We're sure you’re as sick of hearing it as we are, but so much has changed over the last two years as a result of the pandemic. Where people work, where they spend their free time, how much social media they consume, and more.
And all those changes have had a huge impact on the way brands can — and should — communicate with consumers. To remain successful and grow in 2022 and beyond, brands need to make sure they’re responding to these changes — not ignoring them and hoping for the best.
While some things may revert back when the pandemic becomes endemic (aka when the rate of infections stabilizes), others are here to stay.
Thus, brand and marketing managers who want to help their companies remain relevant and profitable should continue reading — as this article will discuss the top three marketing mistakes to avoid.
The Top 3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Post-Pandemic
When something as life-altering as a global pandemic occurs, it’s fair to assume that it will affect almost every aspect of our world — including marketing communication. To be successful during and post-pandemic, you’ll need to be aware of and respect the changes that have taken place.
Here, we’ll discuss the top three mistakes you should avoid if you’re looking to have successful marketing campaigns and grow your business.
1. Don’t: Leave Your Audience Segmentations As-Is
As someone who works in marketing, there’s a good chance you know what audience segmentation is. But just to be safe, let’s agree on a definition:
Audience segmentation is the act of dividing your customers into groups based on certain characteristics and demographics, allowing you to better connect with and understand them.
Clearly, audience segmentation is an important part of any marketing strategy — you can’t pretend that your target audience is the entire general population. Obviously, there are certain customer segments that you know are most interested in your brand.
But the question is: have these audience segments changed in the past two years? Any brand or marketing manager worth their salt knows that it’s a good idea to regularly check and update your audience segmentation.
But this is especially important when there has been a world-altering event like a pandemic to contend with. Many customers’ priorities, demographics, and interests will have, quite understandably, shifted.
For example, let’s say you’re the brand manager of a luxury clothing company, “Deluxury”, that’s been tasked with checking up on your audience segmentation. To do so, you use the data pulled from your brand tracking software.
Before the pandemic, Target Audience A was full of men aged 35-45, living in urban areas with an interest in high fashion. When looking at your brand data over the last few quarters and considering all the changes that the pandemic has brought about, you make a few observations:
Brand awareness has remained somewhat steady, with a small 1.5% increase thanks to an extensive OOH campaign in Q2-Q3
Brand consideration has seen a slight decrease of 0.6%
Brand preference has also seen a decrease of 1.2%
Your top brand associations (“luxurious”, “sleek”, “exclusive”, “necessary”) have seen some changes.
While “luxurious” and “sleek” have remained consistent, “exclusive” has gone from 42% to 46%, and “necessary” has gone from 24% to 18%.
So, what does this data tell you? First, you’re doing okay in terms of brand awareness with Target Audience A — however, consideration and preference have seen small dips, meaning this target audience may not be the perfect fit for your product right now.
Additionally, the slight increase in “exclusive” and the decrease in “necessary” for your brand associations also provide a hint that this group may no longer see your product as attainable and as important as they did before.
With these findings in mind, you can decide whether or not Target Audience A needs some adjustments made. Should you extend the age range? Add in an income bracket? Consider targeting rural demographics?
It’s up to you to use your brand data to determine which tweaks need to be made to find success post-pandemic.
The Takeaway: There’s no way that you can leave your audience segmentation as-is in 2022 and trust that it will bring in the best results. The world has changed, consumers have changed, and your strategy needs to follow suit.
If you haven’t done so already, revisit your audience segmentation and target groups and see if they’re still serving you as well as they did two years ago. If not, it’s time to start making changes.
2. Don’t: Focus Solely on Products (And Forget Brand Experience)
To succeed, it is necessary to have great products and/or services. That’s indisputable. But there is always the risk that you get so caught up in pushing your products that you forget to spend time on improving your brand experience.
These days, a brand is far more than the products it sells. It’s a holistic experience — from its social media accounts to its blog to its customer service chat. Every touchpoint matters and has an effect on overall customer satisfaction and retention.
According to Think with Google, “90% of leading marketers say personalization significantly contributes to business profitability” and another 60% of consumers “expect brands to tailor experiences to their preferences.” Clearly, brand experience is an important part of a company’s success in 2022.
What’s more — in the Covid-19 era, when so many consumers are reevaluating their priorities and making more intentional purchase decisions, brands can’t afford to have a lackluster brand experience.
Consider the following scenario: Imagine you’re the product marketing manager of a mid-sized brand that sells prescription eyeglasses, called “Realeyes”.
Your job’s core goal is to push your product forward — to get the word out on why “Realeyes” glasses are the best in the game. And you’re doing great. In your one-year tenure, you’ve already helped improve the quality of your glasses and refined your brand and product positioning.
But during a meeting with your colleague, a brand manager, they bring to your attention that some recent reviews have been complaining about your customer service response time and your website’s navigability.
Your first thought may be “Why does this concern me?” — after all, these two issues aren’t in your jurisdiction. But, your colleague wants your help coming up with a plan to improve the overall brand experience.
As the product marketing manager, you’re one of the best-placed people to help other teams understand the importance of product branding and how to integrate your product naturally.
Together, you come up with a 3-step plan to improve brand experience over the next two quarters by ensuring that all touchpoints are high-quality and everyone is on the same page concerning your products and branding.
The Takeaway: It’s easy to laser-focus in on your job and your job alone. And we won’t argue — having a high-quality product is paramount. But, when you spend so much time obsessing over product quality that you forget about how it fits into the overall brand experience, you can lose customers’ loyalty.
A great product is part of a great brand experience. So make sure you zoom out and try to see the bigger picture.
3. Don’t: Forget About Nurturing Existing Customers
As a brand or performance marketing manager, one of your top KPIs is new customer acquisition. And it makes sense — to grow, you need a constant influx of new customers.
But thanks to Covid-19, business has been harder than ever for many companies, and attracting new customers has been a tall order.
However, you cannot (and should not) drive new customer acquisition at the expense of retaining current customers. To understand why this is, just consider the following numbers:
The profitability of selling to a new customer is between 5%-20%.
The profitability of selling to an existing customer is between 60%-70%.
Clearly, spending time and money on nurturing existing customers is a solid strategy that brings in far more revenue. So why isn’t it more of a priority? Many brands are too focused on vanity KPIs.
Gaining 1539 new customers in a month is great — but how much did they spend? What was the revenue? The CAC?
Most importantly: Did it cost more to acquire them than they spent? If so, this leaves you in the red. That’s why it’s so important to nurture existing customers. You spend less money convincing them to make purchases, as they’re an established level of trust and loyalty.
For example, imagine you’re the brand manager of a mid-sized snack delivery service, called “Sweette”. You offer one-off and subscription snack and goodie boxes delivered to customers’ homes.
Every quarter, you’re given goal KPIs to hit. Everything from website visitors to bounce rate to content downloads. One of the KPIs that gets the most attention is always new customers. And you understand why — you need to grow your customer base and it looks great on quarterly reports.
However, after analyzing the last two years of data, you’ve surmised that it’s your existing customers that are bringing in a majority of your revenue. After all, existing customers are “31% more likely to spend more on their average order value with your business.”
And while you do have a section of your marketing strategy dedicated to nurturing existing customers, you feel that it deserves far more attention and budget.
After compiling a report of your findings, you ask the CMO for a short meeting to present your idea. Thankfully, the CMO was interested and agreed to increase the marketing budget next quarter to test out your idea.
This means you’ll be working closely with your email marketing manager and the customer service team to come up with amazing campaigns to enhance your existing customers’ experiences.
To grow your business and succeed in 2022 and beyond, you need to ensure that you’re meeting consumers’ expectations and providing them with the experience, products, and attention they need to remain loyal.
Updated audience segments, a focus on brand experience, and more nurturing of existing customers will all help you get ahead of the competition. And if you want to know what’s important to your target audiences and how they perceive your brand, look no further than brand monitoring software.
With the ability to provide nuanced, detailed insights into consumer behavior, brand tracking software is the secret weapon you need to make better, smarter marketing decisions.