Businesses invest a significant amount of time and money in creating comprehensive marketing plans. They set ambitious goals, lay out strategies, and execute a plan to achieve them. In fact, they may be so focused on the end game that they fail to pay attention to what's going on around them--that is, until they feel their plan crumbling and wonder why.
Many companies figured out how to pivot their businesses to survive a global pandemic. Others, despite experiencing the accompanying tectonic movement in marketing, believe they can just wait it out and then resume with their pre-pandemic tactics. Those shifts, however, have reshaped how brands market to their customers and clients forever.
If you think your business is doing OK with its current marketing plan, you may be missing some critical early warning signs that it needs a tune-up. Take off the blinders and watch for these three important clues.
1. Your Customer Retention Rates Are Falling
It's easy to blame the ever-mutating pandemic and its aftermath for falling customer retention rates. The fact is that customer priorities have been irrevocably altered by these events, and your marketing plan needs to reflect them.
When you can no longer keep customers coming back like you used to, don't blame them. No matter how successful your marketing plan used to be in achieving retention, it's no longer doing the job. Recognize that you aren't doing something they need in order to stay loyal to your brand.
The past couple of years has had major marketing trends related to artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, and automation. However, with these trends and the pandemic, there will be a need to add more personalization and human connection so customers feel in touch with your brand. In 2022, think about the ways you can help your customers feel a human element to the service so they don't want to leave.
2. You Aren't Attracting New Customers Like You Used to
It may take fewer resources to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one, but if your lead generation is deteriorating, sit up and take notice. Examine all the strategies your current marketing plan uses to find new customers. Then analyze why they're no longer working.
Two key factors may be in play. First, your prospective customer's wants and needs have likely changed, and they're no longer finding your content because it's no longer relevant to them. Second, your brand's life cycle has reached a new stage, which means you'll require new growth strategies that combine credibility, visibility, and authority.
You'll have to explore new markets, target audiences, and product offerings. Those opportunities may require adjustments to your core business as well as your marketing plan. But it's a one-two punch that may give you the burst you need to grow.
3. You've Lost Your Online Credibility
There's a variety of techniques and tips to boost your online credibility. Not only do you need to offer information, products and services that target groups find personally relevant, they need to trust your brand to deliver what you promise. Without that combination, your brand is in trouble.
Your marketing plan must acknowledge and adjust to market realities. How will you know whether it's a hit or miss? Start by checking your search rankings.
If you aren't findable, it's likely because your content simply isn't relevant to customers and prospects. If you're talking to audience members with scripted messaging, you need to be talking with them about their problems and solutions in ways that encourage unscripted dialogue.
You'll need to revise your content marketing strategies to rebuild credibility and get those clicks, shares and likes moving again. Discover how to engage with audiences reshaped by their own new realities. That's the secret to making your brand relevant and credible with them again.
Marketing Plans Must Be Nimble and Quick
The days of multi-year marketing plans are long gone. Audience priorities, desires, problems, and solutions are mutable at best and capricious at worst. Foundational tactics for differentiating your brand from your competitors are more enduring, but only a nimble marketing plan that responds to changing dynamics quickly will succeed.
Admitting your marketing plan has a problem is the first step. Adjust accordingly and monitor hits and misses. And always watch for the early warning signs that could mean it's ready for a tune-up.