With the new financial year only just underway, now is the time to fine-tune your marketing strategy for 2021-22. If you are not sure yet where you need to focus your efforts to cut through the noise, read on.
Why You Need A Marketing Strategy
Have you heard the expression ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’? Simply put, a solid marketing strategy is a key to success for any business. It starts with understanding your existing customers and how to reach them. Then, there is setting the right goals for your business and creating a clear path towards achieving them.
As you are planning six to twelve months ahead, it’s important to build regular checks and reviews into your strategy. After all, the sooner you realise something is not helping your business grow, the sooner you can find a better alternative.
Marketing strategies are top-level plans to help you stay on track throughout the year. Consider them a flexible support network for your activity rather than a rigid corset for the year. As a strategic marketing agency, we believe that there are key areas any marketing strategy should cover during this financial year:
- Know Your Customers
- Treat B2B Clients As People
- Embrace Technology
- Respect Privacy
- Consider Your Channels
- Think Locally, Succeed Globally
- Invest In Your Brand
- Measure And Review
Know Your Customers
Obvious as it may sound, the most successful marketing strategies are built on a thorough understanding of your customers. Only if you know what their needs and their pain points are, can you begin to fulfill those needs. This is how you persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is their best option.
Knowing your customers goes beyond understanding who they are and what they are buying from you. The most important aspect is to research why they purchase from you. Once you know that, you can finetune your products and services to match your needs. If you feel that your business cannot yet answer these questions, consider making customer research a central part of this year’s marketing strategy.
Treat B2B Clients As People
Your business may be operating in a business-to-business (B2B) environment, but you are still dealing with people. Over the past 15 months, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the merger of home life and work life. Consequently, B2B marketing is more like B2C marketing than ever before.
That means B2B marketers will be more successful if they understand and treat their potential buyers as people. Using platforms and tools consumers like to interact with is one way to achieve that. Even though the buyer you are approaching represents a business, they are still an individual.
Personalising your approach is another strategy for successful digital marketing. More than using mail merge to enter your customer’s name, true personalisation means tailoring your entire pitch to that individual. This may sound time-consuming, but technology is here to support your efforts.
Delivering outstanding digital marketing results in the new financial year will not be possible without technology.
We already dedicated a section of our blog about trends for Q3 2021 to MarTech, the combination of marketing and technology. However, technology has become so important for successful marketing, that it is worth mentioning it again.
MarTech refers to the tools you are using to streamline your marketing processes. Technology helps you gather and analyse customer data. To streamline your marketing strategy, review the tools you are using.
Ideally, you want to have access to all your customer data from one place. This makes it easier to keep the information updated. You will also understand better where your prospects and existing customers are in their customer journey with your business.
Data remains one of the top priorities for digital marketers in 2021. But respecting the privacy and protecting the data of your customers is more important than ever. Technology giants such as Apple and Google have taken steps towards self-regulation.
In addition, data privacy legislation such as the EU’s General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) will also affect digital marketers in Australia. This legislation overlaps with Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) regulations. What do you need to do? Start by checking what customer data you hold and what you are doing with it. Then double-check that your customers have given consent for that specific use.
Making sure customers have ample opportunity to opt into your marketing communications emails, for example, is a great way of ensuring consent. When you are adding more digital marketing tools to your activity, build in privacy protection from the beginning. This will help future-proof your marketing.
Consider Your Channels
How are you reaching your customers and developing your prospects? Relying on your website alone, for example, means you are likely to lose those who are not searching the web for your services.
The solution is omnichannel marketing, reaching out to potential customers across all the channels they are using. This works for B2B marketing just as well as it does for B2C marketers. Remember, buyers are people. Throughout their working day, they use different digital media channels in different ways. Limiting your potential interactions to one channel also limits your opportunities to connect with customers.
Even though software helps with monitoring multiple channels, it might be unrealistic for your business to be visible everywhere. Consider which channels work best for you. A little more than a year ago, in-person exhibitions were a fantastic B2B marketing channel. Over the past year and a half, those events have moved online to virtual platforms.
At the same time, email marketing has had a bit of a rebirth. Virtually every business has one or more email addresses. With the additional screen time due to working from home and movement restrictions, potential buyers have had time to read and interact with emails. The key to successful email marketing, however, is its connection to the rest of your marketing strategy.
Think Locally, Succeed Globally
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) remains a key part of successful marketing strategies in 2021-22. If your business has physical, bricks-and-mortar branches, allocating time and a budget to local SEO is important.
Ranking high internationally does not help your business grow if you need customers to contact you locally. Being listed in local online directories is one way of achieving this. Be sure to follow Google’s guidelines for businesses to make the most of the opportunity.
If your business has many branches in different areas, you likely require a more sophisticated approach to local and global search engine optimisation.
Invest In Your Brand
If there is one overall theme for B2B marketing in 2021-22 it is alignment and coherence. Streamlining every single component of your marketing activity will result in a strategy that sets your organisation apart from its competitors. Investing in your brand helps you tie together all the individual parts of your marketing strategy.
A strong brand is like an umbrella tying together all your organisation’s touchpoints along the customer journey. Your marketing, sales, operations, and customer services (to name just a few) become more than the sum of its parts.
Branding is far more than logos and slogans. It is the vision at the core of your organisation. Without a clear idea of what that is, it is almost impossible to deliver a coherent marketing strategy. A truly strong brand is recognisable to customers even before they see your logo or company name.
Measure and Review
Marketing does not standstill. Creating a solid digital marketing strategy is necessary to understand how you will reach your goals.
However, keeping track of the success of your individual tactics and reviewing them honestly is just as important. MarTech makes easy work of this. Where marketers previously spent hours poring over spreadsheets trying to understand a campaign’s impact, they can now simply look at a convenient dashboard.
Focus your marketing activity on those elements that are working and don’t be afraid to change your tactics throughout the year. Regular reviews allow you to stay on top of developments and see changes quickly. The sooner you adjust, the harder your marketing budget will work.
The Next Step
The B2B marketing environment changed at an unprecedented speed over the past year and a half. This has created both challenges and opportunities for digital marketers looking to finalise their marketing strategy for the new financial year.
Using technology ethically will be a core part of successful marketing strategies in 2021-22. Understanding your customers and approaching them as individuals rather than anonymous organisations will be a key differentiator, and a strong brand lies at the heart of it all.
The best part is you don’t have to figure it all out for yourself. Get in touch to find out how we can help you succeed.