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November 2, 2020

How to Win Marketing in 2021

It’s time to stop saying ‘when things go back to normal’ and time to regain momentum for 2021. Many market segments are resuming normal business activity and decisions are happening. Now the question is – “how do I pull business my way?”

1) Bring back events (in a hybrid model)
For employee culture, we’re redesigning for a virtual first approach to working. This means everything is optimized to be delivered and consumed virtually, but we always have an option to add a physical environment and meet up for collaboration whenever the team choses.

This is how we should think about our marketing as well. Much of it was already virtual/digital (as was our employee culture) and easy to continue as planned. We also had a moderate mix of in person events, both at conferences and a number of smaller, regional dinners and activities. With these events, we’re building out plans that allow for local, in person opt-in to our virtual events. One example is planning a local viewing gathering for a virtual conference. That way we can create a mini user group to share ideas and comments on the sessions we’re learning from in a virtual conference. Another example is planning a virtual event such as a Masterclass, Airbnb Online and having attendees join virtual as well as hosting a small gathering to watch and participate together. You could host a virtual cooking class, with an opt-in physical option at a local industrial kitchen or mixology session at a local bar and set up quality lighting and recording to include virtual attendees.

2) Catch up on Virtual Chats & Assistants
Your buyers are getting really adept at multi tasking online and virtual assistants are becoming more appealing and widely adopted. When you are wrangling a child at home with one hand and answering emails with another, a chat bot makes a lot more sense than a phone call.

To leapfrog your competition in this area, start working on natural human language and conversational AI to power your bots. Reading an FAQ on your side comes across a lot differently when delivered in conversational responses.

3) Base Outreach on Intent
Consumers are overwhelmed with outreach messages. In B2C they’ve become blind to retargeting ads; in B2B, they’ve become blind to email spam.

Audit your content and email messages. Look at the titles and subjects that get the most engagement and for the longest periods of time. These statistics will reveal the current interests of your customers and ultimately their intent as well. What interests them today and what they would want to know more about tomorrow will triangulate with what they find most important to get done. Build new content to complement these subjects and create more thought leadership in these areas. Uninterrupted content sessions or binge-worthy content keeps your audience on your site, helps to build deeper trust and will reveal the intent to buy.

4) Lower your CAC Ratio by improving your CLTV
Since early March of 2020 we’ve seen the marketplace put an emphasis on customer retention. Much of this may have been from the gut feeling that in these uncertain times it would be infinitely more difficult to acquire new customers. Or, this would be a wise time to focus inward on the business; hone your current offerings, remain agile and wait to see how the market shakes out. Either way, both strategies are having you look inward rather than outward — protect, nurture and grow your base customers while remaining vigilant and adaptive to change.

The focus on current customers and understanding what Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is vital to your business. As a customer relationship matures, deeper trust is established and your buyers feels more comfortable buying your products and services over and over again rather than investing in another relationship. When your customer buys more your CLTV rises and your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) subsequently drops due to the added value the retained customer adds to revenue. Of course there will be other costs associated with retaining this customer but that initial investment ratio to acquire your customer, or CAC, decreases as the buying history of your customer expands.

For a sample of what elements are looked at to calculate CAC, see illustration below.

Want more details? Wordstream’s article Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) vs. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) did a great job of explaining this from a more foundational level.

5) Be Agile
The need to be agile has been taken up a notch. With public companies balking at providing guidance more than a quarter out, it means you have to continually be prepared to pivot your own plans to stay aligned to your marketplace. Economic ups and downs, public health ups and downs are all contributing to an ongoing reactive environment. Smart leaders will have multiple plans that can be toggled between that include options around budget, flexible resourcing, media spend, content, outreach, events, digital investment and more. Success will come from making sure the levers between planning options can work well together. There will be no set it and then go execute for the next 12 months. 2021 will require constant diligence, debriefing, reviewing and revising.

The challenge in all cases is knowing what will have the most impact on your marketing success and prioritizing around those key moments. One powerful and positive engagement moment can make your brand a standout.

Understand the impacts of the digital experiences you provide.

We can help you use customer data to help you understand your customer journeys and measure their impacts in real time. Reach out for a chat.


By Michael Stewart | November 2, 2020

About the author:

Michael Stewart is the Director of Marketing at Arke. He's a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design and has more than 30 years of omni-channel marketing and ad creative experience.