It's 2021, is your Marketing Plan ready?

By all accounts 2020 was a pretty grim year for everyone. It doesn’t need re-living, don’t worry, we’re not doing that here.

2021 is a year for optimism. The pandemic will eventually be over as more and more of us get vaccinated. The economy will start to re-bound and Brexit will begin to disappear from the headlines. We’ll be living in the brave new world of 2021 not locked down in the gloom of 2020.

To survive and thrive in this new world, we all have to accept that some things will never go back to the way they were before. Consumer behaviour has fundamentally changed, procurement and service delivery will continue to be different and the fourth industrial revolution will accelerate at an ever faster pace. 2021 will be the first ‘Digital-first’ year.

As you start to plan for what your marketing activity looks like, there’s some key things to get right ‘behind-the-scenes’ to ensure you can compete in the new normal. We’ve pulled together a short guide/task list for you to run through to ensure you’re 2021 ready.

Audit your data and mailing lists

In an ideal world we’d never have a need to spring clean our data sets and mailing lists because we’d always be on top of them. However, when you’re an SME, lead generation and sales rightly takes priority over maintaining a pristine CRM system.

The simplest way to start the new year on the right footing is to do a deep-dive into the back-end of your CRM and give it a thorough tidy. Any marketing and sales campaign is only as good as the data you put into it.

You will not be able to effectively evaluate the success of future campaigns if the data you are using is flawed.It’s also vital to get an accurate picture of where you are at.

Remember, it’s the quality of data that matters, not quantity.

Revise your customer personas

2020 has changed how everyone behaves. In our private and professional lives, we are all now doing things differently. If you don’t already have personas, you can find out more here. If you do; it’s worth reviewing them and seeing if they need an update to reflect the new world we find ourselves in.

Ask yourself if the way your personas receive information has changed?

Would they still be receptive to receiving a physical product catalogue for example or have they now happily transitioned to digital ways of working and can be emailed one instead.

Has your potential customer now got used to seeing digital advertising and thus a more personalised approach is needed?

When you put yourself in your potential client/customers shoes, you understand better the way they work. By revising your persona’s you could find more cost-effective ways of communicating with them and generating leads and sales.

Optimise and review your website

Our consumption of online content and engagement with companies and organisations in 2020 has massively increased. As we’ve had more time to spend browsing the internet, we’ve become more accustomed to the differences and nuances between a good and a poor website.

We’re now much more likely to notice a broken link, a poor-quality image, non-sensical copy and pages that lead to dead ends. We’re also more adept at knowing what a good website looks like. In 2021, businesses and organisations can no longer afford to have a sub-standard online presence. Errors will be noticed, and negative perceptions will be formed if things are not in top shape.

Investing the time and effort upfront to polish your digital shop-front will pay huge dividends in the long run.

Get back in touch with your audience

With everything that happened in 2020, regular email comms, content updates, videos, infographics and everything else that goes into a comms strategy has taken a backseat. As we move back into the swing of things, its crucial to get communicating again. The longer you go without communicating, the relationship you’ve previously built can come undone.

Use this as an opportunity to get back into a comms routine or use 2021 as an excuse to start building a relationship from scratch.

Build a strategy that’s based on testing and learning

Don’t assume that a marketing strategy that worked pre-pandemic will automatically work once the pandemic has passed. Re-test everything.

Audience profiles, open-rates, ad words spend, link click throughs… all will have changed during the last 12 months. As things start to open up again, only put small amounts of spend into advertising to start with. Lower your expectation of email comms and don’t expect to quickly get back to your normal website hits. It’s going to take time.

Don’t re-invent the wheel but also don’t make the mistake of just doing a slightly tinkered version of what would have been your 2020 plan. It will take time to find out how your marketing will work in the new normal, be patient and through testing and learning you will find a new plan that works for your business or organisation.

For a free consultation on your 2021 plans, get in touch with us at Divergent Path.

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