Haven't we been here before? There seems to be a continuous loop of Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day" playing non-stop in our heads. With 2022 looming ahead with much the same playbook as 2021, what's our next move in this COVID-19 chess match?
Reflect on what worked and what did not. Renew strategies that proved to be successful despite a challenging virus that won't go away. Then accept that this is our new normal. It's time to hit the reset button on marketing.
Reflect on Marketing Promises to Customers
We've reflected on marketing strategies and advice that we shared over the past year. Many of the tactics carry over into the new year:
Connections with consumers begin online. Review everything being offered in the digital space where they go to stay informed. They want to read less but learn more from virtual events, patient portals, podcasts and videos.
Flexibility, agility and the ability to pivot are key to successful marketing efforts. Quickly shift tactics to reach target audiences and generate demand when their focus shifts. We know they are online 24-7-365. So follow their lead to deliver information, products and services when, where and how they want it.
With any marketing message, "keep it simple, stupid" and keep it consistent.
Create content that is short and consumable in snack-size bites. Remember— humans supposedly have an eight-second attention span (less than a goldfish); we're bombarded with some 10,000 messages daily; we spend about 16 minutes a day on personal reading time.
Renew Commitments to Community
Marketing campaigns should reflect the diverse communities we serve, our customers and our employees. Don’t just talk about implementing change; consumers expect us to walk the walk.
Take actions that lead to social impact investments in affordable housing, education and employment, which all contribute to the community's holistic health.
The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer showed a decline in trust of institutions, from the government to the media. A year later, according to "Top U.S. Insights from Gallup in 2021," not much has changed—people still don't trust politicians or the media. And they trust businesses seemingly less every year.
People don't necessarily trust or believe brands, but they do believe and trust people. Market owners and frontline employees as the face of the brand. Use thought leadership from the CEO in social media to connect with consumers, stakeholders and community leaders. Humanize the brand by sharing ordinary acts of care and compassion that impacted others in extraordinary ways.
Reset Top Marketing Priority—Employees First
Marketing in 2022 should implement a strategy that has always been priority. We advise launching marketing campaigns internally first for employee buy-in.
This is particularly critical when employee turnover is so high and it’s difficult to find and hire new employees.
The Great Resignation affects employees across the board, particularly females. Demands at work and at home has fanned the flames of burnout.
Internal marketing efforts should address issues affecting frontline employees as well as staff who may be working remotely. Compensation, staffing and resource shortages are all common issues. Business owners identify their top concern as the emotional health and well-being of their staff.
Use internal marketing campaigns to promote initiatives such as wellness, mental health resources, recognition programs or additional PTO that prioritize employee well-being. Encourage employees to refresh by disconnecting from work, including electronic devices, for protected time.
Another message aimed at retaining talent and keeping employees happy might focus on "upskilling" opportunities. As many as 72 percent of workers say they would be more engaged with their work if companies increased investments in training for new skills.
All-in-all, 2022 seems to be a new year to focus on the "Rs"—reflect, renew and hit the rest button on marketing that balances the needs of internal and external audiences alike.