By STEPHANIE WOODCOCK
At the beginning of a new year or venture, I like to look at the big picture first. What trends should we consider? What is new, old, tried and true in marketing? What are the “marketing experts” saying?
Then, we can develop a crawl/walk/run plan? How do we spend our marketing dollars and which trends are going to benefit our companies the most?
The only constant in marketing is change. Here’s what is changing in 2023.
- Digital First Marketing Strategy
There’s no such thing as “digital marketing” anymore. It’s now “marketing in a digital world.”
By 2023, 75 percent of the U.S. workforce will be digital natives, and by 2035 many companies will be run by “born digital” leadership teams.
No matter what generation you hail from, certain truths never stop being true. Strategy drives execution. We have to look at the big picture to get the strategy. Knowing that businesses are becoming more digital is an important first step to our strategy in 2023.
As part of the Xennial generation myself (on the cusp of Gen X and Millennials), we have the antiquated pleasure of knowing what it was like before cell phones existed. We carried pagers proudly, still talked on “land lines” and boasted about our accomplishments on the Oregon Trail video game. If we wanted to play with our friends, we walked to their houses, knocked on the door and asked their mothers if our pals were a) home and b) up for company. That was our normal mode of communication. Walking. To the front door. And knocking.
I appreciate the traditional forms of communication. Face to face is humanizing and inspiring. It’s not getting replaced. It is, however, getting supplemented. With digital. Digital can support and enhance the traditional. Traditional marketing activities such as trade shows, collateral or proposals should be planned and executed with the thought in mind: “How do we support this effort with digital?”
For instance, posting about an event on LinkedIn is a great way to support traditional marketing efforts with digital. Having a presence on social media grows your company’s audience in a way that adds value to clients.
- Purpose-Driven Brand Strategy
What makes your company worth doing business with? It takes strong marketing to get that message across. Simple, succinct, consistent messaging creates context to show the culture of a company. A purpose-driven brand strategy is not accomplished from a well-worded “About Us” website page. It’s about telling the story of how a company’s leadership and employees embody the values they represent through everyday actions.
Hire a marketing consultant to help infuse your already present passion and purpose into your messaging, marketing and events. The return on investment is twofold. Your clients better understand your culture and company, and your employees are reminded of why they like to work for your company.
- Content Marketing Continues and Evolves
Content marketing. It is the practice of creating, publishing and sharing content with the goal of building the reputation and visibility of your brand. It is typically accomplished in a digital format (but can also be print) and can come in the form of blogs, whitepapers, social media posts, video, press releases, etc.
In 2023 the tone of content marketing is shifting and is being used for the strategic positioning of a company as a thought leader and authority in its industry.
- Employee Recruitment
Employee retention is the new recruitment and a top trend for 2023 because of the current climate of talent wars. This has long been a struggle in the construction industry. Finding and retaining the right people. Enter the need for marketing. Engaged employees are more productive and less likely to leave their company. How do we get them engaged? Better communication. Internal marketing is important to the culture and relevancy of a company. Culture and onboarding videos, internal newsletters and employer brand messaging are all ways to increase buy-in with your company’s best assets – its people.
- Customer Retention and Engagement
It costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. This is why greater engagement of current customers AFTER the sale is so important. Traditional customer appreciation events and entertainment is a start. Customization is on the rise. Customers want added layers of support throughout the sale. They want various billing options, more detailed proposals and easier communication during the project. Educational content is a great way to add value and make your clients feel appreciated. Lunch ‘n’ Learns, customer-only seminars, webinars and training are all good strategies to keep your customer engaged and deepen the relationship.
After seeing the big picture of top trends, I notice a commonality. Each trend is about adding value through our messaging. It’s answering the why behind the what. Marketing so many times focuses just on the “what.” What do we do? What do we make? What is the process? Now it’s the “why.” Why should people do business with us? Why should they care about our company’s culture or process?
We should take our time to answer this question and provide value with our answers. It’s like walking down the street and knocking on a friend’s door to play. We want the why behind the what. Can they play? If not, why? We walked here. We deserve a full answer.
Stephanie Woodcock is president of Too Creative, a St. Louis-based marketing and creative design firm for businesses in the building industry. Contact her at Stephanie@toocreativestl.com or (314) 753-1148.