It’s critical for your marketing plans to align both with your business goals and the cultural trends of the year. Consumer behavior is affected by what is happening in the world. As a result, you will find more success with your marketing campaigns if they coincide with the social, political, economic and media trends that are important to your customer base. However, keep in mind that while it’s vital to work within the cultural trends of the era, it’s equally important to stay true to your brand’s mission, vision and core values.
Identify Your 2020 Marketing Goals
Begin your marketing road map by brainstorming to figure out what you want to achieve with your campaigns in 2020. Clearly identifying your goals will help you to effectively develop a tactical plan with an ideal end result. In thinking of your goals, be sure to keep the cultural trends of your target audience in mind. It’s imperative to align with those trends so that your consumers see you as relevant and in touch with the issues about which they care.
Consumers are deeply affected by the cultural trends around them and often make purchasing decisions based on those trends. The three areas that influence consumer behavior include personal factors, psychological factors and social factors. If it’s clear to consumers that a brand coincides with those factors, they may be more inclined to make a purchase.
When determining your goals, be sure to consider the current technologies that are used today and how those technologies can help you achieve your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to get more customer reviews online, one of the technologies you may consider using is texting your customers with a link that they can click to post a review on your Google My Business page. If one of your goals is to build brand loyalty, you may consider hiring a social media influencer to post promotions of your products.
Identify the Gaps in Your Marketing
When establishing marketing goals based on your business plan, it’s imperative to understand where you have gaps in your marketing strategy. This is similar to conducting a SWOT analysis. If you know your weaknesses, then you can prioritize what you need to achieve first to get the most effective results for your company. Identify your biggest gaps so you know where you want to focus your 2020 efforts.
Areas where you may have gaps in your marketing strategy include:
- Reach: This is the number of people with whom you share your marketing message. For example, it can be the number of people who see your promotion poster in your store window or the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter. Remember that the number of paying customers you have will be less than the number of people you can reach.
- Engagement: This refers to the quality of your marketing campaigns and whether they interest your target market. For example, your open rate for emails will show you how many people are engaged with that content. The bounce rate on your website is also another metric to follow. Higher engagement rates will indicate more interest from prospects.
- Conversion: This is whether you can get your prospects to take action. The actions you want them to take are not limited to buying a product. They can also be scheduling an appointment or filling out a form online.
Focus on 2020 Cultural Trends
When developing your marketing tactics and your brand’s 2020 messaging, be sure to consider which cultural trends are front and center for your target audience and include this in your marketing research. Aligning your campaign with the trends will help you align yourself with issues about which your target market cares. Trends in 2020 include:
- Climate change: Consumers care about using products and services that are created using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials in order to slow down climate change. This may mean altering your manufacturing process or forgoing print advertisements.
- The "me too" movement: There is an increased focus on the sexual harassment and sexual assault that women face in society. It’s important to be aware of how the images or text in a campaign can affect survivors of trauma.
- Diversity: Consumers want to see diverse people in marketing campaigns. This means including women, people of color, diverse body types, diverse abilities and diverse sexual orientation in your campaigns.
- 2020 election: With 2020 being an election year in the United States, there is more focus on politics and political values. Ensure your campaign coincides with the political values of your target market.
- Self-care: Consumers are spending more time focusing on taking care of themselves physically, mentally, spiritually and beyond. Try promoting products and services that help them do that.
- Mental health: There is increased awareness of the importance of good mental health, recognizing the signs of issues and removing the stigma of mental illness.
- Technology: Not only are the trends changing but so are the mediums. In many industries, print advertising is no longer relevant and is being taken over by other mediums such as SMS/text and social media.
Do your market research and think about how your target customers and current buyer personas react to these trends. Develop your marketing materials with these reactions in mind: What will speak to your future customers?
Align With Your Mission, Vision and Core Values
While it is important to work with the cultural trends that are important to your target market, it’s best to ensure that they also align with your company’s mission statement, vision and core values. If they don’t, your consumers may feel like you’re pandering to them or not being true to what you stand for.
For example, if your small business releases a campaign showcasing how you use sustainable ingredients in your body creams but you use single-use plastics to package all of your products, then consumers may not believe your commitment to stopping climate change.
Evaluate Current and Past Campaigns
Review the campaigns you have completed in the last few years as well as current campaigns you have running. Figure out which elements of those campaigns may be successful in the 2020 climate and align with the year’s trends. For example, if you ran a campaign last year that included models with different body sizes, you may be able to reuse those images in a 2020 campaign because it aligns with trends of this year as well.
Be sure to also look at what will not work in 2020 that may have worked in the past. For example, if you ran a print campaign in the past, you may not find the same kind of success with that medium in 2020. Similarly, if you want to use content marketing, you may find it more effective to start a podcast than a blog.
Review Your Target Audience
While you may already have a customer persona document or target audience brief, it’s important to review who your target market is every time you develop a new marketing objective or marketing activities. Just as cultural trends shift from year to year, the values of your consumers shift as well. It’s important to know what they care about right now, not what they cared about last year.
Be sure to understand your target audience on four distinct levels:
- Demographic: Understand your prospects' age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, education, occupation, income and social class.
- Geographic: Know where your prospects live, including their climate, population density and size of metropolitan area.
- Psychographic: This is one of the most important elements to consider when you’re reviewing cultural trends, as this area deals with the lifestyle of your prospects. What are their values, attitudes, opinions, activities and interests? These can change from time to time with cultural shifts. For example, they may be shifting loyalties to a new political party in 2020.
- Behavioral: Review how your prospects behave toward products. This includes their brand loyalty, usage rate and the benefits for which they're looking.
Specify Your 2020 Marketing Mix
Identify the marketing mix you want to use in 2020 and how it coincides with the cultural trends of the year. This is the foundation for all of your marketing efforts. It includes:
- Product: Which products and services do you want to highlight this year? For example, if you have a line of plus-size clothing, that may be a more successful campaign in 2020 than in previous years.
- Price: What pricing strategy do you want to use? Focus on the price sensitivities of your target audience. Are they willing to pay more for a product if it aligns with their cultural, social and political values?
- Place: In 2020, many successful retail locations are struggling. Consider e-commerce as a viable option for adding another sales channel to your business. Having your own e-commerce website isn’t your only option. You can also sell products through platforms like Amazon or Etsy and on social media marketplaces.
- Promotion: It’s vital to find the right mediums for promoting your products and services. Craft your promotional message and unique selling proposition by incorporating the cultural trends of 2020.
Focus on Building a 2020 Promotional Mix
When deciding which marketing channels you will use in 2020, it’s best to first understand where your prospects are found. That is where you will want to focus your efforts. Combine that knowledge with the growing mediums of 2020 to get the best bang for your marketing buck. Promotional channels to implement include:
- Advertising: Traditional mediums like print, radio and billboards are slowing down, while online advertising is soaring. Consider pay-per-click advertising on Google or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
- Personal selling: This channel is about developing one-on-one relationships with your potential customers. Traditionally done in person, it’s moving toward being done through social media instead. Share behind-the-scenes content on your social channels and be sure to respond candidly to any posts.
- Direct marketing: You can reach a segment of your audience using this method, offering them highly targeted content. Focus your efforts on email marketing or SMS instead of post mail or call-in campaigns.
- Sales promotions: In any cultural era, consumers love a good deal. Consider where you will offer a sale, discount or other monetary promo. You may choose to only offer a discount in store or online.
- Public relations: This channel is about generating positive media for your business. Align your brand with the trends about which your prospects care, such as donating used products to an animal charity or volunteering at a women’s shelter.
Re-evaluate and Pivot Your 2020 Campaign
Before you launch your 2020 marketing campaign on a large scale, test out the waters with a small segment of your prospects to see how they respond. If you’re launching online ads, for example, you can conduct A/B testing with different images and messages and then select the one that performs the best for the larger campaign. If you’re shifting your brand look and feel, consider holding a focus group to see how people respond to your new messaging and visuals before you roll out the plan. It's tough to generate a successful marketing campaign on the first try without evaluating public reaction.
Always be open to pivoting your campaign if your prospects don’t respond favorably. It’s best to do a small test so you can gauge their reaction before releasing the larger campaign. This will not only save your company money but it may also save your brand’s reputation.
- Disruptive Advertising: The 6 Marketing Channels You Should Prioritize in 2020
- ThriveHive: How to Make a Small Business Marketing Plan
- ManyChat: How to Write A Marketing Plan for 2020
- Brandwatch: How to Understand and Influence Consumer Behavior
- Social Media Week: 6 Trends to Help Your Brand Connect With Culture in 2020
- Fast Company: These Five Culture Trends Will Dominate the Workplace in 2020
- NetMBA: Market Segmentation
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.