It has been 25 years since I got my first job in content and communications, and it has been fascinating to see the changes in behaviour and attitude driven by technology, enabling a smoother way of working over that time.
But have things really changed? There are some key global moves that have challenged marketing and communications professionals to work smarter. These have mainly been driven by developments in tech and mobile, but the fundamentals remain the same:
- Everyone needs to be emotionally honest in their content. Integrity and ethics have been on the minds of marketers for a while, but I think so many people in the UK are now fed up with spin, it needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s thinking. Even if you are in the B2B space, open up and be more visible to your customers. Show them how you work – warts and all.
- Marketing in 2020 and beyond, more than ever before, needs to be well thought out and comprehensive across all the channels that you use. Consistency in message across different touch points with customers builds trust. This means you need to be smarter than ever before with your content planning. Both marketers and sales professionals should be ready to answer some difficult and more detailed questions about product and service offerings.
- Be prepared to be more flexible with your planning and more creative with your content. Just writing more isn’t good if your copy is crap, off message, isn’t targeted at the reader, isn’t relevant and uses the wrong language and tone. You are much better off thinking about your target customers and focusing on some brand persona work. Then, create a content plan that will work for those personas. You might be able to create less content, but it will be better quality, more relevant to your customers and can be used in a mix of campaigns.
- Think about your strategy and implement your content and comms plans with integrity. Don’t just pad it with half-hearted ideas. For example, don’t just jump on the eco bandwagon to get into Greta Thunberg’s team and think you can just splash the #sustainability hashtag around.
If you are trying to make your business more sustainable, think about how you are going to do this in detail, and tell the story end-to-end. Spend time thinking about your key messages and create your strategy and content wish list. All too often, we are pulled in a million different directions, but this dilutes our thinking. Take time out and with a clear mind, choose one campaign with two messages to use.
- Marketing is more successful if you have the buy-in from the senior management team and it becomes a company-wide activity. If the company is still of the view that the marketing department colour in and sort the Christmas do, you are missing a trick. Phil Kotler, professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, says: “Company boards should include people with different perspectives on what makes a company successful.
“A typical company board would have some lawyers, finance experts, and CEOs or executives from other companies. Your company would be smart to add a professional marketing expert to the board who could raise questions about whether the company is paying sufficient attention to changing customer, channel and competitive needs and trends. Too few company boards have a marketing mind in attendance at the meetings. No wonder so many companies have been helplessly disrupted.”
- As well as being included in future business strategy success, marketing people often interact with every other department in the organisation in one way or another. These relationships are absolutely brilliant for content creation ideas and help to tell the real story of the company. Speak to your HR team and ask who can be profiled on the blog this month? Think about customer service – what questions are being asked by customers that can be turned into a helpful guide?
Exceptional marketing and comms come from top-notch businesses who think long term, celebrate and keep great people, are genuinely proud of what they do and are not afraid to show off their talents. Are you one of these? If you are, you should be shouting from the rooftops.
If you are looking for some inspiration on how your marketing and comms can dovetail into your business planning, get in contact with the Padua Communications team on 0203 282 7570. In a very short space of time with our help, you will be content planning like a pro.