As the sun is setting on 2020, we’ve been doing a lot of pausing, reflecting, and introspecting. What lessons have we learned from this most challenging year? What nuggets of wisdom can we extract from this tumultuous stretch of time and apply in the New Year?
As it turns out, there are many. I surveyed my colleagues here at Intrigue — a bright and colourful collective of copywriters, designers, web developers, ad specialists, and sales leaders — for their biggest marketing takeaways of the year.
Here are their answers, in their own words.
1. Empathize First
“In our (almost) fully digital world, the conversations you’re having with customers online (email, social media, blogs, etc.) need to be approached with the same level of empathy, care, and understanding as you would in the ‘real’ world.” – Andrew
2. Become A Trusted Advisor
“Don’t wait to go digital or for things to go back to normal. Our new normal is online and that requires your business to change, adapt, and evolve with the times. If you’re trying to do things the same way you were twelve months ago, your competition will get ahead of you. Accept change and embrace it. Offer value first in the form of useful information, helpful tools, and free content. Your customers will remember you when they’re ready to buy.” – Tricia
3. Double Down On Digital
“We saw tremendous success from companies that kept their ads running and pivoted their campaign strategy to reflect their audience’s new environment. Brands that kept their ads running but tweaked their messaging were at a huge advantage over brands that scaled their ads back (or pulled them altogether). By effectively communicating their updated messaging, and keeping their audience engaged, these brands were able to seize market share from their competitors and come out even stronger.” – Steph
4. Leverage Your Website To Build Trust
“Now, more than ever before, your business needs to have a quality website that allows visitors to feel connected to your brand, your services, and your values. Ensuring that your website is up-to-date, user-friendly, and filled with valuable and inspiring information is incredibly important. Showcasing your services and your team in order to build trust with your audience is highly recommended. Don’t forget about integrated, high-quality blogs and emails to support your goals and keep your audience engaged!” – Aphra
5. Add A Human Element To Your Online Presence
“Being authentic and honest has never been more important as people look to engage, interact, and buy from people they like and trust. Having a human element and a deeper connection goes much further in the long run than being the cheapest.” – Ryan
6. Augment Authenticity With Video
“You can throw away the notion that you need a professional camera crew to effectively shoot video. We’ve seen greater engagement and results from videos that were shot on a phone! People value authenticity over perfection, and raw videos offer a unique lens into your business and personality that people can relate to. Plus, being able to shoot and share video from your phone breaks down barriers and allows you to do it on a more consistent basis, opening the door to a deeper, more meaningful connection.” – Zoey
7. Use More Imagery, Fewer Words
“While there has been advancement in smart speakers and voice search, you should not neglect visual content. Research shows that consumers prefer visuals to plain text, which makes sense when you consider that over two thirds of the population are visual learners. Therefore, make sure to have imagery when posting on social media channels to create more engagement. This will leave a longer lasting impression on your audience.” – Mark
8. Stick to Your Knitting
“The entrepreneurs who were successful in 2020 were the ones who narrowed their focus on their core competencies and eliminated the fluff. That’s the most consistent theme of the year for me. In times of crisis, hone in on your strengths, double down on your best customers, and focus on solving their challenges in your own unique way.” – Rob
9. Sell Online (or get left in the dust)
“An ecommerce platform is quickly becoming a must for most businesses. By offering an online shopping option, you’re not only driving more revenue through your site, you’re demonstrating your professionalism and care for your customers. Make it easy for people to buy from you, because even though they may not be able to visit your bricks, they can drive your clicks.” – Carly
10. Lean Into Your Story
“Stories are more powerful than ever. They help us relate to each other, make sense of the world around us, and create order out of chaos. 2020 has forced us to grapple with unsettling questions of inclusion, diversity, and our own mortality. By owning and sharing your story, you’re inviting those with whom it resonates to engage with your brand on a more relational, less transactional level.” – Nate
This year has taught us that even though you can’t predict the future, you can certainly plan for it. If you’re ready to adopt a proven methodology to crush your business goals in the New Year, learn more about Intrigue’s Marketing Action Plan®, and book your MAP® consultation today.
What are your biggest takeaways — business or otherwise — from 2020? Let us know in the comments below!