Marketing Your Business In 2021

Before Christmas I had a couple of interesting telephone conversations with people asking about marketing their business in 2021. There were three key points that we focussed on and I thought it might be helpful to summarize them in this month’s email:

Stopping Marketing

Let me deal with the “elephant in the room” first.

Many businesses (large and small) have an instinctive reaction to reduce/stop their marketing when a recession/crisis hits in order to cut costs. This is understandable… but it is not going to help your business.

Before customers can spend money with you, they need to know about you. Marketing tells potential customers about your business.

Studies conducted on major brands’ advertising spends during a recession show that those that continued with advertising during a recession not only increased their sales over their rivals during the crisis, but that their increased share continued when the economy recovered.

Indeed, at a more local level I have had ex-advertisers return to my magazines because they had received comments from customers saying that they had noticed they weren’t in the magazines anymore and thought they had “gone out of business”.

So, whilst I totally understand the instinctive response to cut marketing, remember, marketing is the way you generate customers for your business and all businesses need customers.

Timing

Sitting here this time last year I knew with absolute certainty that my phone would start ringing on the first Monday back at work and would continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. After fifteen years of magazine publishing, I could have told you exactly when, throughout the year, my phone would ring.

But all that certainty has gone – I have no idea now when people are going to call me. Good news about a vaccine – my phone rings. More talk about lockdown and the calls stop and I know from my conversations with other business owners that this unpredictability is affecting all market sectors.

How do you manage your marketing activities in this situation?

It is all about being regular and repetitive. Those of you who have read these emails before will know that this is one of my favourite “catchphrases”, but it has never been more relevant.

A constant drip-feed of information about your business has always been the most effective but it is even more appropriate now.

Using Different Communication Channels

Unsurprisingly, statistics show that our screen time increased dramatically in 2020 but as we reach screen overload it is useful to remind ourselves of another marketing fundamental. Our marketing communications are most effective if we use a variety of different communication channels.

If a business runs a print advert in one of my magazines, the very act of being able to pick up and hold the magazine and turn the pages means that the reader’s brain processes and remembers the information in a completely different way to if they had seen and read the same information online, or heard a presentation about the business at an event, or maybe been given a word-of-mouth recommendation etc.

Receiving information in lots of different ways means that we remember it more easily and makes your marketing activities more effective.

So, it is not online or print or networking or word of mouth etc. it should be print AND networking AND online AND word of mouth etc.