10 Ideas to Improve Your 2021 Marketing Plans
Since this post won’t go live until shortly into the new year, let me break my own rule of saying “Happy New Year!” too late in the new year!
But I’m like everyone, hopeful that 2021 will be a bit brighter than 2020.
As we head into the year and start to ramp up our business engines for the year, I wanted to take a moment to share 10 ideas that I hope everyone can incorporate into their marketing for the new year.
1. Make sure you are market oriented:
By market oriented I mean that you work to bring the customer inside your business and look at the business from the point of view of the folks that you are selling to.
This simple act can lead you to being closer to the challenges that your customers are facing, leading you to introduce products and services that are closer to what folks need, and allowing you to make more money.
2. Get comfortable with market research:
Data is on most folks’ lips and it can become overwhelming pretty quickly.
This can limit your likelihood of doing the necessary research to push your business forward or it can put you in a position where you think you have all the data and research that you can possible ever need.
Last year I learned this incredible technique that has changed my relationship to research and data called “Backward Marketing Research” and it is pretty simple and allows you to take control of your research.
Here’s how it goes:
You figure out what you are trying to figure out. Decide on how you want to see the answers to your questions displayed in numbers, graphs, and charts. Then you design your survey and research around those two answers.
Let your research be a tool to help you understand what is going on around you better, not to drive you in circles.
3. Segment your market based on behavior:
I’m sure the next great generation we are going to hear about is “Generation Z” and how they are so different than everyone else.
This is bogus!
Just like everything “millennial” was a load of BS, everything about segmentation that is built around demographics is weak tea.
As a white man in my mid-40s, you could get me in the room with a group of other 40-somethings of different shapes, sizes, and incomes, and we would have a lot of different behaviors, interests, and habits. But we’d all be around the same age.
That’s the challenge of demographic segmentation, you are lumping people together that only have one aspect of their being in common, age.
It is better to segment based on behavior so you can take into account tastes, financial situation, location, or other important factors that drive actions.
4. Target in some shape or form:
I’ve seen enough marketing plans over the years to know that folks love to say, “We can appeal to anyone.”
You know what that means?
They aren’t very good marketers and they aren’t really trying to be effective.
The truth is that successful marketing is about making choices.
Targeting a specific segment or segments is a strategic choice that you need to make to help put your business in a position to be successful. It is entirely okay that you are excluding big portions of a potential market because they don’t fit the profile of folks you want to serve or can provide maximum value for.
That’s why targeting is important because you have to pick who you are for so that you can have a chance to deliver real value to a certain segment of the market.
5. Position yourself for what you can do and against what your competition is doing:
Your position in the market should do two things:
- Position you against your competition in a way that you draw a clear distinction about how you are better and different than they are.
- Your position should focus on the things you can deliver right now.
You need your position statement and your positioning to do both. Not just one, but both.
6. Create a map of the touch points your typical buyer goes through before making a purchase:
Many marketers don’t really understand the buying journey that their customers take to get from never having heard of you to being a loyal customer.
This can lead to short term marketing decisions that rely too heavily on one type of advertising or one specific tool to meet all of your goals, leaving out many of the steps along the path that have helped enable you to reach a point where someone will buy from you.
It is important that you spend a little time thinking through the ways that folks encounter you and your business from the start of the journey to the end of the journey you are taking them on.
My guess is that you are probably encountering your potential buyer a lot more often than you think you are.
7. Recognize the value of all 4 pieces of the marketing mix:
The 4 Ps are a foundational concept of marketing and they are the tactical tools that your business will use to make your strategy a reality.
Taking any one of these four tools alone may get you results, but putting them together in a coherent manner will help you drive marketing success.
Marketing is more than just the promotion of your product or service, it is about the strategy and the way you need to create products that deliver value, priced effectively, in the right channels, with the right promotions supporting these efforts.
Understand the way that everything plays together this year.
8. Realize that your brand is the accumulation of all the encounters a customer or prospect has with you, good and bad:
Too much discussion about branding is fuzzy and filled with BS.
Your brand is just the accumulation of all the encounters someone has with you over the years, good and bad.
This puts you on the hook though.
You need to realize that those touch points we discussed earlier are impactful on your brand and that you need to know what people are seeing, feeling, and doing with your brand at each stage of the sales and marketing process, before and after they work with you or choose not to.
Every encounter matters and these encounters can add or subtract from the value people put on what you do.
9. Learn some better pricing philosophies:
I am a strong adherent to “value based pricing” because it allows me to do the best job in my business of capturing the maximum excess value for what I deliver for my clients.
You can try other things like the Van Westendorp method, dynamic pricing, or something else, but spend some time thinking through the way you are handling pricing this year because here’s a quick fact: for each 1% in price you are able to grow, you are growing your profit about 10%.
That’s worth the effort to get better at pricing, yeah?
10. Don’t discount:
Put down that little red discount button and incinerate it.
The discount button is easy to push and might lead to sales in the short term, but it becomes addictive and has long-term negative implications on your brand, on your profits, and your ability to be successful over the long-term.
Martin Lindstrom did some research a few years back that pointed to the idea that if you discount today, you become a discount brand in your customer’s mind for around 7 years even if you never discount again. Other research on the negative impact on pricing shows that for each 1% you discount, you cut your profits by 40%.
So don’t discount.
These are 10 ideas I hope to see you all put to use in your marketing this year!
I think they might make a big difference!