Maria Hamilton, account director at Custard, suggests going back to basics to help you form an effective marketing strategy in 2022.
There is no denying that the marketing landscape has shifted so dramatically over the past two years that we can no longer simply compare behaviours to previous years or seasons. Recognising significant developments to the economic landscape as well as to your hotel’s market, it is crucial to review your marketing strategies to prepare your brand to reengage with your audience.
There are many benefits to undertaking a thorough review of your marketing activities – working through current objectives, activities, competitors, audiences and KPIs to get a greater understanding of your brand and how to best market it. You wouldn’t go years without servicing your car or auditing your accounts – marketing shouldn’t be treated any differently.
When it comes to marketing, it’s easy to assume that being loud and busy wins. You’ve put in place your marketing strategy, and continue to shout about your products, services and offers to your identified audience. But is it working? Are your messages still relevant and are you using the correct channels?
The rapidly evolving digital landscape is exciting, immediate and constant. It is easy to get wrapped up in the latest trends or technologies, risking losing sight of the core aim – to reach, connect and engage with our customers. Before figuring out where you want to go with your marketing strategy and what you want to accomplish, reflect on where you are now. Highlight what is and isn’t working, identifying strengths and weaknesses within your approach. Going back to basics is key.
Ask the following questions:
- Are your current objectives still relevant?
- What activities are you doing on a regular basis and are they still hitting those objectives?
- What is happening in the wider market – and are you keeping up with shifts in consumer behaviour?
- Are the channels you are using still relevant to your audience?
- What are your competitors doing and how are they communicating with your shared audience?
Stripping down your approach in this way enables you to see how you can move your brand forward in the current market, making you more agile as a brand. It is easy to rely on patterns we are comfortable and familiar with, such as customer spending at Christmas for example, but with the changing landscape it is crucial to look at your data in context to really understand how audiences are responding. It also supports the development of a marketing and communications budget that works as hard as possible as it is based on a true picture of the current situation.
Be Bolder and Braver
There’s not just one, but many new normals. Taking a step back to really understand your customers and how they are navigating this new world we live in is crucial, and ultimately will allow you to be bolder and braver with your approach.
The art of listening
Get to know your customer. It seems simple, but it is a crucial part of running any business and is often lost to generalisation. Taking a step back to understand your audience is key. Monitor spending habits, engagement and online activity and build up data on each of your customer segments. Utilise the data to build customer niches – you might find that a niche group of customers is more lucrative to your brand, even if it is not immediately a group you would have identified as a core audience.
Take a softer approach
No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Take a softer approach and let your customers lead you rather than you try to lead them. Being aware of engagement levels and reviewing your strategy on a regular basis will allow you to find the sweet spot of promoting your services without the hard sell.
Customer retention increases value and boosts revenue – and helps build relationships with customers. Loyalty is all about trust and building valuable, lasting relationships. Be braver with your strategy and engage or reward customers before they’ve even asked for it. Don’t just reward your biggest spenders – put some focus on your younger customers; they have a whole lifetime to spend with your brand.