Self-promises of a new you, a new waistline, a new habit coincide with this New Year. And now that moment of motivation, inspiration and dedication begins.
But in the cold hard daylight of January morning, when you reflect back on the past 365 days on Instagram with a hash brown, what is actually different, anything? Everything? Are you different? Is the world different? Is marketing your business different?
As a marketer, who breaks their strategies into quarters, New Year’s Eve is the closing stages of Q4 and the celebration of Jools Hootenanny, the opening act for Q1.
The fact the numbers reset themselves every year suggests the act of devising a strategy for the year is repetitive. But don’t be fooled. It’s isn’t about repeating what went before it. Especially in this day and age as a marketeers, because when we look at YoY and trends over time we have to account for the most unusual abnormality. I won’t mention the “C word” here, but it kinda messed with our Q2 2020 numbers.
Because of this abnormality, marketing over the last few years has meant tearing up the traditional seasonal programme of marketing activity, and instead focussing on constant progression and evolution. Taking risks and finding new audiences. In other words the reset from Q4 to Q1 every January should be seen as Q4 going into Q5 and beyond.
Thinking about Q1 as Q5
Your finance people won’t like this. I wouldn’t tell them, I would keep it a secret for yourself.
But thinking about “Q1” as Q5 might not be as daft as it sounds, depending on your year of course. Continuing momentum, having a larger big picture focus, understanding the dynamics of the market, call it what you will, but comparing apples for apples, Q1 2022 against Q1 2021 doesn’t fill anyone with that much joy. Even if you are smashing it!
Of course, these results are awesome don’t get me wrong. But by focussing on the ‘WHAT’ is needed to achieve these performance improvements and the ‘WHO’ is doing them, will bear much more fruit than the ‘WHAT’ that is measured. YoY numbers and targets don’t mention the what or who.
Getting fixated on YoY performance doesn’t always tell the full story, and doesn’t allow you to achieve greatness. By that I mean if the only target to achieve is bettering what happened the year before, what other new opportunities are being missed whilst you are focussing down old routes.. It’s always about working smarter, not just harder.
So 2022, is it any different than 2021. Well, yes. I think it is. For a marketeer anyway, and for the following reasons:
Why 2022 is different to 2021 for marketing
- Trends. As I mentioned above, our beloved trends and historical data is a little bit out of the window, for good or for bad. It’s time to start comparing achievement against ambitious goals, not just incremental YoY performance.
- Lack of consistency. The inconsistent landscape that the C-word has brought to our lives means many businesses had to change direction (aka pivot) this opens up new audiences and possibilities as a marketer. Think about all those local businesses that moved online during the first lockdown.
- Future forecasting. As a marketer, you need to take in much more data and information in the form of research before you construct your strategy for the year (or three). You need an eye on the markets, the politics and outcomes from Brexit, the sentiment of the general public through a global pandemic and restrictions. All of this needs to be considered when creating a strategy and more importantly when setting the goals and budgets for that particular time frame.
Why plan to spend £20k on events in January as further restrictions and variant waves may prevent those from taking place? It’s an obvious example, but it applies to the PPC Ad copy that you use, the wording on your website, the email campaigns. Capturing the sentiment is key to understanding your audience, Which as a marketer, we know is key full stop.
- Technology is moving faster than 90%* of businesses can handle. Let’s say your marketing teams are in-house, then unless they are continually learning and testing, and joining in with a community of like-minded people then you’re already at a disadvantage. With so much of our marketing done online now, ensuring Continued professional development with in-house teams will be the small differences that put you ahead of your competition.
- Creativity. Ok, this hasn’t really changed. It’s always been the case. Creative campaigning captures so much more attention when it comes to brand awareness. But in a world of viral reach and the public’s desire to make content from nothing, creating marketing campaigns that stand out will ultimately introduce it to new audiences. This leads me to…
- UGC. User-generated content, not new, I get that. But the drive to use it should be. As with last year consumers in B2C and B2B are much more cautious with their hard-earned cash. We need to be able to ‘reassure’ them more as marketers through our content and actions.
One ‘easy’ way to do this is through content made by your customers themselves. The trick here is not to annoy your audience by asking, but to create an environment where they can’t help themselves. Guerilla campaigns are great at this, nothing gets Instagram or TikTok lighting up faster than a hashtag or trend. I’m not suggesting you make up a dance. But either jump on or start campaigns that encourage others to share!
- The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is an errr… ‘principle’ which asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all actions (or inputs) for any given event. Think about that in your marketing. 80% of your rewards come from 20% of the audience. Discover that audience and BOOM.
2022 as a marketer is about working smarter, not harder. That’s what the 7 points above hopefully illustrate. Working hard was what the last two years were all about! Understanding your numbers for key metrics will give you a much better understanding of which channels are part of that 20%, Do more of that. Quick tip.
So that’s it. It’s the start of the year, this blog has helped me think about all kinds of ideas for Sleeping Giant Media’s marketing this year, and I hope it’s highlighted something of use for you.
So is 2022 any different than 2021? Depends on what opportunities you take!
* I made this fact up, but I don’t think I’m wrong…