Many companies (and likely yours) are winding down 2018 and starting to work on their plans for 2019. Even if you have crafted marketing strategies before, it can be difficult to know where to start due to the ever-changing nature of marketing.
Trust and transparency have become crucial components of brand success. It seems logical that the more trusted a brand is, the more success they have, but many consumers now actively seek “real world proof” that a brand has kept its promises. Consumers will forgive you if you under-promise and over deliver, but not vice versa.
In addition, the advent of social media has created a more connected world, and this has made personal relationships with the consumer all the more important. Live video, Facebook messaging, and voice searching are changing the marketing landscape for many brands.
Live video provides spontaneity and authentic behind-the-scenes moments for viewers and has influenced the rise of influencer marketing. Facebook messaging can directly target consumers, provide them real-time product offers and information, and move them down a two-way sales funnel. Voice-based searching, soon estimated to be more than 50 percent of all searches by 2020, can bring a brand’s message directly into the home and guide the consumer through the buying process.
Each of these technologies gives brands the opportunity to deepen their personal connections with consumers. Yet these are only a handful of many new technologies emerging in the marketing world. New social media platforms like Tik Tok and Steemit indicate there is an endless supply of places where you may have to promote your brand.
So, what should your brand do? Where do we start in strategy planning for 2019?
The best way to move forward is to look back and evaluate your past successes. Then, create attainable goals based around a few novel areas of focus before expanding on 2018’s strategy. Let’s get into a little more detail with each aspect of your 2019 strategy.
Review Past Year’s Successes and Set New SMART Goals
Naturally, we tend to focus on the negatives and what did not go well. That’s all well and good, but you’ll need to build off your successes in order to maintain your momentum.
Did you explore new content mediums that returned impressive results? Did you try to do too much and not see the results you had hoped for? Are you getting relevant data to help make your future decisions easier?
Asking these questions will help you sort out what worked well and what did not. Goal setting should be your first strategy after reviewing your past year’s successes and potential improvements. One effective method for setting achievable goals is the SMART method:
- Specific: Be as specific as humanly possible. Who is going to achieve the goal? Where will the goal be achieved? Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
- Measurable: Create milestones so that you can know exactly how successful you were. Measuring your success from this past year can help you determine where 2019’s strategy may take you.
- Attainable: Is the goal you defined actually attainable by you or your team? Do you have the necessary resources to, say, create a full-fledged video marketing campaign? If you are a small team where each person has multiple responsibilities, then most likely not.
- Realistic: This plays into the attainable aspect of goal setting. If you are starting a YouTube channel, expecting to attain 74 million subscribers by spring may be a tad unrealistic. Instead, start out by setting a series of small goals, like a video series garnering several thousand views.
- Timely: Your goals should always have some sort of deadline—most people tend to work better under some type of time constraint.
Attach objectives to your goals. You may have many goals from 2018 that you will carry over to the next year: increase brand awareness, generate more leads, grow online sales, etc.
Yet, listing off goals does little to accomplish those goals. Imagine your goal is to increase brand awareness through a video marketing campaign. What viewership number are you aiming for?
Psychologically, it can be scary to attach a concrete number to your more nebulous goals. You think, “What if I don’t achieve the numbers I set for my business?” Don’t worry! By setting concrete objectives, you force yourself to evaluate your goals in real-time.
If you didn’t quite get the viewership you were looking for, then you can change the video or alter your strategy. If you overshot your viewership numbers, then you can concretely measure the video marketing campaign as a success.
Try Planning for a New Platform
With the constantly changing marketing landscape, it is easy to spread yourself thin across multiple platforms. Instead of blasting your brand message across every social media platform, try focusing on only a couple new additions to your marketing strategy.
Video has become a critical component of a brand’s marketing strategy in 2018, and this next year will be no different. Consider putting your focus primarily on live video streaming. Thirteen percent of all internet traffic comes from live videos, and by 2021, video will represent 82 percent of all IP traffic.
A lot of brands are using live video, but why is it a good starting point for your 2019 strategy? First, live videos are a cheaper investment than other types of videos. Once the broadcast is completed, there is no need to edit the video, and the platform you broadcast from often hosts the video for you.
“Cheap” doesn’t have to mean low quality, however. There are plenty of resources for crafting a top-notch video on a budget.
Secondly, live video is far more engaging than regular online video. Facebook reported that users engaged with live video three times more than their static videos. Live videos are naturally more spontaneous and convey authenticity to the audience.
That brand authenticity has become a major selling point to consumers. Even well-produced live videos will be a bit messy, but they can expose the human element behind your marketing efforts. Live videos can also be a great way to get instant feedback on your products and services.
Planning Your 2019 Marketing Strategy
If you aren’t already, try including more data analytics into your marketing strategy for 2019. Only 35 percent of brands use analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of their video marketing campaigns. Tracking your results may not be the sexiest improvement in your past year’s marketing strategy, but it can uncover the best feedback, helping you better focus your efforts in 2019.
Remember, however, not to do too much. You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If your marketing underperformed across the board, sometimes simple tweaks using a systematic approach such as SMART goal setting and focusing on one new platform can make all the difference.