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8 Marketing Strategy Tips for 2020

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Let’s start by setting the stage right: 2020 isn’t your average year. It’s clearly not going as planned and definitely not making it easy to plan a relevant marketing strategy. Let’s just agree that so far 2020 is a year of abundant lemons for most industries. 

However, as marketers, we’re a unique blend of strategic architects and creative thinkers. We’re equipped to deal with shifting tides and prevail. So, let’s roll out the map and mark the key elements of a 2020 marketing strategy.

1. The elephant in the room - Covid-19 

We’re not going to talk about the medical aspects of Covid-19, we’ll just leave that to the experts and wish you unwavering health. 

What we’d rather focus on is how to adapt your marketing strategy to a difficult context. The primary component of any marketing strategy in times of crisis is public communications. While your PR department may be leading the way on how your company should be represented, as a marketer it is your responsibility to translate PR guidelines into marketing tactics. 

Marketing campaigns establish communication with your customers, bringing your work to the front line of company interactions. What and how you deliver impacts everybody. No pressure, right? So here’s rule #1 (and the only one, because, frankly, we’ve never been in a situation like this before): practice empathy. 

Your customers are experiencing bad news, panic, restrictions, health risks, financial pressure and a lot of stress. They need encouragement, practical support and steady, reliable elements in their life. Your marketing communication and your marketing campaigns must reflect and offer relief to their needs. Be positive and down-to-earth, be generous and genuine. 

As Maya Angelou remarked, “people may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. What happens in a crisis goes beyond the crisis - make your mark as a positive memory. 

2. Video marketing 

Video popularity is going nowhere, except up. All of the main social networks support and reward video content, and in times of social distancing, video is a go-to content for millions of users. Your marketing strategy must include video content - from your typical ad to product presentations and brand videos. Not doing so means you might miss out on some pretty amazing opportunities: 

● Up to 70% of consumers admit to having shared a brand’s video with their network 

● More than half of a product presentation video viewers feel that this helped them make an online buying decision 

● Video content improves conversion rates for up to 72% of businesses worldwide. Let’s say that again: 72%! 

And then there are the basic benefits of creating video content for your product and business: improved SEO scores (up to 50x), SERP previews and increased reach for your Facebook account. Yes, video is not something to avoid. 

And before you start thinking how much of the marketing budget you need to cut for video alone, let’s go through some effective ideas to keep both your costs & results in good shape: 

● Stock videos - these are readily available and the sheer amount of stock footage available makes it very likely that you can always find one that fits your brand and your purpose. All you need is a good video script, a video editor and a Dreamstime account to kickstart a whole season of video goodness. 

● Live videos - While Facebook and Instagram are the go-to platforms when we talk about live streams, you should also keep LinkedIn the loop, if your target audience is based there. These are quick, inexpensive and authentic broadcasts to help you connect with your current and future customers. 

● 360-degree videos - Taking it up a notch, 360-degree videos are the next awesome thing in video content. Particularly useful for product showcasing, this type of video can also work wonders for services with an entertaining or impressive process, that can really talk about the value of what you’re promoting. 360-degree videos also tick a highly coveted mark: interaction! 

3. Virtual meetings & events 

Yet another major game change caused by social distancing, virtual events are something you can expect to stay with us for the long term. And not just for health considerations, but also because of their cost efficiency and wider, much wider accessibility. Oh, and let’s not forget: they are raw material for some more video content winning tickets! 

So, if your business used to invest in conferences, workshops or the occasional show-and-tell popup store, consider switching over to the streaming side. No matter if it’s a free event (webinar or jammin’ session), a pay-gated one (solid conference or training) or an interactive one (hackathons or workshops), virtual gatherings will repay your efforts with amplified exposure and valuable, reusable content. 

4. Social media & social commerce 

A while ago, when we talked about social media as a component of the marketing strategy everybody would instantly think: “posts & comments”. But those days are gone, since social media as a channel has diversified into an entire toolbox of interactions. So where do we start with social media in 2020? 

Inevitably we’ll start with social media content strategy, because it’s still the foundation for a credible social media presence and a source of traffic, trust and conversions. So invest in a solid media content plan, spice it up with interactive moments - polls, quizzes, watch parties, and align your presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram with your website and ongoing brand communications. 

So what is the news there? Hold on, we’re just about to reveal a big one: social commerce and shoppable posts! You’ve probably seen those already so 2020 might be high time you added these customer connections to your marketing strategy. Instagram reported that 90% of its over 1B global users visit active brand pages on a regular basis. That means regular exposure to items they presumably enjoy and which they might order, if given the option. Enter shoppable posts, engaging comments, and great customer support and you’re set for big results. 

Don’t forget that compelling brands and products need good visuals and a graphic style that attracts. So, define your style (and be consistent about it) and don’t worry about another piece of the budget that you need to reserve for this - stock photography is getting more professional every day and a large stock photo library like Dreamstime will take the time & cost pressure off your shoulders. 

5. Chatbots 

Yes, robots will never replace the authenticity of human interaction. But chatbots can help your brand be present and responsive 24/7, whenever your human interface might be taking a well-deserved nap. 

We’re not saying you should fully robotize your customer support or leave all public comms to reliable ol’ Chat the Bot, but think about adding chatbots to your marketing mix. Especially on platforms like Facebook, where people are used to getting quick information and replies. And with the tightening attention span we’re all struggling with, a missed “can you help?” can become a missed “can I be your customer?”. Here’s a fun fact: 63% of respondents in a survey mentioned they prefer chatting (yes, with a chatbot) than calling a company. And that was happening in 2018! 

Chatbots have also evolved and the right UX writer can design a complex conversation architecture and craft automated messages that still reflect your brand personality. Chatbots can serve your customers outside your working hours or take over some traffic when your customer 

support is overwhelmed. They can provide first line of support (quickly and patiently) to customers in need, cross-sell products through predefined scenarios and redirect users whenever a complex human being is needed to solve a situation. 

6. Content marketing 

Content is king, always has been and always will be. Video and social media are just parts of what your content pie should amount to be. And there is no marketing strategy without good content to talk about it and connect it with your audience. 

And when you manage to connect with your audience, your content marketing suddenly becomes richer because you’re ready to create one of the golden apples of marketers worldwide: user-generated content (UGC). People trust other people quicker and definitely more than they trust a brand (no matter how awesome you are, hard truth). That’s why succeeding in adding user-generated content (Instagram posts or stories, blogs, YouTube or TikTok videos) works as an amplifier for what you’re offering. 

This is a winning ticket especially when it comes to Millennials and Generation Z audiences. 

So when crafting your marketing strategy focus on picking channels and audiences that best fit your offer and build campaigns that bring these 3 core elements together: product, audience, channel. 

7. Influencer marketing 

Now that we’ve talked about user-generated content, we can naturally transition to influencer generated content. Although there has been some turbulence in recent years, as influencers were “uncovered” and some credibility was lost for lack of transparency, influencer marketing is still successful. That means it’s still a tactic you should consider for your marketing strategy. 

The most popular format of influencer marketing revolves around 2 major social platforms: Instagram and YouTube. That hasn’t changed and basically the only thing that did go through a certain redemption was transparency on the part of influencers themselves. With that fixed and disclaimer published, the public is once again open to hear the opinions and life hack that influencers have to share. 

More than 1 in 2 people have purchased a product after seeing an influencer endorsement and influencer stories are trusted more than a brand statement by over 60% of the public. You can’t ignore the data! 

So consider identifying communities that are relevant for your product or service and reach out to vloggers or popular Instagram figures to talk to their followers. Sometimes you’ll only need a niche, micro-community, sometimes you’ll want to expand the reach for a general audience type of product, so consider all options and choose the most effective (time, cost and estimated results) strategy for your brand. Ultimately you want to attract users for whom your product is designed, not millions of viewers who simply can’t connect to what you have to offer. 

8. Analytics 

How can you improve what you can’t measure? This is definitely not a chicken or the egg dilemma, analytics came first, marketing optimization followed. Or, if you’d prefer to put it this way: you can’t tell where you’re going if you can’t see where you’ve come from. 

Measuring, interpreting and finding solutions to fix or to pump up your marketing campaigns is just vital. It used to be simpler, but as marketing channels sprawled and diversified in so many 

platforms and specifics, you absolutely need to measure your efforts to plan an informed next step. And if you need to share your findings with an extended team or your shareholders, make sure you make that data-friendly. A clean infographic can take you far 

By now everybody who’s in marketing knows what Google Analytics, heatmaps, HubSpot, Moz, Sprout refer to. Pick your analytics tools carefully: too many and it becomes hard to integrate so many data sources, too few and you’ll likely miss indicators that could clarify the bigger picture. 

Check these metrics on a regular basis and invest your time and energy in understanding what the data is telling you. Then adapt and optimize your campaigns until everything comes together to fulfill your awesome marketing strategy. 

Unless you’re in 2020 and Covid-19 just changed everything. Then check your metrics again, analyze the context and understand where your business and customers sit. Then adapt and optimize your campaigns again. 

And be helpful. That’s what the entire world needs right now. 

And in general. 

Adina Crețu is a Copywriter & UX writer, creating content that tells practical stories. She has been helping people, companies & products interact for over 10 years.