As a marketer (or marketeer – if you prefer that word!) it’s essential you reflect. Reflecting on results and measuring results, etc. is the norm but for me, as someone who is constantly sharing their knowledge, expertise, and predictions, it’s also important to look back and see how right, or wrong I’ve been! I don’t have a crystal ball, just a gut feel, and each year, I make predictions on what I believe the trends will be in the coming year. You can look out for that article in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I always publish this article first. This one looks at what I shouted from the rooftops 12 months ago and told you all to pay attention to, and honestly reflect on whether or not I gave you the right advice and direction!
#1 : RECONNECT WITH THE BUSINESS YOU ARE IN
I think I can put a tick against this one!
I had written this from the perspective of the seller rather than the buyer, but I think that as much as we needed to all realign ourselves of why we were in business so we could reconnect with the mission we were on and the values we chose to live by, the impact of this was that, as consumers, we became more aligned to our values and more aware of how this is used from a marketing perspective. The best marketers have become the shrewdest buyers because we’re choosing to spend money with those who share our values.
#2 : MAINTAIN AN AGILE MARKETING PRESENCE
A definite yes on this one!
When I wrote this, I don’t think I’d even heard of Clubhouse, I hadn’t been spending much time looking into automated DMs (direct messages), I hadn’t heard of Discord, and I think I was still in single digits when it came to videos on my TikTok account – although I swore I was going to do a daily video there! I’d have to check, but I don’t think I’d even created a reel yet on Instagram!
It feels like 2021 has been the year for new things when it comes to the world of social media. I can’t promise we’ll see as many new things appearing in 2022, but I think the pace of change is just going to get quicker and quicker… but I’ll pick that up in another article in a week or two!
2021 has definitely been a year for agility. We’ve dumped Facebook Ad campaigns that stopped working because of iOS changes and shifted them to LinkedIn instead – a place where I would have always said was a no-go when it comes to paid ads.
In our own marketing activities specifically, we expected print to make more of a comeback than it has and so we shifted our own marketing strategy to use the opportunity. However, we also thought face to face events wouldn’t be a big winner this year but WOW we were wrong and had to change tactics on that pretty quick so we didn’t waste opportunities! Luckily, we were able to share these learnings and help our clients do the same!
#3 : RECOGNISE YOUR AVATARS ARE CHANGING
50-50. I got this right but I gave the wrong advice… or not hard enough advice!
Recognising the changes in buyer behaviour isn’t enough. When those changes mount up we really need to get a blank sheet of paper and start again. I gave direction that was great in Q1 and maybe Q2, but by Q3 we should have all gone back to the drawing board – so much had changed in the way our ideal clients think and buy. Take eCommerce for example, I’m writing this article on Black Friday, which fees like a Black November because deals have been going so long! Consumers are wise to the gimmick now, they define bargains differently, they respond to the marketing they receive differently too.
#4 : MAKE MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING YOUR THING
Yep – high five!
I actually think I was ahead of the curve on this one, in hindsight! This trend is only just getting started, though, so I’m not going to say too much in this article. If you read the article with last year’s prediction in comparison to this article, though, just think about all those things I mentioned above under #2 and consider that I was just talking about mediums of content and not platforms. This one is getting supercharged next year!
#5 : GET PERSONAL – BE RAW, BE VULNERABLE
Definitely a yes, but a shame so many people are still shying away from this. Everyone I speak to gets it, they understand why they need to use their personal brand, but there’s just not enough people following through on this one. The ones that do never look back and thank me for the results it’s bringing. Look at my own personal brand! Many of you reading this would not have known me or even seen me 7, 8 years ago! Fast forward to today and look at me – you can’t escape me! (Obviously, I’m the extreme – but I challenge you to keep pushing yourself to be more visible. It works.)
Then there are all the little bits I threw in at the end…
“Voice is on the rise” – Shame I didn’t write an essay on that! Even I didn’t anticipate it becoming such a key tool. 2021 might be looked upon in future years as the birth year of voice!
“We’ll all be investing more in automation” – Another tick, but I think more of that investment has been in understanding it rather than implementing it.
“Video strategies will change with an increase in TikTok style content” – All I’ll say here is ‘Reels’. As a platform, Instagram is doubling down on exactly this from a video perspective.
“We’ll all increase our social advertising budgets but that results will be harder to obtain” – Thank you Facebook for making life difficult on this front but yep, another tick in the box for me!
But what did I get wrong?
“We’ll get smarter on the use of influencers.” I think this is the only one that I really got wrong! As a society, we’re more aware perhaps of where this can go wrong, or how things are perhaps not quite what they seem! High street brands are still very much bought into using influencers, but the relationships are more akin to a reversal of a traditional sponsorship style strategy. As owners of startups and small businesses, I still don’t believe that there are many people scaling this down and making use of it to propel ourselves forward and grow our own businesses.
So there you have it – I don’t think I did a bad job overall! It’s almost as if I know what I’m talking about isn’t it? In truth, one of the reasons I like to publish this article prior to offering up my predictions for the year to come is to know that I have the credibility to back myself. Most articles I write are for you, the reader, and that’s how it should be but this one’s really all for me!