OK, 2020 was just, well, …unusual.
But that doesn’t prevent you from going all-in on 2021. From taking 2021 by storm with exceptional marketing that fuels substantial growth for your business. How can you achieve better marketing this coming year? Not only better, but stronger, faster, more powerful and higher-performing?
Follow these six principles in 2021, and watch your marketing ROI skyrocket.
1. Create Marketing Flywheels
For greater marketing results, develop an organic marketing flywheel.
By building high-quality content that your audience loves, optimizing it for organic search, building an email database of loyalists and creating relationships through all that you do, you build a self-perpetuating marketing engine. Every time you add a new campaign or piece of content, you add to the flywheel. In continually delivering marketing that your audience actually enjoys and looks forward to, you gain more through any new marketing efforts than whatever any paid media could achieve.
When your marketing flywheel is operating at full efficiency, your marketing results are not only reinforced with every new campaign, every new engagement and every new piece of content, but your results compound over time. It actually gets easier and easier to generate results — the more you do, the more clicks, shares, links, word of mouth (WOM) and conversions you achieve.
2. Play Marketing Moneyball
If they zig, you should zag.
In the book Moneyball, Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane proved the value of working smarter by capitalizing on untapped opportunity. Since Beane’s time as GM since 1998, the A’s have won seven division titles and secured the sixth-most wins in major league baseball through a focus on analytics that other teams were ignoring.
What’s remarkable about this is that Beane’s teams spent the second-fewest dollars per “wins above replacement” of any club in the league. It wasn’t just that Beane’s budget was small. It was minuscule. In certain years, the A’s payroll was merely 25% of the highest spending team, the New York Yankees.
The key to Moneyball is looking for inefficiencies in the market and capitalizing on them for outsized gains. For example, the revenue acceleration platform Drift was one of the first to start ungating all of its content. In going against the tried-and-true practice of gating marketing content in order to capture emails of prospective leads, the company has been one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies ever, with a portfolio of more than 50,000 customers.
3. Make Bigger Bets
In the book Rethink Your Marketing by Stratabeat CEO Tom Shapiro, there are more than 50 examples of companies that unleashed new growth. The common thread among all of them?
In each and every case, they took big, bold, decisive action.
Robert Sher points out in his book Mighty Midsized Companies: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers that as your business grows, ossification of processes and departmental territorialism leads to risk aversion. It’s natural that the inclination towards taking action is muted by a new focus on deliberation and its corresponding inertia.
Sometimes, you really need to push your chips into the center of the table. If you want to grow in 2021, look to take intelligent, bold action. Tinkering around the edges will get you only so far. For serious growth, you need to be bolder.
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4. Get Smarter about Upstream Insight
Too many companies make their marketing plans, and then look at market data retroactively. Think of the company that designs a new website, and only then looks at optimizing it. Or the company that launches a new product or service, and only then works at trying to understand the content that performs best in its market. That’s backwards.
Instead, gain upstream insight at the beginning of your planning process. Examine SEO, content and social data to uncover how your audience thinks and the types of content they are eager for. Review the specific questions being asked online using tools such as Answer the Public, BuzzSumo and SimpleTools.
Ask influencers to join you in a brainstorming session upfront, before you plan your campaigns. We recently engaged influencers in this way with a large car rental company on the Perlu influencer marketing platform, and the ideas from the influencers blew everyone away with their creativity and knowledge of the audience. Getting these insights upstream leads to stronger campaigns and results.
5. Work in 90-Day Time Frames
Setting annual goals is important, but working in 90-day time frames is much more actionable, easier to track, and keeps the team motivated throughout the process. In 2021, focus on achieving 90-day goals instead, and you’ll achieve more throughout the year.
What’s critically important in establishing 90-day goals is the establishment of process goals, which help you to track what needs to be done daily, weekly, or monthly. Prioritizing process goals (instead of lag goals) is exactly what Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy recommends. The biggest mistake that people make in setting goals, Cuddy says, is that they focus on the outcome instead of the process. A better approach, according to Cuddy, is to focus on each of the steps in the process that will ultimately lead to tackling your goal.
6. Extract Greater ROI Out of Everything You Do
The following are two key concepts that help you to generate far greater ROI out of your marketing.
The first is atomization. If you are going to conduct a study, define all the different ways that you will take the source data in creating content pieces and appealing to different verticals and audiences. Content atomization enables you to go from one core content piece to dozens, delivering higher ROI from the time and resources you dedicated.
The second concept is marketing integration. In all of your marketing, aim to integrate what you do across channels and platforms. Aim to get more ROI out of each individual piece of your marketing by galvanizing it through a powerfully cohesive approach.
For example, Stratabeat created a B2B branding pillar page earlier this year. It’s interlinked with a number of supporting B2B branding posts, forming a topic cluster. Out of this content, we created a 40-page B2B branding playbook and launched it on a dedicated landing page. The pillar page and blog posts promote the playbook, and in turn, the playbook includes links to various posts. Through it all we’ve been promoting the pillar page, posts and playbook. With each promotion, with each click and with each share, our B2B branding ecosystem is reinforced and becomes stronger.
Through atomization and then integration, you’ll be surprised at how much further you can take your marketing results.
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