Marketing in 2020 requires you to out-perform your competitors to earn solid results.
For the past 5 years or so, there has been a huge surge in new ways to market your brand / company using digital and traditional tactics. I believe 2019 we hit a plateau of new tactics. There is nothing really new that took off this year besides the popularity of the social platform TikTok.
This mass participation on social media makes every marketplace really noisy. Now that everyone is on every platform, the only way to beat out your competition is to outperform them with better content.
Take a look at the additive manufacturing / 3d printing market for example. When I started to help promote 3d printing for a client 10 years ago, there were only a handful of competitors. I could get press and attention fairly easily. We had good results from ads and email marketing. Today, it has been hard for everyone to get attention in this space because of the increase in # of competitors and a hyper focus on marketing to grow their business through email newsletters and social media content being published on a consistent basis.
The other issue you need to come to grips with is the owners of social media are now making it harder to get the same results we used to see when there were only a handful of competitors participating. All year, our firm has been seeing lower numbers across the board for all of our clients and the impact on customers has weakened.
2020 is the year you need to learn how to out-perform your competitors. Here are 5 areas you can work on to improve your marketing results throughout 2020:
1-Use Custom Content for Marketing
Many marketers have been told that the traditional push messaging NO longer works. This is very true.
Today, to really touch your customers, your corporate message must be tailored to specific groups of your customer and must be personalized to be effective. You need to speak their language, not yours. This is harder than you think it might be.
You may think you know why your customers buy from you. However, most customers are not always upfront about what makes your company different or why you are the better vendor. You may think it is because of your sales person, a better price, quality, or service. Most times it is much deeper.
Consider the politics involved, the timing of your message, you are too small or too big for your customer to trust, somebody in the company or someone had a bad/good experience working with you, the business is up for sale or a new executive are moving in, purchaser on board and/ or other reasons unforeseen.
This is why it is essential for your sales, customer service members and marketing team members be really good at working together to figure out what is really going on at your current stage and who are the customers in 2020.
Train your sales and marketing team to start asking more questions instead of making statements such as “our products are the best” or using your clunky PowerPoint.
Some questions for them to ask:
– What level of service do you want or need from us?
– Do you get help when you need it or is your current vendor constantly pestering you?
– Did we deliver on time?
– Describe best salesperson who ever called on you?
– Why and/or how did you select your current vendor?
– What new business problems are you facing today?
After six months or so— gather everyone’s input on the real reasons customers buy from you. Then, start putting new customer focused messages together for your sales and marketing team to use.
Please don’t stop there, continue to modify and improve your messaging because the world is constantly changing and your messaging will need to change with it.
2- Influencer Marketing
Using an influencer is proving to be really valuable to help your customers engage more with your company. Though, I am not convinced hiring an outsider is your best option.
I saw one company take off and increase sales after they allowed an employee to produce personal videos on LinkedIn and Facebook. The reason this worked compared to outside influencers…. the employee was passionate about the company and their products. He was real in the videos — compared to one putting on a fake smile some outsider influencers tend to do.
The biggest challenge when choosing or hiring any influencer…is finding someone that likes the grind. It is very hard to continually come up with interesting social media and blog post. You need to find someone who has the skills to be persistent, creative and excited about your products/services.
Keep in mind, we have discovered that just because someone is young and good on their own private social media platforms does not mean they will be good for you—they have the skills be able to effectively market your products and services.
Finding the best employee to use as your influencer may not be easy. Begin by asking everyone you can in your organization the best person they think might be good candidate. Pick three or four of out of the recommendations.
Explain the company rules and expectations for social post and let them start posting. After 6 months or so, look at your analytics and find out who came out ahead with better results in engagement. Have this person continue posting.
Make sure to have quarterly reviews to evaluate if they continue to gain followers, visitors to the website and sales. If they don’t keep up, start the selection process over again.
3- Improve your quality of marketing material
You can no longer put just any kind of material together and have it get attention. While, it has been always important to us to create quality content, most of the early adopters could get away with “just-OK” posts, videos or photos every now and then.
The one thing that we noticed this year compared to the past—only the best articles, photos or videos really see good engagement rates, visits to your website and increase sales. Yes, it takes more time to produce better work but the extra time spent will separate you from your competition.
4-Blog content continues to be very effective in bringing new visitors to your site
There is nothing else I have seen that works as well to build your brand and increase website traffic as blogging. No matter what kind of manufacturing company you are, you need to post something new at least once a month. Twice is even better as long as it is good and relevant to your company and industry.
People have asked me—we are short on time for writing. Can we use an AI assisted writing robot?
The writing robot technology has improved this past year but still looks like its written by a robot. How can I tell? The writing is stiff and fluffy and short.
We have tried to use some of the writing robots this year to see what kind of traffic we get to those post. Fact, it is very little compared to post we write ourselves. Maybe in a year or two the technology will improve but for the time being hold off on using robots/ AI if you can.
5- Building brand awareness is more important than ever
A positive impression and name recognition of a company is one of your most valuable assets for your business. It is become even more important as we compete on the busy and very noisy stage. This is why you need to consistently work on having your business name appear in as many places and often as possible such as: other websites, news press, industry directories, other social media accounts, trade shows, advertising, email marketing, company clothing, your buildings and more.
It takes a constant and consistent effort. You can no longer afford to share when you have news to report, attending a trade show, or introducing a new product. We recommend, for a manufacturer to remain visible in the marketplace, to produce one press release a month with at least 6-8 media outlets publishing the piece, weekly social post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, at least one blog post on your website, minimum of one email sent to customers a month, 4-5 quality videos a year, plus the production of 2 short infomercial type videos created with a decent phone camera to use on the website, social media and email marketing a month.
Contact me know if you need help with your marketing efforts in 2020: [email protected]