Not so long ago, marketing and PR efforts were heavily scrutinized for not being quantifiable enough. No matter how innovative the campaign, it seemed like there was always at least one person who asked, “So how does that contribute to the bottom line?” And while it felt pessimistic to hear, it was a valid question that ultimately led to massive changes related to measuring PR efforts.
Fast-forward to today: the pendulum has swung dramatically in the other direction. There seems to be a tool, tech or best practice out there designed to help marketing and PR managers optimize results and (exhaustively) account for how each and every step of a campaign contributes to the ROI. So much so, it can be quite overwhelming.
If you’ve ever passed on a neat marketing idea that was fun and relatively simple to execute because you couldn’t directly tie it back to the bottom line, keep reading.
I don’t know about you, but the hyper-focus on marketing, conversions, KPIs, impressions, ROI, etc. has got me feeling a bit fatigued. And that fatigue has been quietly whispering in the back of my mind for a while now. However, a recent Chris Penn newsletter brought that whisper to a yell.
In the newsletter, he talked about a recent interview he had with Talkwalker where he was asked about what he thinks the major trends will be over the next couple of years and what marketers should plan for. He led his responses by referencing three different areas within the marketing operations funnel:
- Top of funnel (Awareness)
- Middle of funnel (Evaluation)
- Bottom of funnel (Conversion)
For top of funnel, he urged readers to consider how little of their target market are actual buyers and to invest more in their brand. Meaning, get your name out there – try to nab guest appearances on podcasts, show up as a guest on a livestream, etc.
For the middle, Chris pointed out that the evaluation stage is all about staying in touch. One of the best ways to stay in touch and get in front of the people you want to reach? A weekly newsletter (vs. a typical monthly newsletter).
At the bottom, he said to be smart about your customers/fans/community. Rather than being a single voice in a sea of noise (cough, cough; Facebook and LinkedIn groups), buddy up with some influencers who truly love your brand, big or small, and see what happens.
Admittedly, before I reached the conclusion, it felt like I’d heard this all before. Then in almost perfect conjunction with his conclusion, it hit me: The future of marketing is getting back to the basics.
In his closing he acknowledged these were all relatively bland, unsexy strategies…and that was the whole point. With more and more browsers dropping third-party cookie support and less data readily available, where does that leave marketers and advertisers? You guessed it…back to the basics! Or putting the fun back in fundamentals – if want to embrace a little cheesiness. 😉
Think about it.
Are you worrying more about what time to post your organic Instagram carousel than the content itself?
Are you paying so much attention to your Facebook ad performance that you’re neglecting to respond to your audience’s organic comments or messages?
Are you so concerned about email marketing conversions that you’re neglecting opportunities to inspire, inform or entertain your subscribers?
Are you constantly trying to reinvent the wheel and forgetting that recycling and remixing existing content can be just as effective as completely new content?
Are you still having fun and providing some type of value/entertainment to your audience?
The great thing about pendulums is they continually swing back and forth, and there’s more than enough time to bring back some of the fun, connection and engagement that may have been missing in your marketing strategy in the last couple of years.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s still fundamentally critical to set KPIs (and then measure your results), generate leads and drive sales, but it’s also crucial to make your audience and customers feel seen and appreciated.
Find yourself revisiting the same clever Twitter thread in your inspirational swipe files? Then go for it! Try something similar with your brand account.
Podcasts are booming this year, so if you’re not quite ready to launch your own, find an opportunity that resonates for one of your clients or company’s thought leaders. Start experimenting!
Ever post a team photo on LinkedIn and were blown away at how much engagement it received? Your audience consists of humans – appeal to their emotions whenever you can.
When your happy customers tag your products in their Instagram stories, are you re-posting it to your own? This is a big one and it will make their day!
While new privacy settings may have sent many marketers into a panic this year, there were also many of us who took an unfamiliar sigh of relief. And that’s OK. There are so many small, perhaps unsexy, actions you can make that can end up being super impactful. If you’re like me, you took a liking to marketing because part of you loves connecting with people and improving their lives…and there’s never been a better time to swing back to your roots.
Want even more ideas for getting back to the basics? Contact us to discuss why an integrated communications program may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Kaiti Horn is an integrated communications specialist – digital at Franco. Connect with her on LinkedIn.