There's no doubt every industry has been a rollercoaster ride in 2020, but if you work in marketing or create for marketing, you've felt some extra drops from the world's largest rollercoaster this year. Yet we can't help but look at the bright-side for most situations and hope that the up's, and (lots of) down's, we've been through this year will lead to brighter pastures. So we've put together our thoughts on the challenges 2020 has brought to marketing, and how we can spin those into actionable, positive steps moving forward.
Red Light, Green Light
Who remembers this game from childhood or perhaps playing it with your kids? "RED LIGHT....Green light..... RED LIGHT!" This is may be one of the best examples of how I've felt marketing in 2020 has gone. You start rolling with a campaign or targeted audience, 2020 happens, we stop, reevaluate, and move in a different direction.
I think HubSpot sums it up best in this article when they talk about marketing being a mixture of science + art. The industry truly is rapidly changing and evolving and although you can try algorithms and data analysis, sometimes it's just an art form of listening, learning, and being adaptable. Similarly how we're learning to do with live production.
Here are my takeaways that 2020 can teach us about marketing:
Take Care of Your Customers
Sometimes in marketing we can get distracted by the "next shiny thing" aka SaaS (software as a service) products, the quantity of digital content we produce, or the new best playbook to follow. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it's that kindness has to be embedded in your company culture all the way through to how you take care of your customers.
Your customers are just like you, struggling to juggle life and their careers right now. Many have taken on multiple roles outside of their career such as caretakers, teachers, or nurses. It's more important than ever to understand who they are, what their pain points are (inside and outside from needing your services), and how you can fully support them.
Breaking down some of the "business barriers" to know and understand your customers on a personal level is a powerful thing. You have the ability to form strong relationships. I'm not saying you have to be best friends with your customers, it's just important to recognize and care for them. It's amazing what small recognitions do and the foundations they form. Often times, when new business is hard to come by, these solid foundations are the support that gets your business through tough times.
Go Deep Into Personalization
I think personalization may be a terminology in one of those "new best playbooks" I was referring to above. But in all seriousness, in the same way 2020 has taught us to be kind and take care of others, it's also taught us to say goodbye to the generalized marketing tactics and dive deeper into personalization.
When it comes to marketing automation, it is certainly preached to use "personalization tokens" whenever possible. Yet beyond personalizing words and phrases in your marketing collateral, we should be hyper focusing our campaigns to personalize to our audience.
What does your audience really want to hear or see from you? Serve them that, and only that. Don't inundate them with what they could perceive as "junk" to simply bulk up what you send them. Do research about their company and what it's going through. Talk about things they're doing that excite you. Pull together short reels or fun project pieces that you create just for their eyes.
Going another layer deep into marketing personalization takes a lot more time, and may take away from some of your other initiatives, but it really goes hand-in-hand with also taking care of your customers.
Keep It Simple, Not Stupid
Let's take a deep breath with our content, shall we? I know we've heard it time and time again, quality over quantity, but especially now that we're in front of our devices 24/7, let's take it easy with the content overload.
Many of the changes in 2020 will probably be around to stay whether we like them or not which means digital content consumption will be at an all-time high. Let's get back to the simplicity of digital content. I still think it's very important to send newsletters, share on social media, produce articles (hello!), but we just have to think of running that content through a new lens "does this need to be shared, and does it need to be shared right now".
And we have to be okay with less outgoing content. I'd rather send you a newsletter every few months highlighting some of our favorite inspirational pieces, then send you something every week just scrambling to pull content together.
2020 has been an adventure and dare I say, fun ride, in the world of marketing. Don't get me wrong, there's been a lot of really challenging and sad situations this year. But just maybe this year is what we needed in so many ways. To wake us up, get back to truly being kind individuals, and thinking with our hearts a little more than our heads.