Great to see Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s Connected magazine back – and honoured that our very own Managing Director, Sarah West, was once again asked to write a full page of insight on marketing in 2021.
Read her advice here: https://issuu.com/connected-magazine/docs/connected_issue_85/40
Marketing After the Lockdown in 2021
2020 is a year few will forget – though many of us may like to!
Despite the positives of the Brexit deal and coronavirus vaccinations, 2021 has begun with a whimper rather than a bang. However, whilst another lockdown is a bitter blow, it may also mark the beginning of the end.
Sarah West, of leading business-to-business marketing agency Full Mix Marketing, looks forward to 2021 and how businesses can use marketing to regroup and regain.
What will grow your business in 2021?
The success businesses experience in 2021 may be closely correlated to the economy. If consumers gain confidence, businesses will feel the benefits.
However, this leaves much to chance. The risk is that a better prepared competitor could steal a march – and market share. Businesses will be looking for ways to proactively grab more clients. That means marketing.
Marketing is more than just advertising alone. Success for some may come from enhancing what they do or how they do it.
However, for many, the route to results will be through straight-forward promotion – making more potential clients aware of what they do so they become the business they choose.
What marketing will work and what won’t?
This is an age-old question with an age-old answer – it depends.
There are broadly two types of marketing. Pull marketing focuses on attracting those already searching for what you provide. If businesses are actively looking for what you deliver, it may be the best tactic.
Increasingly, this means ensuring your business appears where people are looking – the internet! Digital marketing like web development, SEO, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and paid social media can be key.
Alternatively, Push marketing is about making businesses stop and take notice. They may not yet know that they need what you deliver or be reluctant to stray from their current supplier.
Push marketing relies upon marketing which reaches out to potential customers. This might include PR, email, social media, direct mail, relationship building, advertising or telesales.
Keep your message simple
Particularly in a downturn, the temptation is to tell potential customers of everything you do and everything which makes it great! However, your audience may not have the time to take it all in.
Instead, success is likely to come from a succinct message which is easy to remember.
An elevator pitch is a good place to start. Many businesses struggle to define what they do or what sets them apart. Take some time – and a sheet of paper – and jot down your ideas.
In the post-pandemic world, having a simple and well-defined message can be the bedrock of marketing.
When sales are low, the first impulse is to attempt to make a big noise with offers, discounts and promotions.
Burst marketing works best for consumer goods – high volume, low cost and abundantly available. It can work for business-to-business but companies are more rational and less emotional. They often take longer to make decisions and want to have a lasting relationship with suppliers.
Rather than relying solely on a frenetic marketing campaign once restrictions lift, it is more effective to ensure you’re already the name businesses will turn to. A steady drip, drip, drip of marketing is likely to be far more persuasive.
One of the strongest tactics is PR or content marketing. By building an active profile on social media, gaining sector-wide publicity or making early approaches to potential customers, you can build up awareness and potential sales.
Businesses who sustain marketing during a downturn are 3 times more likely to survive and thrive.
What’s hot and what’s not in marketing in 2021?
So, what should you spend your marketing budget on as the UK recovers from Covid-19?
Digital marketing is more important than ever. With less travel and networking, your business’s website will be your shop window. Does it paint the right picture or need some development?
As most businesses begin their search for products or services online, both Search Engine Optimisation and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising (like Google Ads) may be key.
Content marketing is all about sharing news and demonstrating your expertise. With more businesses online and working remotely – social media, PR, blogs and other content marketing may be more effective than ever. LinkedIn remains the best platform for B2B.
Finally, go direct to your customers. Pandemic or not, the strongest results may still come from using direct marketing to put what you do in front of decision-makers.
Slow start, strong finish
2021 has begun with another lockdown. However, this time too will pass – and hopefully lead to a sustained recovery.
With good news hopefully just weeks away, it’s important to plan now. The businesses which make the most of 2021 will likely be those who use the recovery – and effective marketing – to outshine others.
For more advice and support visit www.fullmixmarketing.co.uk.