In this competitive digital age, adapting to change has become as crucial to marketing as the strategies you employ. This article discusses different kinds of marketing pivots that can help your business grow.
It’s become a cliché because it’s true that change is the only constant thing. It’s true in marketing as it is with everything else. And to continually aim for business growth, pivot marketing can help you adapt to those changes.
What is pivot marketing?
Pivot marketing is, quite simply, shifting your marketing approach and adapting it to changes. This could be a change in business needs, market demand, consumer behavior, technological development—and virtually anything that necessitates a pivot in your strategies.
4 Marketing Pivots to Help Grow Your Business
1. Invest more in marketing
In this extremely competitive age where businesses have the ability to tap into audiences that simply wasn’t possible before, marketing has become a crucial ingredient for success. And if you’re a small to medium-sized business, chances are, you’re underinvesting in your marketing.
But with everything that goes into running a business, and despite the available analytics in digital marketing, it’s still tough to come up with a tangible number for marketing’s ROI. But as Forbes suggests, if you factor in the lifetime value of customers brought in by marketing (and as long as the business is profitable), around 8-12% of gross sales would be a wise investment into marketing.
For example, if you find that among that your pay-per-click ads are yielding high returns, then it would be sound to double down on that channel. If you have a good understanding of where your target is, then you can send the marketing spend in that direction.
As long as you put those dollars in solid marketing strategies, the customers you acquire with the investment will allow you to keep investing in scaling efforts, ultimately growing your business.
2. Analyze and rethink your marketing mix
Speaking of marketing strategies, it’s easy to get stuck on what has traditionally worked. This is why it’s crucial to regularly look at the data and analyze how each of the channels in your marketing mix is performing. Is Facebook advertising still justifying your investment? Would paid search be worthy alternative?
It’s also good practice to look at emerging trends. This would allow you to get a leg up on the competition, and not just compete in what everyone else is doing. For example, while a traditional content management system (CMS) might still be serviceable for both your business and your customers, what kind of impact would a headless CMS have on your customer experience?
Similarly, you should make it standard practice to regularly reassess your business goals. You may find that what you set a year ago may now be akin to selling yourself short. For example, if you previously aimed for X amount of downloads for your app per quarter, what about pivoting to progressive web apps?
Trying to stay innovative will always be a positive for your business. You don’t always have to push the boundaries, but you can always explore the possibilities.
3. Pivot to customer-centricity
With a continually growing number of devices and platforms where customers get their information and consume content, they’ve become, more than ever, in control of their customer journey. These multiple touchpoints mean that they constantly interact with businesses. It also means that these interactions have become increasingly valuable, both to businesses and to customers.
Customers now place greater emphasis on the experiences they get from brands. Studies have shown that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Customer experience has become so important that by 2020, it is expected that it will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
How much more are they willing to pay better experiences, you might ask? A study found the following:
If you find that your company is still product-focused, pivoting to customer-centricity starts with a shift in mindset. When you look at your marketing stack, for example, instead of placing value on its functions, think of what it does for the customer as they go along their journey.
Just take a look at Cisco’s tech stack where the customer is at the center of it all:
Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll have 39 marketing technology solutions, but you can glean how they’re focusing on the journey as: “I’m aware,” “I shop and buy,” “I install and I use,” and “I renew” – with each martech solution identified by the stage in which it operates in.
Customer-centricity is the new name of the game, if you aren’t in on it yet, there’s no better time to start than now.
4. Develop a content strategy
Again, with the customer journey taking consumers across different platforms and multiple devices, you need to rethink your current content strategy. Here are some things you can try:
- Start repurposing your content so you can publish it on as may channels as possible. For example, the infographic you have on your blog can be turned into an animated series of stories on Instagram. It can also be the focal point of an influencer-produced YouTube video, or a tweet designed to take users to a specific landing page.
- Or you could go the other route which is to stop spreading small pieces of content across different platforms, and focus instead on posting more in-depth content on one platform. Of course, you could still practice the above, but maintain a focus on, for example, explainer videos.
What’s important here is understanding where your audience is, what type of content they consume, and how they like to consume it. Once you nail that down, you can starting ramping up the creativity and focus on producing great content.
When to Implement Pivot Marketing
- Algorithm updates
In 2017, Facebook’s algorithm changes led to a 50% decline in organic reach in the first quarter alone. This led to marketers scrambling to adjust to the new realities of social media marketing. So while algorithm updates won’t always be as ground shaking as that one, you still need to keep you finger on the pulse of these small tweaks. This will allow you to be agile, when the changes do come.
- Onboarding influencers
First off, it’s always important that you assess which influencers are right for your brand off the bat, and not just get blown away by their following. But even when you work with influencers whose values are aligned with the brand’s, there are some instances when you need to pivot away from the partnership.
For example, if you’re a locally-based service and an influencer moves to a different area where it’s no longer applicable to promote your brand. It could be aging, marriage, a change in philosophy – whatever it may be, these types of changes will require you to pivot, either to improve alignment or end the partnership.
- Website redesign
When it comes to website redesign, and not just about changing the look and feel. Sometimes, it’s also about a change in strategies like branding, SEO, or optimizing for mobile. Just make sure you consider all aspects that will be affected by the redesign before implementing it. You don’t want to cause confusion among your customers.
- When you’re relying on old school practices
This is probably the most obvious sign for a marketing pivot. For example, while print ads may have worked for you in decades past, it’s unlikely that it still deserves whatever spend you’re putting on it in 2019. Instead of a focused email campaign, how would a pivot to push notifications impact your business?
Again, this requires keeping abreast with the trends both in technological developments and consumer behavior. It may be hard to let go sometimes, but it’ll inevitably be better for business.
Embracing a pivot marketing mindset allows you to be agile—an integral part of doing business in 2019. As technology, platforms, and consumer behavior change, you’re going to want to be able to adapt wherever the winds may blow. Make sure you have the proper infrastructure in place to do so, starting with your mindset.
What’s the most drastic pivot you’ve had to do? Let us know in the comments below.