Whether you enjoyed it or not, 2020 taught us a lot of lessons. It turns out we need to wash our hands and cover our mouth when we cough. But once we got past the lessons we learned in Kindergarten, we found 5 marketing lessons from 2020 that can help us get ready to succeed in 2021…and beyond.
Use Foundational Marketing
When things are going well, it seems like every marketing tool and gimmick can be effective. But when times are tough, the opposite can be true. Not only can marketing efforts not work, but some can actually turn your clients off. That’s why 2020 taught us to make sure we have our “foundational marketing” shored up. This includes a more basic and cost-effective way of going to market. We found that our requests for direct mail went way up in 2020.
Why? Because our customers wanted to reach directly out to their prospects…and they wanted to do it in a very cost-effective way. Scratch that…they NEEDED to be cost-effective. When that happens, we often need to go “back to basics.” This means we saw an uptick in direct mail, postcards and custom calendars. These tools create the foundation for your marketing, and you should consider using them to build your brand in 2021.
Create Content…That Serves the Client
When everyone was required to start working from home, we saw a big spike in content being created. From our perspective, that is a good thing! But there is an important lesson to remember when creating content: it should serve the client. So much of what passes for “content marketing” these days is just a long form advertisement. While those pieces of content certainly has a place, the best content is created with the customer’s needs in mind. As a rule of thumb, no one searches for a commercial (unless they are created by Ryan Reynolds). Create something that answers a question you are asked all of the time. Giving value builds credibility with your audience and helps to create a relationship that can really help to grow your business.
Whether you want to create a marketing message that stands out, or you want to show your team that they are valued, personalization matters. As I said here, the most powerful marketing word is simple…someone’s name. This has always been true, but 2020 made us understand in a whole new way. Not only does personalization matter to help your marketing stand out, it can also be a safety precaution! No one wants to drink out of the wrong tumbler during a pandemic! Giving value through content is a great way to show someone that you care…and so is putting their name on a branded gift!
Real Cause Marketing Matters
One of my favorite trends in marketing has been the increase in organizations tying their brand to a cause. When we can promote our company AND do some real good in the world, that is a slam dunk. It’s become such a trend that it seems some companies are hopping from cause to cause, hoping to catch lightening in a bottle from their ‘good work.” I don’t think that is the way to do it. It feels forced, and the audience will sniff that out. On the other hand, if you can help a cause that really resonates with your brand and your team, you can not only make a difference…you can create great marketing too!
My friends Roger Burnett and Stan Phelps wrote a great book on this concept called Red Goldfish: Promo Edition. Check it out here.
Life Is Too Short For Cheap SWAG
For years, we have been proponents of focusing on higher quality branded merchandise and promotional products. The reason is simple: these items represent your brand. If you use cheap promotional products, that is what prospects will think of you! That concept has been highlighted in ALL CAPS during the pandemic. Why? Because most of the events where companies handed out “cheap swag” were cancelled. So in order to reach their customers, organizations were forced to drop ship branded merchandise directly to customers. And let’s face it, if you are spending $10 to $20 to ship something to your clients, you shouldn’t waste your money just sending a $.49 pen!
But an interesting thing happened. When organizations needed to be more thoughtful about their branded merchandise, effectiveness of the media actually increased! It turns out, when you create quality branded merchandise, your customers and prospects get excited to rep your brand. It’s called Delivering Marketing Joy…and 2020 has taught us that it is alive and well in marketing done right.
These are just 5 marketing lessons from 2020. We are excited to use these lessons in 2021…and beyond!
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