Marketers can't come out of something like a two year long pandemic that changed virtually every aspect of people’s lives, including how they do business and expect to return to a pre-COVID marketing plan.
When it comes to marketing planning for next year, the concept is everything new in 2022.
Here are some things you should consider as you prepare for the year ahead.
Plan for More Cash
As the economic recovery gains momentum, it’s likely you will have more money to spend on marketing.
That’s a good thing, right?
Today’s marketing budgets come with a caveat: Prove it or lose it.
You must justify every dollar you spend and prove that you spent it wisely.
If you don’t have a system set up to monitor your campaigns and track metrics and results, it should be your number one priority in the new year. Before you launch any marketing campaign or initiative, make sure you have determined and documented your projected results. Identify the metrics you’re going to track to prove you’re reaching your goals. Tracking these things will help you justify your expense on the effort by proving it’s successful in a quantitative way. People believe numbers, not qualitative anecdotes.
While this may seem tedious, it’s actually empowering. It will allow you to identify campaigns that are falling flat so you can fix or eliminate them. It will also help you find opportunities — and take advantage of them — when they come up.
By the numbers is the only way to do business in 2022.
Events Won’t Ever Be the Same Again
The pandemic forced marketers to cancel in-person events. Of course, everyone is looking forward to seeing friends, co-workers, vendors, and others in person at conferences, trade shows, and other industry events in the new year. Still, the lessons learned during the last two years shouldn’t be completely forgotten.
Virtual meeting technology improved a lot during the COVID-19 lockdown. And even though people really want to gather in person, it’s not always possible. That’s why it’s smart to add virtual components to your in-person gatherings. It will broaden their reach to those who can’t travel or take time off from work. Plus the recording and transcript of virtual experiences will live online forever and in Google’s memory.
Your Content Must Tell a Coherent Story
If you want your business to be a leader in its industry, you need to align all your content so it tells a clear and coherent end-to-end story. This includes blog posts, emails, thought leadership, public relations, your website, events, and more. It will help people in your consumer base understand what it is you do and what makes you different from and better than your competitors. Disjointed messaging only leads to confusion and doubts that will send the prospective client or customer to your more coherent competitor.
How do you and the people on your marketing team view what you do?
Are you promoting their products and services? Or are you promoting yours?
Taking ownership of your company’s offerings will help you up your marketing game. It will make your marketing team feel like they’re part of something bigger and help bring them into alignment with the broader organization.
You can take this to the next level by basing more of a marketer’s compensation on bottom line business results. That way, they’ll make more money when the business makes more money. It will help change their mindset and keep them focused on working to achieve company goals and objectives.
Find a Non-profit to Partner With
Even before the pandemic, consumers preferred to do business with companies that “did good” by supporting charities and community organizations. This trend has only increased during the pandemic and promises to continue in the future. Everyone experienced some unfortunate circumstances over the last two years, which has made them even more conscious of helping others.
Use a part of your marketing budget to do some good. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Instead let your customers know that by buying from you, they’re doing something beneficial for others.
Attract Some Influencers
The death of influencer marketing has been predicted for a very long time. But the truth is it’s bigger than ever before.
Influencer marketing isn’t just for selling lipsticks and jewelry. Every industry has its own influencers. It could be a superstar engineer, insurance agent, or realtor. Just find someone the people in your target audience respect and hire them or build a relationship with them. Either way, an endorsement could be a powerful driver of new business. All it takes is a good word.
Find Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies
Even though Google has pushed the elimination of its support for third-party cookies from 2022 to 2023, next year should still be the year you take steps to find alternatives to them so you can maintain your marketing results.
Start by increasing your efforts to gather and use your own consumer data—leverage things like quizzes and online experiences to learn more about customers and visitors to your website. Also, take advantage of tools made available through Google's Privacy Sandbox or FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), so you can continue to offer personalized experiences without intruding on website visitor privacy.
Remember, when it comes to marketing, everything will be new in 2022. The time to start the marketing planning process for change is right now.