By Michael A. Monahan, president & CEO, Moxē Integrated Marketing
The competition for an audience’s share of mind continues to be one of the top priorities among marketers and business owners in a crowded marketplace.
This is particularly true in the architecture, engineering construction (AEC), and building services sectors, where buyers oftentimes have long-standing, entrenched relationships and buying habits that marketers need to disrupt to be among the considerations set when buyers are ready to buy.
Here are some of the marketing trends that we’re following in the second half of the year:
Clearly, this is the elephant in the room. In September, new COVID cases were at their highest point since January 2021, with more than 500 new confirmed cases per million people, per Johns Hopkins University.
As a result, we’re not “back to normal” with the ebb and flow of normal business and conventional business communications.
As a result, we’ll continue to see pressure from employees to want to work remotely and continued reliance on meeting technologies, such as Zoom and Teams.
Additionally, as many employers shed employees during the pandemic, we anticipate seeing continued reliance on outsourced services, such as marketing agencies, where marketing leaders can hire specialists to perform work at contracted rates versus replacing full-time members of their marketing teams.
Enhanced Focus on Digital
Digital transformations began long before the pandemic arrived, but leveraging digital tools such as Google, marketing automation, e-mail campaigns and a full suite of rich media and other digital assets will, and should, be a focus for marketing leaders.
According to Hubspot, for example, social media posts with video have a 20 percent higher engagement than those with static images. Those with static images remain preferable to text-based posts.
Every piece of marketing collateral in your portfolio should have a digital companion. At a minimum, this could be a pdf of a brochure, but even better would be a microsite or landing page where you can deliver highly targeted content to your audience with the ability to track their engagement with that content, which leads me to my next point.
A Data-Driven Approach
There is an old saying that, if you can measure it, you can improve upon it. You should have standard operating procedures in place to track virtually all your marketing activities, whether they be paid, earned, owned or shared -track it. Track open rates, conversions, leads. Track all of it. Consider A/B testing to a small subset of your audience to see which of two alternatives performs better and then choose the option that shows the best early results.
Integrated Marketing Programs
Are you truly integrating your marketing efforts? Or are you allowing your paid, earned, owned, and shared initiatives to live in their own silos?
With paid media, are you leveraging advertising, particularly digital, to ensure messaging gets to key audiences?
According to the Pew Research Center, newsroom employment has fallen 26 percent since 2008. The result has been a dramatic shift in the way companies leverage the media to get their message across and an increased reliance on leveraging content as a media relations strategy. A content-focused strategy also enhances marketers and communications professionals’ ability to leverage that content in different ways, spanning paid, earned, and shared media.
With owned media, there are new and innovative ways for businesses to reach their audiences. Brand journalism isn’t anything new, but more and more companies are covering their work as if they were the media, with keyword-rich storytelling, audience engagement techniques, and values-based marketing, which helps buyers answer the questions:
- Who are you?
- What makes you unique?
- Do you have the capability and capacity to do the work at a level that is above the price point at which your clients are paying?
Finally, the world of shared media continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We encourage companies to leverage social media platforms with both organic and paid strategies to ensure their messages get the most reach and engagement.
According to Hootsuite, “It’s no secret that most social platforms operate on a pay-to-play model for brands. The average reach of an organic post on a Facebook Page hovers around 5.20%. That means roughly one in every 19 fans sees the page’s non-promoted content. The easiest way to boost distribution and direct sales is to boost your ad budget.”
Evaluate your advertising budget and make strategic decisions on how to allocate that budget across the platforms where your audience is the most active.
As you can see, even during the tumult that has faced marketers and business owners over the past year, there are still several strategies and tactics that can be leveraged to help build your brand and your bottom line.