How to Optimize Marketing and Communications for Today’s  Times

marketing & communications vane of the four vanes of marketing success

How to optimize Marketing & Communications in today’s times is a question frequently asked by clients. Here is a snapshot of how I generally respond.

In today’s (still uncertain) times optimizing Marketing and Communications is not a ‘nice to do’, it’s a ‘must do’. The lingering effect from COVID-19 and its variants has affected in some way most if not all B2B, B2B2C, and B2C markets, causing a shift in mindset of buyers. As with most change, opportunities arise, and learning how to optimize your Marketing and Communications to align to these opportunities is imperative. With 2021 still in a state of flux due to the pandemic and 2022 right around the corner, now is the time to craft your Marketing and Communications strategy and plan for enabling growth in the new year.

Leveraging Today’s Market

A year ago, I wrote a blog expressing the key sentiment “this too shall pass” relating to COVID-19. I wish it came true, but the reality now 12 months later is we are still living with COVID and its variants despite a semi-vaccinated population. While there is little doubt your Marketing and Communications have changed since March 2020, the question remains if it is reflective and aligned to today’s still uncertain times?  One thing is for certain…now is not the time to ‘wait and see’, rather it is the time to take the lead in your go-forward strategy, plans and actions for Marketing and Communications.

Marketing and Communications Agility

Marketing and communications cannot be viewed as business as usual. Rather, your marketing and communication strategies, plans and tactics require agility and acceleration to leverage today’s still uncertain times. Finding new and creative ways to attract, engage and solidify relationships with your target audience and buyers during this pandemic is your opportunity.

As you adapt your marketing and communications strategies and tactics to address the market changes and buyer mindset shifts, recognize that transparent, authentic, educational and thought leader style communication and digital engagement as part of your mix remain essential to fostering connection during these times. Adapting your communications mix, stories and messages, and platforms to maintain continued visibility and meaningful connections are more important than ever.

Maintaining Momentum

Despite today’s continuing uncertainties (and fears) caused by the pandemic, it is important to keep your momentum moving forward in a genuine, caring and compelling way. Your buyers are looking to you for reassurance, confidence, timely information, and how you can add value during these times. This heightens the role and purpose of marketing and communications!

Those that do this right will further build the trust and confidence that buyers need now and going forward. So, what can you do now to leverage today’s still uncertain market and optimize your marketing and communications? There are several things…

Gain Today’s Market Pulse

When is the last time you deliberately took the initiative to gather input and intelligence from your buyers, prospective buyers, and on your competition, if not this year. Don’t wait, now is the ideal time to do so before 2022.  Many clients who embrace doing this have reported “AHA” or “WOW” findings that have impacted their go-forward strategies and plans.

Market intelligence and insights is one of the four critical success areas or ‘vanes’ of marketing we advise our clients to focus on today.

Aligning Your Brand and Branding

When have you last looked at your brand or current branding?  Is it relevant to today’s market or does it need to be refreshed? Devoting time to your brand and to the discipline of branding is also key to ensure your brand is timely, compelling, relevant and resonates with today’s buyer mindset.

In one of our earlier blogs, we covered the topic of brand and branding as it too is one of the four critical success areas or ‘vanes’ of communications and for marketing.

Once you feel that your business is equipped with timely market insights and intelligence that have informed your go-forward Marketing and Communications strategy and plan, and your brand is correctly aligned to what is important in today’s market, you are now ready to move forward with your marketing and communications.  So, let’s get started…

Updating Your Buyer Personas

Do you already have your target audience defined by industry and sub-industries?  Have you further identified your buyers in each market, and more specifically, have you created buyer personas?  If no, now is the time to create them. If yes, perhaps they need to be updated. Ensuring your buyer personas reflect the needs, pain points, considerations and emotions of your audience(s) in today’s market?  How in light of the pandemic are they now getting information?  What are they looking to gain from this information?  What can you do to help them solve their need or problem today?

Once your personas have been developed or updated to reflect the current market, you are again ready to move forward.

Refreshing Content

Your content and messages need to address today’s market and buyer needs and emotions. A more empathetic style and shift to educational and experience-related content resonates better when the prevailing mindset of  uncertainty and fear remain for many. Take a look at the content you are currently providing, is it aligned to what the market and your buyers need and want?

Examining Marketing and Communications Assets

Look at the assets you already have available. Which ones can be repurposed for multiple media? Think outside the box when it comes to print, digital, and social. Video as we know is so important, and believe it or not, direct mail is making a real comeback!

Examining all of your assets may identify gaps where content needs to be created to perform well across channels. While this may require some initial time and investment, it is important to ensure that you continue to attract, nurture, and solidify relationships with current and prospective clients.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into opportunities for marketing and communications that you can do now.

Optimizing Your Website

Your website continues to be the first encounter a person has with your business. With the pandemic still limiting options for in-person meetings, everything that one initially needs to know about your business needs be available for them in an engaging manner that is both informative and user-friendly.

Creating an Interactive Website Experience

Some of the top ways to interact via your website include:

  • Live Chat. Real humans working safely from their homes should personally welcome your website visitors, start a conversation, answer questions, provide information, and generate interest and leads from these discussions.
  • Video Conferencing. Meeting “person to person” still remains possible through virtual conferencing options such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook Live, Facetime and other free or low-cost options.
  • Online Information Sessions, Events, Webinars, or Podcasts. Offering these by members of your team, and on different topics presented by well-qualified speakers on and possibly outside your team.

And while the following are less dynamic, they are proven to be very effective tools for providing information via your website. 

  • Downloadable brochures (require contact information to gate these brochures so you can follow up)
  • Videos
  • Testimonials
  • Resources Section
    Pre-recorded webinars or podcasts, blogs, guides, tip sheets, guides, eBooks, etc.. Feel free to include content from curated resources who share expert thinking and thought leadership that is valuable and educational in nature.

Once your website is updated and your SEO strategy and plan are in full gear , let’s not forget the important role that social media has in the marketing and communications mix.

Social Media

Now more than ever, leverage social media. How? By posting and sharing relevant and engaging content…where, when and about what your audience wants.

Going Live

Consider using Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and other online broadcasting platforms to bring your audience into the activities that your business is currently engaging in, or take them “behind the scenes’ via a video broadcasting channel.  You can then repurpose the content for other media such as blogs, articles, and more.

eMarketing and eCommunications

While your website and social media are two important means of continuing to market and communicate with your audiences virtually, you may  also consider communicating via automated SMS or email marketing and eNewsletters. This method gives you the opportunity to provide more information as a subject matter expert and thought leader to further establish credibility.

Advertising and Direct Mailing

These days with people still working remotely from home, it remains an opportune time to reach people in their homes.  How?  Consider direct mail and advertising to reach people in their homes.  As with any advertising or mailing always include a call to action, whether it be to schedule an exploratory discussion, ask questions, or join you for an upcoming online event.

Google Business Listings

Update your Google My Business listing and online directory listings as they are factored into Google’s algorithms and leads to better visibility in searches.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

How is your CRM working for your business? Assuming you have a CRM in place, now is the time to review, update and maintain the information in this valuable primary resource.

Keeping Your Attention on Volume AND on Conversion

Focusing on generating new leads should not be at the expense of working the leads you already have. It is often times a balancing act for most businesses. Building strong relationships by attracting new leads, and engaging and nurturing these leads will result in a more favorable decision.

Leveraging Today, Going Forward

Despite vaccination availability, the lingering effect of COVID-19 and its variants has forced all of us to alter our lives and our businesses. This is especially true for marketing and communications professionals who have had to pivot rapidly in 2020, and continue to have to adapt and change to the needs and wants of today’s still uncertain market. By continuing to adapt and progress your marketing and communications, you will create a strong and enduring bond now and in the future.

Have your marketing and communications been optimized to leverage today’s still uncertain market?

While this article shares some overall suggestions on what to do now, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  Identifying what is best for your business is what we do best. Want some help? Just let us know.

Marketing Matters based in Stamford, CT in Fairfield County serves healthcare and other service businesses in CT, NY, NJ and throughout the US. We help you better strategize, plan and execute your marketing and communications to stay relevant and aligned to the dynamics and realities of today’s market.  For questions or to learn more, contact us by phone at 203.329.7773 or online.