Uncover your business' best way forward
Henry Ford famously said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."
The beginning of a new year offers every business leader the opportunity to focus on achieving even greater business success than before. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business, but two years into a changed business environment we're now seeing enterprises succeeding where before there was a terrifying potential for failure.
This new year offers many ways for business and organizational managers to achieve success in unexpected ways. As a strategic communications and brand-marketing consultant, I am continuously tasked with helping clients uncover their best paths forward to find success with customers. Now is the right time to plan for, and test, ways to sell more, engage more and become even more relevant to stakeholders than ever.
The business forecast for this year is a good one. Yes, the economic environment is complex. Has it ever not been complicated? I encourage all businesses to consider the many ways in which, like Henry Ford said, "you think you can." Take advantage of the communications and marketing trends and opportunities to be even more relevant and successful.
• Balance digital and analog approaches to marketing. By this I mean, consider the ways in which digital and analog marketing relate in your strategy. You may use email to invite customers to shop more, but do you also send them a well-designed, well-written postcard, letter or catalog?
• You are an expert in your field. Let the media know about your expertise. Reach out and pitch local or national journalists focused on a story you care about and content you know so well. Others will benefit from your insights. Your business will benefit from the high-quality exposure.
• Consider your customer's experience of your product or service. Are they delighted by the interactions they have with your business? If they aren't thrilled, there's a strong marketing opportunity to improve the experience.
• Place humans first. It's easy to engage many digital marketing tactics, but you must remember that there's no substitute for fabulous human experience. Offer your customers opportunities to connect with your business in ways that are not entirely digital.
• Consider the value of hyperlocal marketing. If yours is a local business, be sure to consider the neighborhoods, towns or affinity communities that would care deeply about your offering. Brainstorm how to reach those groups and deepen a sense of connection with them.
• Remember that successful marketing now engages many touchpoints. Consider the role that focused direct mail, social media strategy, email campaigns, printed marketing collateral, advertising, and overall customer service play as you work to satisfy demanding consumers.
• What would you say at a cocktail party about your products or services? The stories you share are ideal content seedlings of the marketing messages you should present now. Storytelling, in the form of light conversation offers a practical source of what you can say to promote your business.
The savvy business manager knows that adopting a testing mentality focused on the marketing effort will uncover previously unknown paths to customer success and increased revenues.
In 2022 I encourage business leaders to continue to undertake the marketing approaches that have worked in the past. Add to your existing effort some new approaches and reap the benefits. Your customers and clients will thank you for this.
• Rebecca Hoffman is the founder and principal of Good Egg Concepts, a strategic communications and brand marketing consulting practice based in Glencoe and serving clients around Chicagoland and nationally.