During a normal year, your marketing plans focus on three things: identifying the right audience, crafting a convincing campaign, and delivering your campaign in a timely manner.
But in 2020, “timing” became an issue. Unexpected obstacles—layoffs, shutdowns, shortages, restrictions, illnesses, and economic uncertainty—slowed, delayed, or even obliterated some marketing campaigns.
How do we know if 2021 will be any different?
The truth is, we don’t. But there are three simple things you can do to maximize your chances of beating the clock and experiencing a successful year:
· Plan ahead. You know when your “big” promotions mail, when your new products or services are set to be released, when your busy season occurs, and what your deadlines are for preparing promotions for each. Move those dates back. Order your rental lists earlier. Send in print orders sooner. Have your mailhouse prep mailpieces a little before your intended drop date. That way, any unexpected delays or changes won’t break your main marketing efforts or jeopardize your most critical campaigns.
· Be flexible. Of course, even the most prepared plans can get derailed, especially if critical components change. Travel restrictions are imposed. Deliveries get delayed. Workforces lose manpower. Be prepared to shift focus on campaigns; break mailings into smaller, focused segments; and act quickly when conditions change.
· Know your audience. This has always been true, but given the year we’ve had, it’s even more important that you stay receptive to your market’s situation. If your company relies on people travelling, balance your need to run a business with the country’s travel advisories and restrictions. If your audience consists of frontline workers or parents or any number of other of targeted groups, consider how your company can best serve them.
Knowing your audience also means being mindful of the language you use. The folks at Intelligent Editing in London, England, say “Language changes. Words that were once acceptable may no longer be so. Race, gender, age, illness or disability and sexual preference were once all used to categorize individuals into groups – often with a pejorative subtext.” Choosing appropriate language, the group says, adds to your credibility and keeps readers on your side.
As we prepare to start a new calendar year, there’s one thing we know won’t change: we’re all in this together. Let’s work together to make it work.