And just like that, it’s almost time to ring in the new year. Looking ahead of schedule and devoting ample time to planning out your campaigns and marketing milestones is essential for success, allocating resources, and finding where gaps exist. According to Gartner’s State of Marketing Budgets 2021, across the board, marketing budgets fell from 11% of revenue in 2020 to 6.4% of revenue in 2021. That’s the lowest level of marketing allocation in the history of the survey.
Marketing spend is down, but these unprecedented times won’t last forever, and already there are signs of a rebound. Developing a successful marketing strategy will address your most significant business challenges, keep your team aligned, and is instrumental in helping you establish your budget in the new year. Learn more about the five steps to creating marketing strategies that drive results in the first quarter.
Evaluate the Success of Last Year’s Marketing Plan
With less than two months left in the year, businesses should be deploying fourth-quarter marketing activity and developing a plan for the first quarter. But, how can you find the right strategies if you don’t know what’s happening to your marketing campaigns? You can apply marketing tactics all day, but if they aren’t effective, those efforts won’t matter in the long term. While ROI will always be your most important metric, there are other items to consider when you are trying to find out what is working, what isn’t working, and how you can improve your results. Measuring marketing effectiveness is crucial to improving your go-to strategies over time.
- Did you achieve desired results from your marketing efforts?
- Which specific marketing initiatives were effective?
- Which initiatives were not effective?
- Should you reallocate resources to better performing targets, markets, or marketing tactics?
These are only a few of the questions you should begin answering before planning out your marketing strategy. Without reviewing and analyzing the effectiveness of your current marketing strategies, it’s hard to know where to best channel your time, creative energy, and budget to continue boosting your pipeline and revenues.
Observe What Your Competitors Are Doing
Every brand can benefit from regular competitor analysis. By performing a competitor analysis, you’ll be able to identify gaps in the market, uncover market trends, develop new services, and market more effectively. Often, your most significant opportunities come from your competitors’ data.
Elements to examine include competitors’ :
- Social media presence
- Pricing strategy
- Products & Services
- Messaging & positioning
- Online reviews
Once you’ve seen what competitors are doing well or lacking in these areas, you can get ideas for improvement or make their weaknesses your strong points. Analyzing the competitive landscape will help you identify your competitive advantage. Identifying your competitive advantage will also help you create your messaging and brand image by relying on your key differentiators. It’s important to keep tabs on the competition and improve your business in response, but keep in mind, it doesn’t have to dominate your strategy.
Create a Killer Content Strategy
Content is no longer the king, simplicity is. Consumers have become more interested in high-quality and unique content. Today’s consumers want to know what makes your product or service the best and how it will address their pain points. Cue content marketing. This is an opportunity to become a thought-leader and educate rather than hard-sell. In order for organizations to fully capitalize on the benefits of content marketing, it’s essential to have an informed strategy in place. Ad hoc blogging and occasional social media posts simply won’t cut it. Being consistent and efficient with budget and time is essential, which is why 73% of organizations have someone in place to oversee their content strategy.
The top issue for businesses is finding the time to create and publish high-quality content. That’s why as many as 70% outsource at least one content marketing activity, with content creation being the activity outsourced the most, followed by content distribution. Content marketing has the potential to deliver more leads at a much-reduced cost for those who get it right. Creating a strategy that defines who you will target, the content you will create, and how that content will be promoted is the first step to delivering significant, recurring growth for your business, and now is the time to put that in place.
Diversify the Plan
Be strategic about the channels you use and be innovative with your marketing approach. Diversifying your marketing channels, especially at this time, offers an opportunity to engage with existing customers and attract potential customers simultaneously. You can accomplish this by earning the attention of target audiences and retaining their interest with impactful and engaging content and solutions. Find ways to personalize your interactions with your target audience with engaging owned content to develop trust and create a truly lasting customer connection.
One of the best ways to help you grow your business and online presence is through diversification of your marketing channels. Your target audience may be flocking to a certain platform right now, but what if their preferences, site algorithms, or market forces shift? No matter how great your product or service is, it won’t generate revenue if prospective customers can’t find your offerings. While you should always be strategic and focus on those channels that maximize ROI, having an omnichannel strategy can help your business stay nimble enough to survive any sudden changes that might come your way. An omnichannel marketing strategy allows teams to meet their consumers where they are, with the right message at the right time. 56% of consumers are more likely to engage with businesses that personalize their online experience, according to the Hubspot 2021 State of Marketing report. By marketing your business on multiple channels and tailoring your message for each, you can reach your customers where they hang out online along the entire buyer’s journey.
Top Marketing Channels You Should Prioritize in 2022
- Customer Stories
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Video Marketing
- Public Relations
Engage With a Digital Marketing Agency for Help
It’s time to lock in your digital strategy. In today’s landscape, your target consumers are almost always online. And that’s exactly where you need to reach them. As a result, digital dominance will continue in 2022. According to Gartner, 72.2% of marketing’s budget was spent on pure digital channels in the past year.
Consider partnering with an agency to learn how to capitalize on and enhance your owned digital assets or how to build out new marketing channels to communicate with clients and prospects. Whether it’s your website, social media profiles, blog content, imagery, or videos, control your messaging to surprise and delight your audience in a meaningful way. Use your social media or blog to amplify positive customer reviews and media hits. Consider paid media channels like Google AdWords, paid social media posts (LinkedIn is a great option for B2B offerings), or native advertising to gain visibility. While this may seem like an oversimplification, an agency will carefully explore the right strategy to give you the measurable results you want and need. Conway Marketing Group has experience in creating and deploying data-driven, journey-based digital marketing strategies that enable us to serve clients effectively across a wide range of industries.
Let’s get started— together.
This collaborative, five-step process leads to the most efficient and cost-effective way to achieve marketing and business goals that drive results.
Conway Marketing Group is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in website design and development, brand strategy and management, and content creation. Our team helps clients improve marketing efforts and establish better branding that positively impacts business.
Reach out to our team to discover how we can help your business save time, money, strengthen your brand and deliver more sales and revenue.