As the world is changing, so is marketing.
Rightfully so. People have more serious concerns than they did last year. If we’re marketing in 2020, we can’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Our team at TisBest has spent this year thoughtfully considering not just our own marketing strategy, but also how we can better achieve our mission. Whom do we serve? What is the core benefit we provide? How can we better connect with those we serve, and empower them to make the difference they seek?
If you’re wondering how to approach B2C or B2B marketing in 2020, we encourage you to do a little soul searching of your own.
These three strategies can help point you in the right direction:
1. Know Your Core — Your Customers and How They Benefit
Understanding your audience is a key principle of marketing in general, but in 2020 it’s more important than ever.
If you haven’t already created personas for your core customers, there’s no time like the present.
At TisBest, we have established various personas to represent purchasers, recipients, and charity contacts. Each one has a list of personality traits, goals, and frustrations.
Detailing these personas not only helps our team better relate to our audiences but also gives us a common language to discuss (and improve) how we connect with them.
You don’t need a dozen personas; in fact, the fewer, the better. But you do need to document your customer profiles, so your entire company can know and reference them easily.
Let the data help you discover new insights beyond common demographics.
Start by digging into your analytics to understand whose problems you’re solving. Learn about behavioral characteristics from your Facebook page insights and your current customers’ pain points from customer service tickets and reviews. For example, we learned from Facebook insights that TisBest’s followers often visit news sites. Therefore our marketing activities take into consideration that informed people are more engaged with our product.
Take it a step further or fill gaps in your understanding by conducting market research and qualitative interviews. You’ll be able to develop a needs analysis with the notes you get from these customers and prospects. Then you can directly position your distinct benefits to those in need of your product or service.
Since marketing in 2020 is a new frontier, consider also asking questions about matters like your customers’ comfort level with in-person activities, their stance on political or social justice issues, and more.
Don’t simply conform to your customers’ beliefs, but do be aware of them so you can find shared purpose and craft your messages accordingly.
2. Tune in to Your Emotional Connection — and Find Your Channel
Once you really know your audience and your core benefits, you can begin to empathize with their challenges, needs, and desires.
People never want to be “sold to,” but in 2020, our collective tolerance for overly promotional marketing has hit rock bottom. We can sniff out a snake-oil salesperson from a mile away, and we won’t fall for flashy ads or gimmicky sales.
Show your audience you genuinely care by creating an emotional connection. That starts with centering your organization around a common purpose. As Simon Sinek explains, Start with Why and then channel that core purpose to your people.
Once you figure out that purpose, think about the best vehicle to both express and evoke authentic emotion. Would that video you’ve been meaning to create be a wise investment in this pivotal year? Is it time to dust off that old blog or finally respond to that SEO vendor?
Further, what does your channel strategy look like?
In 2020 context matters more than ever. It might mean pausing some of your radio advertising to focus on relevant, tactful Facebook ads that meet your customers where they’re now spending time. Or it might mean sending an email to leads in an industry that’s suffering, letting them know how your company is specifically able and willing to help.
Heck, it might even mean sending a charity gift card to a customer, encouraging them to support their cause. 😉
Don’t take advantage of people’s emotions — be authentic — but do recognize that especially in 2020 buying something is an emotional decision. If your customers don’t feel personally connected to your organization they will take their business elsewhere.
3. Strike the Right Tone — Substance Matters
When the pandemic first struck, businesses everywhere scrambled to create their own COVID-appropriate messaging. Remember how many “What We’re Doing to Help” emails you received from companies you didn’t even know existed?
Now that we’ve started to settle into a “new normal,” people have begun to tire of pandemic-related communications.
If you have vital information to share regarding your company’s response to COVID, by all means, make it available to your customers. But don’t keep hammering the point.
Share what you need to share, but maintain your overall product or service marketing even if it means repositioning your message to meet new or dynamic needs in 2020. Due to the pandemic, one of our farm-focused charity partners pivoted their aid to farmers quickly to help find new distribution channels. It is work their organization is well poised to do, but their donor communications had to shift.
The same goes for the political and social justice climate of 2020. Feel free to take a stance, but don’t feel like you have to say something just because everyone else is. There’s substance but also noise out there — and enough critics ready to attack you for saying the “wrong” thing with the “wrong” tone.
At TisBest for example, we looked internally and assessed where we could have the most impact on social justice. That process resulted in a new Civil Rights Charity Category we created and then communicated about to our audience. We are also looking carefully at how we can best help our charity partners — those currently at the “frontlines” and those that are not.
So what’s the “right” tone?
There’s no magic formula. Our best advice is to implement a careful system of checks and balances, so one employee doesn’t accidentally go rogue with a tone-deaf tweet. Brainstorm with a broader group than in the past and ensure at least two sets of eyes have reviewed every marketing piece. Make sure it is accurate and aligns with your values.
You know your company — and your customers — the best. Trust your gut on the tone that best expresses your beliefs.
Stay True to Your Mission
According to McKinsey, this year we may all be taking a page out of the Gen Z playbook.
“Companies should be attuned to three implications for this generation: consumption as access rather than possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern. Coupled with technological advances, this generational shift is transforming the consumer landscape in a way that cuts across all socioeconomic brackets and extends beyond Gen Z, permeating the whole demographic pyramid. The possibilities now emerging for companies are as transformational as they are challenging. Businesses must rethink how they deliver value to the consumer, rebalance scale and mass production against personalization, and—more than ever—practice what they preach when they address marketing issues and work ethics.”
From product to marketing to customer service, every aspect of your business should be tied back to your mission statement.
In all your marketing efforts, ask yourself, “What purpose does this serve?” If it’s not serving your customers in some way, it’s not serving you, either.
At TisBest, we truly believe in our company tagline: “A better gift. A better world.”
In 2020, we’re even more conscious of — and passionate about — our mission to make the world a better place. We hope you are, too.