A new year provides a chance to assess and align your marketing tactics with your brand’s annual goals. We sat down with Trilix’s owners, Ron Maahs and Brett Adams, to get their advice on how marketers can adapt to the 2022 trends that affect how brands attract and retain customers.
Considering the adjustments businesses have had to make to their operations in the last few years, it may be warranted to edit the popular catchphrase to “The only constant is frequent change.” This year, it’s imperative to develop and update crisis communications plans and build marketing mixes with enough flexibility that your organization can quickly and nimbly change plans. What are some lessons from the last couple years that can help brands make plans for the coming year?
Ron: We used to think we could predict the challenges. What we learned was that you just need to be able to react, react well, don’t overreact and leave yourself the ability to continue to adjust. In terms of communications and overall organizational planning, brands should create or update crisis communications plans. Even when something completely unexpected arises, advance crisis planning sets a chain of command and basis for decision making. It eliminates some unnecessary steps that can increase stress in a stressful situation.
Brett: It’s time to expect the unexpected. If you’re not ready to pivot, it can be costly because you won’t share the messages and reach audiences you need to. One of the key places to implement this philosophy is in media planning. It’s a lot more acceptable today to have a flexible media plan that allows you to reallocate dollars later than to adopt a concrete plan at the beginning of the year and rigidly stick to it.
Don't overlook internal communications.
Timely employer-to-employee communication became more important during the pandemic. Leaders need to carry this two-way open communication into the next year. Intranets, video conferencing and hybrid events are helpful tools that are here to stay. How should brands think about internal communications in 2022?
How we communicate with internal audiences is forever changed. In order to keep information moving, video conferencing and other tools we had used in the past only as a last resort are now mainstays.Brett Adams, Chief Marketing Officer at Trilix
Brett: How we communicate with internal audiences is forever changed. In order to keep information moving, video conferencing and other tools we had used in the past only as a last resort are now mainstays. Virtual trade shows, online events and communication through intranets and websites are commonplace. The diversification of that communication will continue. In 2022, consider how you can make all of those a part of your communication mix to make sure you’re addressing all your channels.
Ron: It used to be that a company newsletter was sent out or information was posted on an intranet. You were left to see if people actually read it. Now we’re actively pushing out information and seeking responses from two-way channels like video conferencing.
Use owned channels for more timely and efficient marketing.
Owned channels — a brand’s own website, blog, social platforms, newsletter, podcast or other media channel — allow brands to quickly adjust messaging to respond to the challenges of today. Another positive is that brands can more easily control the message presented. Why are owned channels so important?
Brett: Content generation shows something unique to your brand; it positions you as an expert and you can use it on other channels, making the most of your efforts. Also, you likely have a lot of people in your company who know a lot about your brand, have a lot of expertise and have a solid external reputation. Create a strategy to cultivate that so you have more of your own brand story to tell and stories you feel confident about. You can leverage that content in paid and earned channels, too.
Using your owned channels to share content allows you to maximize your efforts across multiple channels and reinforce the same messaging to multiple audiences.Ron Maahs, CEO at Trilix
Ron: Using your owned channels to share content allows you to maximize your efforts across multiple channels and reinforce the same messaging to multiple audiences. Since the brand owns the channel, you can also revive and reinforce messages and communications methods that proved to be successful in the past.
Manage diminished targeting and tracking capabilities with a diverse media mix.
We’ve previously provided guidance on third-party cookies and what their future absence means for marketers. The bottom line: Brands that have a diverse media mix will continue to build and retain loyal audiences. What’s your reaction to changes in targeting and tracking capabilities in digital advertising?
Ron: The good news is all the digital advertisers in the nation are in the same boat. This is also not a unique circumstance for the industry — there hasn’t always been the ability to minutely track movements online. We’re still going to have a lot of tools and know a lot about the specific type of person we’re selling to, even if we don’t know the specific person. Savvy marketers will still have the base knowledge to build databases and audiences.
Brett: Make sure that your marketing strategy isn’t relying on one piece of technology to build your audience. Even if you’re doing great tracking and targeting right now, the best marketers are still using a diverse set of owned, earned and paid channels to put out great creative messaging that builds brand affinity. They’re not relying too heavily on one tactic or another.
Optimize mobile web experiences to boost SEO.
The average American spent more than 4 hours per day on their smartphone in 2021, an increase from previous years as remote work, learning and time spent at home continued to grow. Search engines have taken note, and websites with a great mobile user experience and fast page load times will now rank higher in search results. If you aren’t already doing so, ensure your website is as mobile-friendly as possible. How should brands approach their websites this year?
How often are we updating the website so that we give users content they need and want to come back for?Ron Maahs, CEO at Trilix
Brett: Websites continue to be one of the most important tools brands have, often touted as your 24/7 salesperson. That’s even more true as people demand great user experiences on mobile devices as they travel from your site to social apps and back again. Make sure you’re updating the content, enhancing the experience and staying up to speed with the latest SEO standards.
Ron: Websites need to be a publishing platform that integrate with all your brand’s channels. Just like with your other platforms, you need to think about users when putting out content. Ask questions like, “How quickly does the site load? Is it as user-friendly as possible? How often are we updating the website so that we give users content they need and want to come back for?”
Not sure how to adapt your marketing plans as we enter a new year? Our marketing experts are happy to help.