The world is changing around us in every single way. In personal, social and professional senses things are very different today to how they were a year ago, and while there is light at the end of the tunnel it is highly likely that things will continue to change in the coming months, perhaps even years, and it’s vital that we are willing and ready to adapt to this new normal world.
As marketers being forced to adapt our strategy is nothing new, or at least it shouldn’t be! We’re regularly having to return to the drawing board when a campaign gets put on hold, or when something starts to develop that we need to capitalise on, leaving us parking a number of other projects in order to establish a plan for the new campaign that needs to take priority. You can always come back to those other plans later, if they’re still relevant, but for the time being it’s important to be flexible and to find new ways of keeping your business alive let alone growing.
If you think what life must be like when you’re lost in a desert or out in the wilderness, you’d be forced to adapt your whole way of life to a new way of thinking and, ultimately, surviving. Well marketing in the new normal world is a lot like that scenario in the sense that we’re well and truly out of our comfort zones with our tried and tested methods not fully discarded, but not always applicable in the modern age. We need to look for new ways of working, new ways of reaching our audience and engaging with them to the point where they feel ready to convert.
Here we’re going to take you through a few of the techniques and approaches that you’ll need in the next few months to help get you out of the marketing wilderness and back to a point where you’re able to grow your business once again.
Take a more fluid approach
Over the years we’ve heard a lot about content plans and calendars, and they certainly have their place. Not only do they enable you to present a solid three or even six-month plan to a client complete with everything from basic blog content to world-conquering ‘hero’ campaigns designed to catapult your business to the top of the sector with a game-changing idea backed by a huge budget.
In today’s world these plans look great on paper, but they might just be destined to remain on paper. There are too many variables in the world to develop and stick to a strategy that you drew up four or five months ago, you need to be working on a month-to-month basis at most. Sure, keep a tab in your spreadsheet, a section in your project management tool or – for those who still use a pen and paper – a page in your notebook for content ideas, but in 2021 you need to think on your feet.
What are people talking about NOW? What do they want NOW? If you can engage, entertain and inspire people in one of the toughest periods in modern history then your marketing campaign is going to be a success.
Blend proactivity with reactivity
If you’re not acting quickly in marketing then your campaign is likely to be out of date by the time you launch it. You only have a short window of time in order to develop a plan, put it into development and then launch it in order to be a success but in the current world it’s not always possible to put a proactive plan into place, you need to be constantly adapting and tweaking your marketing strategies and campaigns in order to have the maximum impact on your target audience.
It’s always been vital to take a more proactive approach to marketing than a reactive stance to ensure that you are acting at the earliest opportunity, stealing a march on your competitors. However, it’s also key to look at reactive opportunities in your new marketing strategies to ensure that you are adapting your strategy as times and conditions change. If people are forced into another period of lockdown and home working, you’ll need to react quickly to adapt your strategy, tone and messaging.
It’s natural to try and be proactive – and even reactive – around current news events and there’s one main topic dominating our lives at the moment. Steering away from negative events such as the Covid-19 pandemic has been vitally important in marketing with so many people – from all walks of life – having understandably negative feelings towards the events; so reacting to lockdown and associated events would be a poor decision. Other such events to stay away from with your marketing materials would relate to the American capitol riots or the recent flooding in the UK as, again, these are highly emotive events that could alienate and infuriate a significant proportion of your target audience.
When it comes to being proactive you would be better suited looking towards themes such as the changing seasons and our habits as the sun comes out, the leaves fall or the snow covers the ground; or reactive when we have a form of unseasonal event such as a period of warmth in January or snow as we approach the springtime.
Evergreen campaigns still have their place
If you can’t come up with a reactive plan to capitalise on new opportunities, and your proactive plan needs to be put on the back burner for a while, the good news is that evergreen campaigns will remain just that – evergreen.
For those who don’t recognise the term, an evergreen campaign is one that will never go out of style and will never truly age. It’s the kind of thing you could come back to a year later and it will still be applicable, you might just need to adapt a few statistics and update a few areas, but it will still resonate with your new audience who didn’t get to see it last time.
Examples of evergreen campaigns would include beginner’s guides, case studies and eBooks. These represent perfect opportunities for you to promote your internal expertise and share unique, engaging content with a wide audience. Sure, they’re likely to take far longer to put together than a reactive campaign, but the value that they could create for you in terms of newsletter and email marketing sign-ups, social engagement and, perhaps most importantly, leads and even conversions make the hard work worthwhile.
They can be sent out as links to specially created landing pages with the content made available to those who share their details, or distributed among those who have signed up on a particular mailing list. For example, here at Meet Hugo we have a number of exclusive pieces of content including guides and eBooks, which are available to our Meet Hugo Partners as part of their subscription, and there are a number of new eBooks which will be made available to all on our blog very soon, so watch this space.
In the coming weeks, months and years marketing techniques are likely to change beyond all recognition. As we’ve mentioned, your old six month calendars are likely to be a thing of the past and you certainly can’t bank on any major quarterly campaigns working out how you anticipated them to for a while. What is for certain is this represents and exciting time for marketers to unleash their creativity and prove their worth to their employers and those interested in their services. As marketers we are tasked with the challenge of bringing in new business through great materials, whether it’s a blog post, an email campaign, an eBook, a video or a social post; and this means that we’re never going to be bored!