Last year, we started the year with a direct mail campaign focused on 2020 Vision! It seemed like a good idea at the time, and in our defence we weren’t the only ones to creatively pick up on this Marketing theme. The idea was popping up all over the place. We were so chuffed with it, we even put the artwork on the wall in our new office. Now it is something to look back and chuckle about, as little did we know how different the actual year would be compared to our early New Year vision. Rather ironically too, it was the year I discovered I needed glasses!
We are naturally a team of optimists, so this year we have plumped for the image of a new shoot breaking though surface. The market across industry sectors looks very different to 12 months ago, and whilst there have been difficulties and disappointments, we have also seen so many new opportunities emerging, particularly close to home in Reigate. Beccy, Rhi and Charlie interviewed twelve local business and charity owners for our newsletters last year. We were inspired by their determination, perseverance and imaginative ways of adapting to a disruptive new landscape.
So much has changed for our team in the past twelve months. I have always been a big fan of personal communication, working together as a team in our office and making sure we have regular face-to-face contact with all our clients. The larger office space we moved into last year was designed specifically for more social interaction, with desks facing each other to improve communication. It served its purpose for the six weeks a few of us were back! We now have a fairly good handle on Zoom meetings and strangely, we have new clients on board this year who we haven’t met in person. Because we are so close to Priory Park, when permitted, I have started meeting people for business coffee walks. It was born out of necessity at first, however I have since learnt that this is a great way to have a more informal face to face meeting and get to know someone on a more personal level. This is a habit we will continue, even when the office is reopened.
Emerging from an unusual Christmas break, it feels like we are starting to see some light. There is hope that life will move closer to normality as we move into Spring. The news headlines may alter, the tiers may go up or down, but the one thing that stays the same when it comes to good marketing practice is the importance of planning. We have recognised the need to adapt our models too. Pre-Covid we were offering 3-year Strategic Marketing Plans, now we have a slimmed down to lighter version and provide short-term Marketing Communications plans for business owners. Before embarking on a new project, product, or service offering, we would always advise investing in a Marketing Plan. There is no doubt that campaign tactics and delivery methods may change along the way, yet having a solid plan in place where you have clearly identified your target audience and anticipated their needs and tastes over the next 6-12 months, will pay off in the long run.
During a time of instability, it is often tempting to cut the Marketing budget during the planning process. Marketing tends to be one of the hardest activities to measure, therefore it is not always easy to pinpoint where leads are coming from or how the visibility of your brand is impacting sales. Before cutting budget, we would advise reviewing your current communications channels against the needs of your audience. Perhaps the budget could be more effectively used in one or two areas.
Many of our clients over the past year have chosen to channel more of their Marketing investment into Digital. As online browsing increases and more shoppers are buying online than ever before, now is the time to improve the online customer experience. This could be repositioning how products and services are purchased online or by refreshing an old design. We start the year with the launch of three new websites this month: a brand refresh with a newly designed brochure website, a local charity wishing to update their donations process and a custom e-commerce website opening up a new sales channel for an established local business. Getting the website launched is just the start, and in some ways, the easy part of the journey. The next important step is securing brand exposure as identified in a strategic marketing plan, through targeted campaigns across Google Ads, SEO and social media.
Overall, as a team, we are starting this year with a fresh sense of hope. A belief that new shoots will emerge across all sectors, as we move through 2021 and pull together through the challenges ahead. The faces in our team have changed slightly this year, and we have adapted our working methods to fall in line with the current restrictions, but ultimately our core purpose remains the same – we are here to help with the growth of your business.
If you are looking for additional support to help with Marketing for your business, please get in touch. We would love to help.