking at all angles of your marketing plan and making sure you know what works and what doesn’t.
“To set yourself up to start strong in the new year, the best thing to do could be to take a hard look at evaluating how this year went,” Gilmore said. “What were your marketing initiatives this year, how did they turn out, and what are the priorities next year?
“By gaining a solid understanding of what you’ve done so far, you can set yourself up for better success in 2022. Examining your unique value proposition can help cement your niche in the community. Being great at the right things is better than trying to be everything to everyone.”