It’s like Labor Day was just last week. Yet, we now find ourselves standing in the doorway of Q4. Before you know it the holidays will be here and most of our marketing efforts will feel a little unproductive and possibly even a bit futile. There may even be a notion that you should quiet your B2B marketing efforts during this time and save some cash.
Depending on your market there may be some virtue in that thinking. However, there are more than a few things you can do to optimize your opportunities in Q1. Here are few ideas for keeping your presence known and avoiding that tendency to be just sitting, waiting, and wishing.
Just in case this one is not obvious. I’ve included it. I don’t think we need to go into detail about what planning is, so I won’t.
ASSESS AND REASSESS
As a precursor to planning, taking an inventory of the past nine ot ten months can be extraordinarily helpful. And, equally remarkable in how many people don’t do it. An honest look in the mirror can give you an insight into what tactics have produced the most valuable return and what campaigns and assets have just completely sucked wind.
Two items that can be of particular value but are often overlooked are an assessment of your marketing tools/tech and a good glance around your industry landscape. We’ll start with the later.
Looking at your competitive landscape is like checking your mirrors while driving. If you don’t know what’s around you, it can be very difficult to make moves that don’t cause a little disaster. Ask yourself who has joined the market and what are they doing that you should be aware of? Are there some small players out there that have had a big win this year? What about that market leader, are they still leading or has the shine come off a bit?
Tooling can be an incredibly valuable area to look into at this time. Especially if you are knee-deep in budgeting exercises. The tools you use for your marketing are just as important as those you use to provide direct value to your customers. Marketing tech like any other tech is constantly changing so it is paramount to keep a keen eye on what your teams are using and how effective they are. Marketing automation, AI, and personalization are areas you should be paying attention to. These alone have the ability to significantly impact costs and revenue if they are deployed correctly.
With so many distractions ahead it can be both easy and effective to provide low-engagement opportunities for your customers. Using these tactics you can build an audience that you can continue a conversation with well into the new year? Take a look at your social and email audience. Is it growing or stagnant? If it’s growing, great! Keep up those efforts and add to them. If they are a bit anemic, this may be a good time to really feed the beast.
Another kind of obvious one here but audience building usually includes some sort of content play. If you rely on content as part of your marketing strategy, the holiday season is a great time to settle in with a creamy nog or a warm brandy and start building your library. Here’s some support for an effective writing technique, in case you need it.
EXPERIMENT & INNOVATE
Fourth-quarter can be a perfect time to test and experiment. While some of the sample sizes may be a bit smaller, there is a reduced risk if you’re looking for a good time to try something new. This is a great time to go off-script to see if new tactics and messages will prod attention and provoke action.
Also, there is a remarkable opportunity to innovate in Q4. Armed with a renewed understanding of your industry landscape, you may just have a chance to get a jump on your competition.
If you’re the type to buy when the market dips, you know that investing when things are quiet can be an effective strategy. Simple, clear and well-targeted awareness campaigns can keep your brand top of mind through these next few months so your customers will be ready for your call when we all saunter back to work in January.
The unfortunate reality is that if you don’t already have a Q4 marketing campaign in-market by Labor Day, chances are you won’t be able to fully capitalize on the small window of opportunity before your customers’ attention is gobbled up by the holidays. However, if you’re still game, so are we. Give us a call. We are all about a good 4th quarter push.