Running a business is tough. And as you focus on meeting the day to day demands of customers, winning new business and running a team, it can be easy to forget the real value of marketing your business. So, let’s look at how to market your business in 2021. And see what’s changed.
Let’s explore what’s changed first. The B2B and B2C business and media landscapes are shifting. Some marketplaces are recovering, and they’ll eventually start to look almost the same as they did pre Covid-19. For others, there’s a much more dramatic shift to try and navigate.
Whether its one or the other, it’s clear that customers’ expectations, wants, needs and attitudes are different than they were 18 months ago. And the business world we’re operating in will never quite be the same.
The same can be said for the media landscape. Its shifting to meet changes in wants and needs and also values. Aligning with new priorities and attitudes, and always seeking relevance and value for audiences.
All of this means that business marketers, particularly in the B2B world, are facing multiple challenges. If you paused or scaled back your marketing efforts, you need to ramp them up again to make your brand, products and services highly visible so you stand out. You’ll also need to let customers know that you’re back open for business, that you have measures in place to keep people safe, and that you’re moving with the times.
It’s crucial to reestablish trust and credibility with customers old and new, so that you can drive sales and leads. Now is the time to ensure you are at the forefront of customers’ minds. That requires a targeted strategy for marketing in 2021 and beyond.
And if you’ve continued marketing throughout the past 18 months, you’ll need to align your strategy and tactics with customer and stakeholder expectations in this ‘new normal’.
But, how do you do all of this successfully and how do you market your business in 2021 and in the months to come?
Here’s a 10-point plan.
Everything in the world has changed and that means that your target markets could have changed too. Or at least what people want and need from you in those target markets may differ. It’s well worth making the effort to identify any market changes and explore how you can cater to them moving forward. Even if your target market is the same, it’s also a good idea to conduct a temperature check of your customers’ wants and needs and get your business aligned.
The quicker you get on the same page as your customers the better. And make sure that you’re catering to your existing customers, as well as those new ones you want to attract.
In challenging times it’s not unusual for marketing budgets to be culled. But if you’re not marketing your business and making your brand visible – how are you going to grow? Don’t cut your PR and marketing budget – reassess it. You need to focus on marketing now more than ever. Competition is fierce and your visibility is crucial. PR and marketing are an investment now and in the future.
You need to ensure that your brand is front of mind and you’re memorable for the right reasons so that people choose to do business with you and not your competitors. You can use it to help you stand out from the crowd to grab more market share too. We advocate working smarter with your budgets. Look at your strategy. Is it working as hard as it can for you? How can you get more stretch out of your marketing activities so your budget goes further? Explore ways to get a better return on your investment.
Take a look at your brand messaging. Is it open, honest and authentic? Does it inspire trust and credibility and is it meaningful to your audiences? Does it attract the people you want it to? And does it still represent who you are? Think about whether or not it helps you to stand out from the competition. Is there more you can do or say to attract and engage new clients?
Trust really is key to marketing your business in 2021 and beyond. It was before we entered lockdowns, and is arguably even more important right now. People are researching companies before they make their buying decisions, the same way you or I do when we want to book a holiday or buy new shoes. Your prospects will look online at your website, company news, press reports, they’ll be reading reviews about your business and checking out your social media. All of this gives them online and social proof that you offer what they want and need, or that you can solve a problem, or make their lives easier. And helps them believe that they can trust you to deliver value.
So, make sure that your messaging and position is clear and fosters trust and credibility.
Keeping everything up to date and relevant will also help your search engine optimisation and online rankings, which as you know helps to power sales.
Post-pandemic people are buying with value intent, as we’ve mentioned. So, make sure that as part of your messaging realignment you’re sharing exactly what value you add. It will help you to stand out from your competition.
Our top tip here is to focus your marketing efforts on the core social media channels your audiences use and engage with. We see lots of businesses spread themselves thin on social trying to communicate on every channel and appeal to every different type of audience. This takes up a lot of time and isn’t guaranteed to get you the best results. Instead, find out which channels most of your customers use and focus on connecting with your customers through those. Post a mix of relevant content in different formats, including posts, photos, videos, and more.
LinkedIn is one of the best channels for B2B marketing. There are more than 700 million members on it all looking to network, sell, buy and grow. And having a strong presence on LinkedIn, posting content, engaging with people and advertising on it yield results. Make it a strategic marketing priority.
Speaking of strategic priorities – digital marketing should be right up there. Explore how you can use marketing automation, video marketing (70% of B2B buyers watch a video before they buy), podcasts and webinars to enhance your marketing. Use paid ads. Personalise your email marketing campaigns. And more.
Try reaching out to your existing customers with news, offers and innovations that meet their new needs via e-mail marketing. It’s a simple and effective marketing tool to use to drive brand awareness and traffic to your website – and a great way to retarget people using your existing data. Direct mail is also an ideal channel for marketing to your current customer database. And go see your customers and meet new prospects at trade shows.
It’s time to restart or ramp up your PR machine. Your company, people, clients and products and services all have great stories to tell. And think out of the box in terms of publications to target – are there new titles with new people to reach? Which new online outlets can you target?
The pandemic has got people thinking more about the environment, and they’re definitely steering more towards businesses that are environmentally conscious and sustainable. This means that it definitely pays to promote how progressive you are in the area of sustainability. Show people how you’ve changed the way you operate, buy from your supply chain and do business with the environment in mind. For example, switching to recyclable packaging. Even small simple changes will appeal to new and existing customers.
As the pandemic took hold, communities focused on supporting local businesses to help them stay afloat. It’s also a good idea to do this as we (hopefully) leave lockdowns in the past because it shows your customers that you care about the communities that you live and work in. Remember, those businesses that add value and are trustworthy do better.
Incorporate more sustainable product and service options. Take a look at the new challenges your customers face – can you create something innovative to help them overcome them.
Is there new technology you can utilise? Can you create a new product or service? Innovating will really impress your customers and help you to exploit new opportunities.
And finally… keep your marketing efforts going, even through future challenging times, and when it means making adjustments to your strategy! It will pay off in the long run.