This year has required a lot of adjustment for individuals and businesses alike. As our daily routines were disrupted, many of us had to pivot in one way or another in order to adjust to the times. The changes trickled down to every aspect of business, marketing, consumer behavior, and more. It's safe to say that we were all affected in some way or another this year.
While some of these shifts were painful, there are some interesting dynamics about the year that we think will continue into 2021. It is never easy to predict the future (2020 has certainly proven that), but we think some of the shifts that were made this year — especially in the world of marketing — may stick around for awhile or, at a minimum, influence consumer's behavior in the new year.
Here are some areas of focus that make sense for your business in today's marketing landscape:
In an increasingly on-demand world with a need for instant gratification, live chat has almost become the norm on websites. According to SuperOffice, "41% of customers expect live chat on your website."
One reason to have a chat feature on your website is ease of communication. Consumers like to communicate on their own terms. Some may prefer a phone call or email, but increasingly, consumers like using chat. If a customer can't get a quick response from a brand, their loyalty is likely to dwindle. Imagine wanting to ask a simple question, but having to pick up the phone and wait on hold for 20 minutes. Most users would hang up and head to a competitor's website.
Email marketing can often be a beneficial addition to your multi-touch marketing strategy. While there are newer and flashier marketing tools out there, email marketing is unique in its ability to reach customers and interested parties directly in their inboxes — a place most of us frequent on a regular basis! When you send emails, you're also reaching an audience that has already opted-in to receive your messages. This means your audience is already expecting to hear from you and may be more ready to convert!
If you're just getting started with email marketing or have been utilizing it without seeing great results, try these four tips to optimize your strategy.
In an oversaturated digital landscape, it is more important than ever to learn how to cut through the noise and build a connection with your brand's target audience. There are many ways to set yourself apart from competitors and establish a recognizable personality for your brand — colors, logos, and other visual features, but alone, they are not enough. To connect with your customers and build a lasting, loyal relationship, your brand needs a voice. A brand voice encompasses the language, tone, and personality used to connect with consumers.
When developing a voice for your brand, it is important to be intentional. The voice of your brand will evolve with time but should always be consistent with your brand's core identity. Here are some tips for developing and maintaining a brand voice:
Which way will the holiday shopping winds blow this season? Dare we try to predict a single thing in the year 2020? Will customers be more frugal after a tough year, or will they be elated with holiday joy and rush to complete their lists? There are plenty of things that nobody knows, however, there are factors that are certain this season. Here are our marketing recommendations for the 2020 holiday season that you won't want to ignore!
One-to-one marketing tactics have been proven to be successful across many industries and is a great way to increase engagement across the consume experience. with your business. This strategy allows for a more personal interaction when engaging with potential new consumers, as well as nurturing existing customers' loyalty and positive rapport. There are three major tactics used in deploying one-to-one marketing strategies: personalization, segmentation, and customization.
Personalization is essentially organizing your customer base in order to better understand what their needs they have and how they want to be involved with your business. This means making sure the appropropriate content goes to your desired audience. A great way to gather the information needed to make these organization improvements is by monitoring website traffic to see where consumers are going on your website and where they're spending the most time.
On any given day, there are likely numerous people involved in the success of your business. Real employees are working diligently to get things done and real customers are utilizing your products and/or services.
As the world becomes more of a digital and virtual place, this human aspect of your company can become one of your most effective marketing tools. People want to get to know the faces behind your brand. Likewise, they want to hear from other humans about how your products and services worked for them. Marketing collateral has its place, but it's no substitute for real life stories about your brand.
Some business owners are afraid to invest in marketing because they don't want to throw away time and money. Even though we live and breathe all things marketing, we have to agree with this mentality. Marketing should be approached with intention, results should be measured, and performance should be analyzed. Without these important steps, you're really just taking shots in the dark.
No one wants to spend money on something that's not a sure thing. That's where the intentionality of your marketing comes into play. Sure, you could try posting on social media or diving into email marketing but unless you're first analyzing the "why" behind those things, you're less likely to receive successful results.
"When companies allow a deep emotional understanding of people's needs to inspire them — and transform their work, their teams, and even their organization at large — they unlock the creative capacity for innovation." IDEO, "Empathy on the Edge"
Empathy, or putting yourself in another's shoes to more deeply understand how they experience the world, is an incredibly important, powerful tool in marketing. Increasingly, customers want to connect with the brands they use, and while there are more ways than ever to get in front of customers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to build trust. By taking the time to understand your customers on a deeper level — what motivates them, what frustrates them, what are their greatest grievances and annoyances, you can create an experience and craft messaging that truly resonates with them. Nothing happens in a vacuum — understanding the context in which consumers interact with your brand can help spark creativity and innovation and ultimately drive better results. You cannot create an effective solution without knowing what your customers value and having a comprehensive understanding of the problem.
As autumn settles in, it's time to start thinking about next year's marketing strategy. This year was certainly unlike any year we could have anticipated. We can use some things we learned from this challenging year in preparation for 2021.
Above all else, prepare for the unexpected. While we certainly hope the global pandemic is behind us next year, it's best to plan for continued unexpected changes as best you can. What does this look like in your marketing strategy? Consumers will likely still be shopping and doing research online still. This means you MUST have a strong digital presence. Is your website in tip top shape? Are you ranking well on Google? Do you have a social media plan in place?