In looking ahead to 2021 and the brewing economic recovery, it is essential to understand what happened in 2020 and how it will shape the next 12 months.
- Don’t take a one size fits all approach – For decades now companies large and small have invested millions of dollars in targeting their audience with messaging that their “gut” tells them will resonate with their target consumer. They fail to do their research and take a homogenous all approach to marketing. Even large global brands like Chevrolet tried marketing their Nova around the world without taking into account regional interpretations of the word. The net result was a sales disaster in South America where the model name roughly translated to “No Go”.
- Do your research – Market research is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Today’s consumer base is highly fickle and they often know your product or your marketplace better than you do. Spending a few extra weeks in your marketing process to understand what makes your customers tick, their likes and dislikes and their perception of your brand can be the difference between an overwhelming success and an utter failure when your product goes to market. When possible, involve the target as early in the product development lifecycle as possible, even simple Facebook polls on your brand website can derive valuable information at no cost.
- Be where your consumers are – Let’s face facts, the days of targeting the masses via a 30 second spot on NBC or a print buy in the NY Times have long since passed. The last 10 years have created an incredibly fragmented marketplace and the next 10 are likely to increase fragmentation exponentially. With a litany of methods for content distribution, it is now more important than ever that your message is carefully crafted, delivered at the right time and via the right channel. Working with technology that can manipulate your message and deliver it across multiple platforms, in multiple languages is no longer an expense you can’t justify, it is a technology you must justify.
- Social isn’t going anywhere – With Facebook being the second most visited site on the web your website alone isn’t going to cut it anymore. Consumers are spending more time engaging, promoting and complaining about brands on Twitter and Facebook now more than ever before. Consumers expect to be heard, they expect to play a role in choosing the next flavor (Mountain Dew’s Dew Nation), they want to participate in helping raise awareness (Susan G. Komen), they want to buy within Facebook (Target, Sephora, 1-800-Flowers ), they want to get a great deal (@DellOutlet, @JetBlue), they want to find your mobile coffee, Korean BBQ or gourmet cupcake truck (@kogibbq, @coffeegroundz, @sprinkles), they want to broadcast their problems and get them solved(@bofa, @frontier). Listen, innovate and engage.
- Go mobile – Seems that every year since 2005 has been heralded as “The Year of Mobile”, 2021 might be the year. In 2021, 5G internet technology will be available everyone. Add the launch of iPhone 12 varieties and more affordable Android phones. Retailers will be able to sell directly through QR codes, barcode scans and mobile storefronts. Location aware ads might become a reality, imagine getting a 20% off mobile coupon from Macy’s valid for 60 minutes when you enter the mall or a coupon for a free small cup of coffee at the airport food court.
2021 promises to be an exciting year for consumers and advertisers alike.
A well-rounded marketing strategy inclusive of targeted campaigns, increased consumer dialogue and a focus on more efficient technology will make you a more effective marketer.