How the hell do you write a marketing plan for 2022 and keep a straight face? Remember how we first revised, then regurgitated and then completely shredded 2020’s plan? And how we all tried to adapt and go all virtual and embrace all things digital? What we wouldn’t give for “business as normal.” It’s nightmarish to be forced to make predictions when everything is downright topsy turvy. Like will Covid ever end? You might as well summon a crystal ball to divine where and how consumers are going to spend.
In the midst of the insane and the absurd, here are a few heartfelt tips that I hope will give you the courage to get started.
Think like a prima ballerina, be light-footed and agile and prepare to pivot if your dance partner drops you. After all, your dance partner could be a global pandemic, an imploding supply chain imploding or a weary customer. This year, instead of creating mandates and benchmarks, think of including scheduled moments to stop and assess. Trust me, you’ll look smarter if you embrace the uncertain and take stock of the great unknown, realizing your marketing plan may need some serious adjustments along the way.
You know that old saying, “Let’s throw it against the wall and see if it sticks?” This was an old (and faulty method) of testing spaghetti to see if it was done. I predict that this year, you might have to throw that spaghetti against the wall more than once. If it doesn’t stick the first time, don’t throw out the pasta with the bath water. Consider every aspect of your marketing plan as an act of perseverance. Your consumer is fragile. Their world has been turned upside down, they are testing out entirely new ways of working, living and purchasing. Just remain patient and give them time to adapt to your marketing approach.
Most importantly, don’t hope for overnight wins in 2022.
The shift in story telling has been evolving at a helter-skelter pace since the introduction of social media in 2009. We’ve seen another seismic shift during the pandemic with consumers at home, day after day with their shopping, eating and socializing habits upended. Phone scrolling is a new technologically induced disease with consumers relating to the outside world through their social media channels. Zoom fatigue becomes screen fatigue, so that our once happy place (computer screens or the TV) now feels like a dungeon. Getting eyeballs on your message requires a whole new set of tricks.
Look at your marketing team. Are they siloed or do they work seamlessly together? (If it’s the latter, you should win the Nobel Prize for Marketing Cohesion!) If you have a video team, they need to be integral to everything you do. Every single person in marketing should be skilled at telling a complex concept via Instagram stories. Yep, ask your colleague to sell your latest product or concept in a 15-second Instagram stories. If they can’t envision a story on Instagram, they really should be out pounding the pavement, envisioning a new career. We can’t work in bubbles anymore as storytelling requires more visuals and fewer words.
Be Forgiving and Beg Forgiveness
It’s not all on you. I’ve never seen the word “psychic” in a marketing job description. Whether you’re a senior marketing manager or CMO, you’ve got success on your goal board. You’re doing the best you can in uncertain circumstances. I’m not suggesting you should tread water, I’m just saying, give yourself a break. And sit down with your boss – tell them how committed you are to executing a successful marketing plan AND you’re doing the best you can.
And finally, be a little crazy. As you take pen to paper with your marketing plan, write in one completely absurd risky idea. Splash it on the last page – explain to your team that with so many unknowns, we really must embrace the crazy. Even if you don’t implement it, it shows that you are no longer holding on to business as normal.