Building your 2021 marketing plan - step four: Reviewing your context
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
As we enter the final months of 2020, it is time to start planning for 2021. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be taking you step-by-step through building a marketing plan. Feel free to check out the full list of steps we'll be taking.
So far, we have reviewed your brand strategy, set your goals, and created audience personas to talk to. By now, you’re probably champing at the bit to get on with creating your strategy, but before we get to that fun part, you need to take a look at what else is going on in the world.
This beautiful Venn diagram (I love Venn diagrams) illustrates how your brand and what you want to say interact with both the audience you want to reach and the context your operating in. That spot in the middle is your sweet spot for effectiveness. Keeping in mind the context is crucial because otherwise, you’re just shouting through a megaphone at an audience that isn’t listening.
Why context matters:
It will influence your audience’s behaviors
It will change what tactics work
It will change what content works
It will decide the return on investment of your whole strategy
So you need to think about what trends are out there that could impact your audience and therefore your marketing. I’m talking about trends like:
Mass working from home is here to stay...so remote working/teams is a reality for many more businesses. For example, If you're currently targeting people on their daily commute with radio ads - is that really your peak time any more?
85% of consumers conduct online research before making an online purchase...so focus on providing useful information through your digital channels and make sure that you're on top of your SEO so that information can be found.
People are reluctant (or not allowed when in lockdown) to go to real-life events with large crowds...but they still want a connection with other people. Do you need to change how you're interacting with prospects for good? Should it be more one-to-one? How can you overcome Zoom fatigue (a very real thing) and create enjoyable online events?
In an online world, traditional customer service moves to self-service… so ensure customers can get service however they want, whether that's through Live Chat on your website, over the phone, or through your social media channels.
There are various frameworks that you can use to do an analysis of the context around you. The Pestle model is a handy one. It basically acts as a checklist for the different areas to think through.
Not all of these areas may be relevant, but it’s worth thinking them through. When you're going through each of the areas, ask yourself "so what?", how does this matter to me and my business? If it doesn't matter, don't worry about it.
Your search engine is your friend when trying to identify trends. Here are some sites that will help you work out what trends are out there that matter for you.
Pew Research Center: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org
United States Census Bureau: https://data.census.gov/cedsci/
Small Business Association: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-yourbusiness/market-research-competitive-analysis#sectionheader-
If you’re based in Jefferson County, Colorado, the local library service has a lot of demographic and trends information at its fingertips for you to access. Book a Librarian for an hour to find out how to use it.
Once you’ve thought through the different trends going on in the world, a picture should be emerging of what is going to work for you at the moment, in the current context. The next step is to pull that all together with the work we’ve done so far to start laying out your marketing strategy and planning your tactics.
Next time, I’ll talk you through putting together your marketing strategy using everything you’ve developed so far and help you choose the most important channels for you.
In case you missed it:
Last time I talked you through how to set your goals
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