New Year's resolutions aren't just for individuals. As a new calendar year gets underway, businesses often feel pressure to implement big changes to their current modes of operations. These sweeping strategy shifts often include drastic changes to marketing and advertising, in hopes that a new-and-improved approach can build greater success in the year ahead.
While it’s true that innovation is the engine of growth, it’s also true that wholesale changes to your existing strategy can create a lot of new costs without any certainty of a strong return. It’s great for small businesses to believe their advertising and marketing has room for improvement: even when your customer engagement strategies are driving growth, businesses shouldn’t be content to maintain the status quo.
But demanding change for the sake of change is rarely a winning approach. It’s often a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater: while sweeping strategy shifts can move your advertising and marketing away from bad habits and low-ROI campaigns, it also sabotages the campaigns and channels that are already delivering value to your business.
To avoid this scenario, businesses may want to consider a gentler approach and target smaller changes that build off of your past success, rather than abandoning it. Here are four ways to take last year’s marketing strategy and use it as a launching pad to an even better year ahead.
1. Lean on Proven Channels for Engagement
Want to build a better ad strategy? Use analytics to identify your top-performing channels, and lean on them as you implement changes with underperforming aspects of your overall strategy.
If your email marketing program is driving strong engagement and ROI, why make dramatic changes to your current approach? That’s not to say that businesses should settle for “good enough” in their ad strategy. Rather, businesses should lean on the steady performance of these channels while they experiment with changes in other aspects of their ad strategy, such as testing new cable TV ad strategies, or trying out different approaches to social media marketing.
Even if these tests don’t deliver results, you’ll still benefit from customer engagement driven through other, established channels. Their success gives you more stability as you implement targeted, strategic changes.
2. Invest in Optimizations, Not Overhauls
There are cases where the best approach is to wipe the slate clean and start with a new ad strategy altogether. In most cases, though, local businesses have achieved a certain degree of success in their advertising and marketing, and their progress is an opportunity to implement new wrinkles and enhancements to a baseline strategy.
In the past year, for example, your business may have used digital audio to connect with a brand new segment of your audience. This achievement may offer a lot of insight into who your customers are, and where you can most effectively connect with them. Why walk away from this success and force a different approach altogether? Instead, you can seek out better value at a much lower cost by using this success to optimize existing strategies. Seek out TV and digital ad inventory that reaches the customer group you’ve reached through digital audio. Test out small tweaks to digital audio campaigns to see if new targeting methods increase the margins on your campaign spending.
The greatest value in advertising comes when you’re able to leverage insights and performance data to build new optimizations and take your ad strategy even higher.
3. Grow ROI Through Repurposed Ads and Marketing Content
The content you’ve created in the past could offer excellent ROI potential by repurposing these assets over time. Evergreen blog posts can be re-shared on social media and in email newsletters. Even the seasonal TV ads you’ve used in the past could be repurposed for a future ad campaign—especially if those older ads drove strong ROI for your business.
Similarly, video production for a past ad could be re-cut to create new ad segments, including shorter ads that display on digital video. Repurposed content saves your business the time and resource cost of content creation, allowing you to pile up value through that single asset. And, if you’re creating some of this content for the first time, a media partner can help you guide strategic content creation that facilitates repurposing in the future.
4. Incorporate Changes Based on Data Insights
Successful marketing and ad strategies aren’t achieved through a guessing game. Rather, they’re the product of persistence, especially when it comes to evaluating performance data to identify new opportunities you may have overlooked.
A local home services business, for example, might notice that certain underutilized keywords are driving much higher ROI through paid search marketing than the top keywords that company is using to target its ads. In this scenario, the data would suggest that the home services business increase its spending on the targeted keywords driving the highest ROI, to see if that high value carries over to a higher volume of ad exposures.
Regardless of whether this strategy tweak is successful, each small change creates an opportunity to learn more about your audience, and to build an ad strategy that delivers more value to your business.
Overwhelmed by task ahead? A trusted media partner can guide you through the process of using last year’s insights to drive better results in the year ahead. Contact us today to see how we can help you formulate a winning plan that builds off of last year’s success.