The year 2020 sounds like it’s still in the future, as if something tremendously futuristic will happen and we should be ready for it. But in reality, it’s as simple as knowing what you’re looking to achieve and planning how you'll do that.
Looking ahead, there’s no doubt that technology will further impact how we do business; the way you market to your customer base will continue to change and become tricky to navigate but if you understand what you want to achieve then you’re halfway there.
The world will become more transparent and the way we communicate with our customers is instant; we’re now available across multiple channels 24/7, 365 days per year.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, it’s important to start with the basics. It’s all too easy to get carried away with the latest trends, tools and tips. But first take a rain check, step back and consider these simple points as part of your planning.
Although it’s often said that ‘the marketing funnel is dead’ since consumers follow non-linear journeys, it will always be the case that, to grow a business, your primary focus is on increasing awareness and customer leads and prospects – regardless of the product or service you’re marketing.
The main aim of most PR work is to gain as much coverage and spread the word as far and wide as possible but this must be to the right audience, and for many companies the overall goal is to gain coverage on a national scale. With the right PR, national coverage is achievable for businesses of any shape, size or sector.
You still need to do the mass reach, mass awareness-type activity to help attract new customers and move the so-called ‘marketing funnel’ towards making a purchase from you or using your services.
What makes you different?
Let’s say you run a business that sells personalised merchandise or floristry products. Why is yours different to the other 101 businesses that do so? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
Demonstrate what you do differently and what it is about your product or business that the customer won’t get anywhere else. What will you do to ensure they buy again or talk favourably about your business to their family, friends and contacts?
Consumer habits today are far too omnichannel (meaning that a prospective customer will be consuming information across many channels, including TV, social media, blogs and forums, etc) to justify only focusing on one or two channels in your 2020 marketing plan. You owe it to yourself, your business and your future customers to at least branch out and try some other channels like social media and maybe even SEO.
How you do it?
Creating a marketing and communications plan for your business is no mean feat, especially if you don’t have a dedicated person or team in place. But understanding what you want to achieve well in advance will make things a whole lot easier. You can read more on creating a marketing strategy in our blog ‘Plan your success and reach for the stars’.
Once you’ve got a good understanding of the basics, look at what your real focus needs to be and formulate a plan. Don’t get distracted by all the noise and instead concentrate on what you want to achieve. Be flexible and adapt to change where change is needed, but don’t jump from one new thing to another until you have a solid understanding of whether it’s working for your business and why it’s working.
Change for the good?
Change takes time; you’ll often hear people talking about how smaller, younger start-up businesses are more flexible, agile and adapt to change and new trends more easily… Wrong! Every business, no matter how large or small, will struggle to implement change quickly and effectively without some sort of impact on staff, customers or processes, so go at your own pace.
Most businesses don’t have huge piles of cash to burn and we recognise that; sometimes, working at your own pace and reviewing results to understand what your customers want, where they buy and what they value will stand you in much better stead than jumping on the back of the latest technology to keep up.
Yes, digital is an important part of the marketing mix, but that’s all it is – part of the mix. Don’t lose your focus on the facts, your purpose and the reason you started your business – remain objective and you’ll succeed.
To find out more about using digital to help grow your business, you can read our blog ‘Five Reasons to use Digital’.
If, in the meantime, you’d like to talk marketing and communications planning for your business in 2020, we’d be delighted to support you. Please get in touch today.