Many brands are resorting to cost-cutting measures in order to appease investors and keep their books balanced.
The marketing department isn't immune to those cuts, but I'm not seeing brands turn off their spending completely. Stakeholders just want to make the best decisions with their marketing dollars.
How can you be aware of marketing when you're still growing?
To learn from the strategies and successes of other owners, stakeholders, and marketing leaders is the best way to go.
Each year we spotlight the visionaries in content marketing through our program, the Women in Content Marketing Awards. The diversity of voices and background within our space is reflected in this program, which provides a platform for highly experienced marketers to share how they are driving innovation and success at their brands.
Several leaders gave me valuable advice on how to drive brand growth and engagement without breaking the bank. Right now, they recommend this.
Some of the world's top brands have found ways to join the conversation about political and social issues. It's important to know when it makes sense for your brand to chime in.
Lindsay Kaplan, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Chief, said that brands are taking bold, provocative actions in line with their values, and showing this type of conviction is only going to increase in relevance next year and beyond. We have been vocal on issues such as reproductive rights, racial equity, and civic engagement. Content marketing can go far beyond product promotion to influence meaningful change, even though it's not easy to insert your brand into topics your stakeholders may disagree with.
Tailoring your message is important on social media.
The Vice President of Marketing Communications at The Honest Company says it's important to be authentic. In order to connect, share who you are, why you exist, and the reason to believe, consumers have more options than ever before.
Even when marketing spend is tight, we need to remain flexible and be willing to incorporate new tools and technologies to get the job done.
Megan Gilbert, Vice President, FORTUNE Brand Studio, Fortune Media says that the flexibility and quality of remote video and audio platforms provides many opportunities to create quality video in a shorter amount of time. OpenReel has professional quality video and an easy at- home interface that my team likes.
Don't be afraid to lean on your audience because they can play a role in telling your story. Consumers can play an active role in your brand by using user-generated content. When you have a lean team and can't produce a lot of your own content, it's very helpful to incorporate UGC.
There may be an opportunity to join forces if you think about who your audience follows for content and story telling. Consumers rely on the advice of creators they trust and with whom they share similar values and ideals. Identifying creators who are authentic users of the brand will allow companies to engage with a broader and more diverse customer base.
I like to hear from other marketing leaders when they've come up with a new idea for their brand.
She told me that she is excited to use gaming in the future. She says that gaming is a way of marketing and spans generations. "Doing it right will be important to capturing new audiences and keeping the interest of your current audiences."
Gilbert said to be aware of all the tools but only try a few and build on small successes. Everything can't be done right away. You can find a runway by looking for qualitative and quantitative data.
It can take time to land on the positioning that's most effective for your target audience, and a clear testing strategy is an important part of a content marketers toolkit. It can be useful to learn what does not work.
Kaplan encourages taking risks and being provocative. If you don't challenge someone's thinking with your point of view, keep trying.
It can be difficult to identify and communicate what makes your brand stand out. What makes you unique? What do you think about your brand? The answers may change as a brand grows.
A focus on improving a brand's relationship with customers is always the main focus. It is possible to surprise and delight your audience through positive, personalized experiences with your brand.
This can go a long way without a significant budget. Consider sending handwritten cards or small gifts to customers on their birthday, inviting your most tenured customers to a virtual Q&A with your leadership team, or highlighting individual customer stories on your website to amplify their voices.
Gilbert said to "drill down on your brand's value proposition and surround yourself with smart people who have ideas about how to communicate those value props to your target audience." It's important to have an audience first strategy. Surprise and delight them when you meet them.
Strengthening that relationship takes time and brands need to know their customers on a deeper level.
"I love the community that Honest has been building from the very beginning." Through the unique community we've harnessed on social media, we get to have those one-on-one conversations with our consumers that I believe differentiates our brand and makes our work in marketing that much better."
Kaplan said to tap into your audience's emotions and identify the messages that will get them to respond. She says that a compelling story has the ability to connect with people on a deeply personal level. We asked the business community in a full-page New York Times ad to tell us what the future would look like when women lead the way. The responses we got were profound.
Getting to know the brands' audiences is a favorite part of my job. They are not known who they are. What makes them want to work harder? Any effective marketing campaign starts with this research.
Gilbert told me to understand my audience. Content marketers are supposed to tell stories that their audience will like.
Ask why. Why would they be interested in what you have to say? She wants to know why they wouldn't stop scrolling or reading. The more you know about your audience's habits and preferences, the better you can make content that engages the people you want to reach.