Future-proofing your business’s marketing strategy for the year ahead is something marketers should be doing annually. But after the unpredictable events of 2020, preparing for 2021 feels a little different — perhaps more difficult than previous years, or even a bit scary. In times of fear and uncertainty, preparation is key! And, being able to quickly adapt your strategy to meet changing circumstances is vital. We’ve put together some helpful hacks to help ensure your B2B marketing strategy for 2021 is future-proof and designed to secure the ultimate results. From conducting research into your market, audience and competitors to taking a human-first approach to buyers and key messages, let’s explore five ways to guarantee your strategy is 2021-ready.
Be agile to reach buyers at various touchpoints
The B2B marketing world is always evolving — with the latest trends, technologies and channels only ever around the corner. To keep up and stay ahead of the curve in 2021, your team and your strategy need to be highly agile — pivoting to the most relevant platforms and mediums; adapting your products, services and offers to meet shorter-term goals, and editing key messages, company cultures and ways of working to suit customers and employees in an ever-changing climate. This is good news for your business according to Aprimo and Forbes — who found that 28% of senior marketers reporting more projects are completed on time following a switch to agile marketing.
Keep empathy at the heart of your marketing messages
According to Asset Bank, 64% of UK business decisions believe branding and PR to be the most important elements of marketing as we emerge from lockdown. The decisions you make, influencers you work with and causes you decide to back are a reflection of your brand — and your audience knows that. In 2020, we saw an influx of buyers boycotting brands based on poorly chosen marketing messages. This isn’t going away. As we evolve to become a more socially-conscious world, to build trust, improve your reputation and come out the other side of a crisis, your brand needs to be human-first.
Conduct market research — and listen to your audience
When designing and implementing a marketing strategy, you need to ensure you’re catering to the needs of your audience and be aware of the industry you’re operating within. That’s where market research comes in — a pivotal step in ensuring you’re getting it right. The unprecedented circumstances of 2020 showcased how quickly industries can change — and even collapse altogether. Identifying threats and challenges before they arise will give you extra time to plan, prepare and adapt. The same goes for new opportunities, upcoming trends and patterns — recognizing them ahead of time gives you the chance to capitalize on them.
Know what your competitors are doing
Getting to know your audience is crucial — and believe it or not, so is getting to know your competitors. Conduct a competitor analysis to see who your competitors are, what they’re doing online, how their business differs to yours and what similarities you share. Identifying how you measure up to the competition will very clearly highlight your strengths, weaknesses and even your unique selling points. Do you rank higher than them on search engines for specific keywords, but are lagging behind on your social presence? Is their seamless website experience helping them convert more of your potential customers? Use your findings to improve your digital strategy — and ensure that whatever they’re doing, you’re doing it better!
Use data where you can — and prepare to take the occasional risk
Making data-driven decisions is an effective way to boost marketing ROI and ensure you’re meeting the needs of your specific audiences. It helps you see what worked most effectively in the past, and where you’ve invested budget and resources that have secured very little return. This enables you to make more efficient choices in the future. However, nobody can predict the future. And sometimes, you have to trust your instincts and be willing to take a small risk. Adopt a ‘no idea is a bad idea’ approach when it comes to meetings and idea generation sessions. This will help foster your team’s creativity — and you never know what innovative and engaging ideas they may come up with.
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