Marketing Technology

Ready, Set, Go!

The speed of modern technology can’t be stopped, no matter what’s thrown at it (worldwide pandemics included). Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, BAM, a new statistic or technology is released that changes everything. But, keeping up with these changes and staying ahead of the game is what ultimately brings success.

2020 brought us a variety of different trends that were highly utilized throughout the year (whether we liked it or not). However, what really took the cake in 2020 was the influx of virtual and augmented reality trends. They became massively popular and their popularity is growing even more as we enter 2021. In fact, this virtual world has and is continuing to open many doors (windows) to digital marketing opportunities. For instance, we’re able to host events and conferences from our personal living spaces. It’s basically changing the way we interact and broadening the mediums we communicate on.

So, with that being said, let’s see what’s predicted for the long-awaited 2021.

Covid-19 Did What Now? Created Trends?

Yes, yes it did. A global pandemic actually did cause some marketing trends to arise. To start, video calls sky-rocketed, becoming one of the largest and most “convenient” ways of communication in this new norm. But that’s not the craziest part. What is? That these digital pivots have become permanent. Businesses have started to turn roles into indefinite remote positions, making virtual the new, permanent norm. Who would have thought?

Sure, it can be challenging to adapt to these shifts, but if there’s one good thing that came out of this trend, it’s that it’s made companies stronger. It’s made people step outside their comfort zones and change how they work – facilitating growth and unity.

On top of this, we’re expecting to see an increase in online content creation in 2021. Covid-19 showed us that if we’re not online, we might as well not exist. Online marketing is inevitably growing and businesses are investing and budgeting for it. With more people stuck at home, that means technology is one of their only connections to the world. Google claims that more than 90% of their users utilized devices for help and inspiration while in the middle of the task. So, here’s our suggestion – get your content online!

Personalization is Still King

Personalization is always a top priority – but even more so going into the new year. With the emergence of numerous online product design tools and platforms, customization is projected to be at an all-time high in 2021. More and more people are working remotely and that type of environment closes off the outside world and limits opportunities for connection. As a result, now, more than ever, finding ways to connect in a personalized manner is crucial. It’s an easy way to replace the face-to-face interaction we so dearly miss and let’s be honest, personal connections with potential buyers and current clients makes all the difference. But how do you get started? It’s relatively easy.

Start by figuring out what type of communication you want to use based on their preferences, interests and behavior. Since we can’t exactly use body language and other indicators to communicate, we must depend on tone and language. Then, tap into their behaviors and interactions through ads, social platforms, and other analytical tools. Finally, test and track what’s working and what’s not. At the end of the day, it can’t be a one size fits all approach, especially when you’re dealing with new marketing technology.

Micro-Moments are Macro-Important

Noun: An intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need to know, go, do, or buy.  

Micro-moments might be a new concept for you – and that’s OK. To get started, meet your customers where they are in their buying journey, whether that’s in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, or making their final purchasing decision. It’s important to respond quickly and catch them right away, wherever they may be in the process. After all, people lean heavily on instant gratification now that everything is a click away. There’s limited time during these micro-moments, and we don’t want you to miss out.  “When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.”

Omnichannel Marketing is on the Rise

2020 brought customers even more options to communicate with companies – whether that be by website, app, social media, email, text, etc. But true communication success is turning customer acquisition into customer retention – and that’s done by setting up proper and correct communication channels through omnichannel marketing. First and foremost, it’s about your customers, so focus on them when capitalizing on omnichannel marketing. This could be through above-and-beyond customer service, efficient navigation, specials for loyal customers, or simply creating well-rounded user experience that’s consistent in both visuals and messaging. Behavior, on the other hand, is the key to understanding any customer – and that’s the fundamental to creating your channel – knowing how customers will react. Since many people switched to an online presence in 2020 (43% to be exact), an omnichannel approach has basically become mandatory. And, as a result, we’re expected to see a bigger emphasis on multi-channel attributions, community efforts, and video within marketing.

So, What Trends Should You Focus On?

First things first, make sure you understand your company’s pain points, current marketing strategies, and overall goals to ensure you’re fully grasping what changes need to be made and how to implement them. Make, sure you know your target audience, and keep up with the way they shop and research your products and services. Along with this, it’s important to stay relevant – research, research, research – predict what’s to come, and work on fully understanding these upcoming changes in not only the market but in consumer behaviors. Keep track, listen, observe, and absorb.

2021: Be Prepared

As we said before, changes in 2020 happened at rapid speed, and it wasn’t always easy to prepare and keep up. We hope that we’ve provided you with some insight for 2021 that you may not have had going into 2020, because, as they say, hindsight is in fact…20/20. Ready to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 marketing? Contact us, and we’ll help you brainstorm and execute your next campaign.

Surviving and Thriving During 2020: 4 Takeaways and How We Moved Forward

“I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted; little did I know 2020 (would be) the year that made me appreciate everything I have.” (Melody Godfred)

This quote serves as an overlying theme this year, both in life and in work. Although the pandemic has shaken everyone to the core, and has brought out many feelings of fear and uncertainty, we have truly been forced to step back and realize what’s actually important. While 2020 most certainly made our team reevaluate our expectations and objectives, it also allowed us to appreciate the great team we have, grow and learn together, and thrive in new ways we otherwise would not have explored.

This year, we’ve watched businesses scramble, lost friends and loved ones, and as a global community, have relentlessly tried to help those forced to say goodbye to the ones they held dearest. Most importantly, through it all, 2020 has taught us to appreciate everything we do have (as Melody said best). To prioritize what is meaningful in our lives, find beauty in the small things, and never take a day for granted.

Throughout the turmoil of this past year, we’re proud to say we’ve remained #StrataStrong. While we’ll be looking back on what we’ve accomplished and learned during this pandemic, we’ll also be looking ahead to next year and how we can continue to improve even more.

Takeaway 1: Customer Experience and Retention is Always a Priority

One of our main priorities, even before 2020, has always been continually improving customer experience. The pandemic has changed the needs, wants, and availabilities of customers, forcing us and other companies to explore unique communication avenues. It’s important to understand clients first, in order to tailor communication to their specific needs. This doesn’t just come naturally. It requires time and effort to ensure a personalized, streamlined experience. Simply stated, we are hellbent on providing customers as unique and personalized of an experience as possible.

We worked hard to not let our clients miss any communication opportunities during this new “virtual norm.” Any resource we could use to communicate, we did – virtual meetings, video messages, direct send-outs, and really anything that made this new agenda work for both the clients and us. Of course, this came with some trial and error, but our customers really noticed our efforts and felt in-the-know at every step.

Takeaway 2: Digital Marketing is More Important than Ever Before

After the unpredictability of 2020, we can only hope for the best in 2021. Hopefully, there’s one thing we can predict for the upcoming year – the direction of digital marketing. We’ve become a digital “all the time” culture – and it’s not something that’s going away or slowing down – especially with how we’ve adapted to communication with no direct contact. This contact-less communication has contributed to a growth in digital and direct marketing ads and companies are spending more money on these resources than ever before.

When it comes to digital marketing, we’ve really defined and refined our strategy, mostly because of the effects of Covid-19. With an increase in digital marketing, we knew this was the time to really hone in on our digital strategy. We gave people a deeper look into who we are and the culture of Strata through these digital outlets.

However, with digital content comes digital overload. We all know what we’re talking about here. Maybe it’s the hundreds of emails you see when you get back from a vacation, or it’s the bombarding of notifications from various apps. Either way, digital overload means the need for direct marketing. A physical postcard, envelope, or package rather than an email or PDF file can cut through the digital noise and create a unique experience.

Takeaway 3: Brand Experience Deserves a Renewed Focus

With customer experience comes brand experience, and customers want a brand that they can trust and understand. Rob Krischker, a member of our Strategic Sales team says it best: “(My motto is) to provide peace of mind to my clients that their job is in good hands.” Your brand can make or break recognition and trust from your customers.

This year, we had plans to refresh our brand no matter what, but 2020 made us take a much deeper look into what really mattered. It opened our eyes to truly understanding what our story was, where we wanted to go, who we wanted to help, and how we wanted to be seen.

We not only crafted a more appealing look for our brand, but polished our services to increase customization for our clients. We created a brand that would resonate with both long-standing, new, and future customers, while thinking through what would be recognizable, eye-catching, and readable.

Takeaway 4: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

2020 made us take a deep look at our company culture. The people, the lifestyle, the appearance, and everything in between. Which raised the question; how can we best portray and build the culture of Strata? What do we stand for and what do we want most for our employees?

Working from home definitely created some distance between us, and our first priority was to mentally and physically stay connected and stay positive as a company. The remote experience can be hard on some, and easier on others. This can make the employees having difficulties wonder what they’re not doing correctly to thrive. Working from home isn’t convenient and energizing for everyone, and can impact not only work ethic but the entire culture of a company. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to new practices and processes during times like this, which is exactly what we’ve done.

We come from a small, but big-hearted company. Our people are what makes this company thrive, so being flexible, understanding, and continuing to bond with each other makes all the difference during difficult times. At-home work may not be quite the same as face-to-face interaction at the office, but with the right communication tools and frequent check-ins, it’s a close second. Not to mention we can do it all while in our pj’s! (as least on the bottom half).

Right away, we implemented happy hours, virtual check-ins, several communication tools, and physical mailers for holidays and special occasions. We pride ourselves on high morale, an attribute that fuels us to work harder.

Entering the New Year: 2021

Although 2020 has been a year filled with sorrow for so many, it’s taught us all so much. We’re beyond excited to continue making smart happen with you in 2021.

With these four takeaways in mind, we recommend continuing to personalize your customers’ experience, build relationships, partake in new technology, and enter the new year full speed ahead, ready for challenges and embracing hardships. I mean, 2021 can’t be anything but a step up from 2020, right?

Want a helping hand? Contact us and see how we can help you in the New Year and beyond. A pandemic might have shaken the world, but it cannot, and will not, shake the Stratasphere (pun intended)!