Marketing tech to retailers in 2021
Marketing departments all over the world are putting their marketing plans together for 2021. Here are some of our recommendations
Marketing to retailers in 2021
While most tech companies are busy planning and budgeting for next year, here is what we have learned by talking to them. They divide into those who simply carried on regardless during the crisis, those that reined things in a bit and those that packed it in completely.
I’m not judging as to what was the right thing to do but I think I can provide good advice that works for every type of business. Here are our tips designed to help you plan for 2021. Essentially, they are all about doing what you do now, but better. Here are the ways.
What worked in early March 2020 may no longer work well or at all. And by this I mean, your solution set, your people, your sales approach and your marketing. You may already be known in your market, but how clear to your prospects is the value of what you do? You may not want to hear the answer, but it is worth asking some of your prospects about this, because you may need to do a reset. And you may not like their answers because you have probably been content with the view of the world that you created for yourself. It is time to put corporate narcissism aside and open yourselves up to a healthy dose of reality.
If this sounds pompous, consider that we have been through it ourselves this year, in fact, who hasn’t. We have had to think about which of our solutions are more important than others and what has emerged is that PR and content are key. And by PR, I do not mean the mediocre outputs from most agencies large and small that have come to define the industry.
First of all, PR for many is still just media relations. But there are other publics and they are becoming more and more important as influencers on decision makers that are finding it much harder to find the right solution. These other publics are analysts, industry bodies, investors, event organisers, industry influencers, non execs and a host of other individuals who have access to a wider audience through LinkedIn.
These should all be the natural target of PR, not just the media, and VCs who continue to recommend large international agencies that charge £12-25k a month to their startups in return for media relations should be ashamed of themselves, particularly if those agencies don’t really know the industries their clients work in, let alone the key players.
I am making a fuss about PR because it is important and it is should be well represented in any marketing plan. If it not working well for you right now, there are probably a number of reasons. Your current agency may be fobbing you off by saying getting coverage is hard, or that you are not very interesting so it is not their fault; or they are just not making an effort because you are not really bothered either. Or they are not going after the right targets, meaning people and places that do not really influence your prospect decision makers.
So that’s PR, but what about content. Content is important for two main reasons, The first is, if you want to get noticed, you need to show up regularly and often across a lot of channels, and that requires content that is good enough to be seen. And the second is, if your content is the same as everyone else’s, then how will you stand out? Too many companies seem to be chasing the same topic – what will retail look like in x years’ time, or after Covid-19 or in the new normal. Who cares? Tech companies jump five years ahead while retailers simply look down and say, what’s coming today or tomorrow. There is a mismatch which means that most content is so much stuffing to stop LinkedIn from drying up. Imagine that, if no one said anything for a week on LinkedIn? How refreshing that would be and how much better might the content be after that, once we had all taken a break.
My advice therefore for anyone putting together their 2021 marketing plan is, slow down, take time look around you and consider how you might do things differently or better. Covid-19 has caused most of us to do a massive reset on what is important to us, what and who do we care about. And it has made us more honest, more direct and more impatient to make an impression. These are the people we are now marketing to so let’s treat them as we would like to be treated.
And while the CFO may not agree (did they ever), remember how important marketing is. It is the primary and often only communications interface between a company and the outside world, and is therefore in a very important position of influence and trust. Covid-19 gave us all permission to be more courageous and direct, let’s take it.