2021 Digital Marketing Guide for Non-MarketersFeatured
As a digital marketing growth executive, instructor, and burgeoning newsletter curator, I often find myself in situations where non-marketers are seeking advice on the next big trend. While these questions range from inbox favors to paid guidance with C-level executives, there are always similar trends in 1) what people want to know about and 2) what people invariably get wrong about digital marketing. I am sharing takeaways from these conversations for non-marketing leadership, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders. 2021 is a strange time in business, but strangeness can be used as a period of reflection, transformation, and growth. It can be a helpful punctuation in business when we may have been on autopilot. Consider where your organization and teams fall on the spectrum of the below guidance:It’s Not Enough To Know Who Your Customers Are, You Have to Consider When They AreLike a b-grade science fiction film, the question isn’t simply who we are, it’s when. *Cue* time machine sequence. But in a real sense, often, brands have a clear vision of who their ideal buyer personas are down to specific names, hobbies, and competitive and companion brands. However, it’s not enough to know who your target customer is. You must know when you are reaching them. Further, you must consider at what point in the buying funnel you are reaching your audience.Your potential new user’s (or existing customer’s) place in the buying funnel informs everything from platform to messaging, landing page offers, and the meatier cost-per-acquisition rates. Consider creating a customer journey map per buyer persona for your brand. Understand the motivation behind each step in the process. Hubspot has fantastic free templates for buyer journey planning here: https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-journey-mapOmnichannel Doesn’t Mean Every PlatformBeing lean, especially in a startup environment, means being strategic with your platform approach. It’s a common misconception that every successful brand must be on every platform, to dominate the share-of-voice and outpace the competition. While having strong brand equity and reach is a great goal, it’s important to understand the purpose of social media platforms and how they fit into your audience’s journey. Does an accounting firm need to be on Snapchat? Probably not. But there are exceptions. The Washington Post might not seem like a perfect candidate for Gen-Z dominated TikTok, but the brand understood the voice, tone, audience, and demographic of the platform, blowing it out of the park. First-mover advantage and creativity can be beneficial for brands launching a new platform strategy, but it is important to have knowledge of the platform and the goals for your presence to align. Find more tips for building a platform strategy here: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-marketing-strategy/Consider your audience’s motivation when launching a new social media platform (or engaging in an existing channel’s promotion). Are you providing clear CTAs for your user to take action? Are you targeting the right audience with the right motivation at this point in the funnel? How are you measuring performance? Be wary of “vanity metrics” like traffic, likes, and impressions that may not translate into real, tangible goals for your business.Make Peace with Sunk Costs, and Move Forward with DataInevitably in any evolving industry (and business, for that matter), there will be people, projects, and processes that have had investments that don’t further the goals of the business. An important point 2020 has taught us is that agility is the key to success. Use data to inform decision making and be okay with cutting loose on ideas and experiments that do not serve the bottom line. There has been an increasing trend in applying agile methodology to marketing strategy and planning. McKinsey has an in-depth resource on agile transformation for marketing organizations. In applying agile to marketing, teams can review performance on a weekly basis, rather than operate within traditional confines of advertising and buying cycles. We need to remain agile when faced with a rapidly evolving news and information cycle, the addition of new media and technology platforms, as well as changes in consumer and social trends. The constant review of an agile structure, enables teams to execute, test, review and pivot according to data-driven logic. Marketing can be viewed as subjective, but with access to data and clear experimentation, teams can lean on the scientific method to adapt to the complex business environment of 2021.