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Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times + 2021 Marketing Tips

End of year is an exciting time for marketing professionals as we reflect on the past year and craft new marketing plans that maximize every dollar and unlock new opportunities for growth. But in a year like 2020, strategic planning can be a daunting task when we have experienced firsthand how quickly the state of one’s business and plans can change. Let’s also not forget that consumers’ behaviors, needs and media consumption are also drastically different now than at the start of the year. Enter the PMG team who has been tracking these changes closely and in the trenches with our clients to create the best possible outcomes for their businesses. Consider this post our B2B holiday gift to you: a round-up of the PMG team’s greatest insights and 2021 marketing tips for planning in uncertain times.

PMG’s Favorite 2021 Marketing Tips

Get Online | Glenda White, Website + Digital Strategist

If this year has proven anything, your business needs to be online. There are over 4 trillion internet users in the world and over 3 billion social media users waiting to find your product or service. Depending on the state you operate in, you may be facing some in-person restrictions now or in the coming winter months. Start with something manageable, like a Facebook page where you can post regular updates, connect with users, list your services, network with others in your industry, and maintain messaging with your audience. Grow your familiarity with other online marketing and strategic planning resources through easy-to-digest tips and tricks (from reputable sources) online. Find relevant hashtags and use them properly to grow your following. When you’re ready, reach out to experts to help you compound your efforts.

Create Community Connections | Jennifer Bostrom, MA in PR – Grassroots Strategist

With consumers spending more time online, this is an ideal time to try hosting a virtual event to connect with prospective customers and remind loyal customers of your presence. Word of mouth continues to be one of the most effective ways to market your business so be sure to ask current customers to invite a friend to your event who could benefit from your business. If you have a brick and mortar store, consider joining with the businesses on your block to hold an outdoor event that encourages the current trend of shopping local. Part of grassroots marketing is connecting with the community so leverage your reach and support by teaming up with a local charity and donating a percent of proceeds from your event. You’ll increase your reach, foot traffic, and expand your community connections.

Build Your Online Reviews | Brittany Simpson, MA in PR – Social Media Strategist

Especially in the current climate, reviews of your business can make all the difference. Whether you’re a restaurant offering carry-out, a retail store with different/changing hours, etc., fresh and current reviews of your business make a difference to potential customers. Each time a prospective customer sees a brand new, glowing review of your business, you become top of mind to them, making them more likely to engage with and support your business. It’s perfectly acceptable to request (via a social media post or two) that your customers leave reviews, especially if you maintain an open, honest dialogue with them on social media. Even if you aren’t venturing out as often as before, use this downtime as an opportunity to show support for other businesses you love by posting a positive review and ask your customers to do the same for you.

Support a Cause (or Multiple) | Krissi Edgington, Brand Strategist

It’s a difficult balance, especially as we’re seeing customers pull back on spending and our projected revenues fall by the wayside. Though brands may be forced to cut marketing and activation budgets to adapt, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a demonstrable impact and build brand equity while you’re at it.  Deploying a cause marketing initiative or campaign allows your brand to engage with and support a cause (or multiple) that are central to your brand pillars or with which you have a personal connection. It also gives you something authentic to share with your target audiences, while not tooting your own horn. Apart from the much-needed lift many businesses and brands are experiencing right now, cause marketing is especially needed and welcomed this time of year by many organizations and causes who also need the support, be it time, treasure, or talent. Cause marketing just so happens to be my favorite example of how brands can work together to exponentially increase impact, so get out there and see how your brand can help, then tell your audiences about how they can engage, too.

Power Up Your Earned Media | Nicole Pence Becker, Owner

It’s important to find new audiences and earned media is always a credible and strategic option. Earned media refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising. Earned media is essentially online word of mouth with content picked up by third party sites, including local media outlets. Earned media is a strong way to share your product or service while also creating a storyline that is easy to follow. The best earned media pieces are also helpful to the audience because they highlight solutions that the service or product can provide. Earned media is a strong way to demonstrate brand credibility and should be planned strategically and creatively when pitched to media outlets.

Consider Strategic Brand Partnerships and B2B Marketing | Lisa Wallace, MPA – PR + Marketing Strategist

Even for traditionally B2C businesses, we are seeing strong growth happen when they pivot their products or services to a B2B offering. It’s about strategically expanding your audience and customer base, while providing business partners with a solution to a new challenge that was created by the pandemic. And you don’t have to start from scratch. Within your current consumer base, there are likely many warm leads to consider expanding into larger business opportunities.

Tell Your Story with Video | Andrea Kleymeyer, Communications Strategist

As humans, we inherently want to feel connected to others but our usual in-person interactions have been significantly impacted by safety measures in a pandemic year. In 2020, video has become an even stronger tool to engage with your audience when our interactions and live event capabilities are limited, so consider the power of video in your marketing efforts. Hubspot reports that 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video and that mobile video consumption increases by 100% each year. And while we love professionally produced video with strategic messaging and scripting at PMG, it’s A-OK to start small and utilize the video tools on your iPhone to create compelling content for more informal outlets like social media. What should you post? Try something like an industry tip, answer to your most commonly asked question, or share a product demonstration presented by one of your team members.

Experts in Strategic Planning + Marketing

PMG Can Help. If you feel stuck on how to turn the page to 2021, PMG can help you to take a step back and rethink your marketing efforts so you can move your business forward in the new year.  Our team is experienced in brand development, grassroots marketing, public relations, social media, content creation, crisis communications, digital marketing, and everything your business needs to truly rise above the competition. Consider it done.

Andrea graduated from DePauw University with a major in Communication and started her career at an Indianapolis-based advertising agency before her tenure as marketing and executive director at the Indiana Design Center. She brings amazing marketing and brand awareness skills to PMG and believes that to be entrusted with our clients’ brand and strategic outreach is an honor, only made better by the shared excitement of a plan that successfully moves the needle for them while helping their customers.

Author | Andrea Kleymeyer

Communications Strategist


Let Pence Media Group’s team of experts build your brand and tell your story while you focus on your business.