This mindset, of course, applies to the world at large, where we faced some substantial hurdles in 2020 (to say the least). And it also applies to the business world, which faced its own big challenges in 2020, in many cases even requiring an entirely new approach to and rethinking of the way brands conduct their business.
With these opportunities for refreshment and renewal in mind, we at TBA Outdoors would like to offer our thoughts on some of the top ways outdoor brands can make their marketing efforts more effective in these sometimes-trying times. If you’d like to seize the opportunity to make 2021 a brighter year for your outdoor brand, consider these seven tried-and-true tactics for making your marketing efforts more successful:
1. Assess your brand strategy, and reposition as needed —
A new year offers a great opportunity to step back from the day-to-day intricacies that all too often seem to absorb the bulk of our business attention and, instead, take some time to purposefully contemplate the big picture for your brand. After all, a brand’s direction, goals and vision can change over time, especially after a challenge-filled year like 2020. Are your brand’s long-established mission and strategy still charting the best course to long-term success?
Of course, honest self-evaluation can sometimes be a tall order, as it’s inherently tough to judge endeavors with which we’re intricately involved on a personal level — which is why leveraging professional guidance from an outsider’s perspective can be a big help. At TBA Outdoors, we’re one of only 24 certified Brand Strategist agencies in the nation, putting us in an especially strong position to help outdoor brands evaluate their current strategies and positioning, as well as chart a successful path forward. And our team of outdoors-obsessed professionals is ready to put our research-based insights and expertise to work for you.
2. Perform extensive customer research —
Just as having a keen awareness of current conditions can give hunters and fishermen a leg up out in the field and on the waters, having research-based insights about your outdoor brand’s target market, what drives your customers’ purchasing decisions, and where they spend their time and money can be of immense help in boosting the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. And because all of these things can be a moving target, it’s vitally important to re-evaluate and reassess regularly.
To ensure that you truly know your brand’s consumers in 2021, take the time employ tools like conjoint analysis, product/service viability testing, audience analysis and focus groups, all of which can go a long way toward keeping your marketing efforts on target.
3. Practice full-funnel marketing —
Maximizing the success of your outdoor brand’s marketing efforts involves a lot of variables — not only is it vital to deliver the right messages to the right group of consumers, but delivering these communications at the right time is critical to moving these prospects closer to conversion. Offering one case in point, hunters are much less likely to purchase new gear as their hunting season of choice is winding down, as opposed to when they’re gearing up for opening day. And fishermen, while perhaps dreaming about which new waders they’ll choose when the weather warms up, aren’t super likely to hit the “Buy Now” button in the depths of winter — making this a much better time for ads promoting brand awareness rather than ones than urging conversion.
But with extensive research and a well-thought-out strategy on your side, your brand can target high-probability consumers at just the right spot on the path to purchase for the message you’re sending. With this in mind, at TBA Outdoors, we employ the Paid Media Path-to-Conversion Funnel to guide our clients’ messaging strategies. In doing so, we carefully consider which tactics are likely to have the strongest influences on the targeted consumer group at any given time — thereby purposefully leading them from the Awareness Stage to the Consideration Stage and, finally, to the Conversion Stage. From there, we optimize our advertising settings on a daily basis to ensure maximum effectiveness.
4. Be your own best media company —
It’s a fact of life in a modern business world loaded with ways for brands to communicate directly with their consumers: Few are more qualified to speak for your brand than your brand itself is. And for marketing-savvy companies, this presents a big opportunity to drive just the narrative you’re seeking with just the people you need to deliver it to.
In 2021, resolve to make more efforts to harness all of your brand’s owned media platforms to the fullest, including your website, your social media accounts, your blog and your press releases. (And if you don’t have all of these in place already, resolve not to miss out on the opportunities they present.) It’ll take some serious thought and planning to leverage all of these effectively, but it’ll be worth it when you see the likes and followers pile up. Further, over time you’ll begin to reap the bottom-line benefits of keeping your customers regularly informed about company developments and in the loop on new offerings, all while fostering stronger consumer relationships.
5. Focus on DTC opportunities —
For brands looking to grow their revenues, selling directly to consumers makes sense in a long list of ways. The tactic, of course, is seeing a huge surge in popularity because it helps cut out the retail middleman, which can boost brand revenues by cutting down sales costs. On top of that, DTC sales can help brands broaden their target market via the internet, take more control of their brand messaging and image, reduce their reliance on retail partners, boost consumer engagement and build upon their database of consumer information.
If your brand isn’t already actively engaging in DTC sales, consider making moves in that direction in 2021 by setting up (or optimizing) a company website and e-store. Then, take steps that will ramp up your online sales, such as instituting a PPC marketing plan, building custom landing pages, instituting SEO efforts, stepping up your email marketing efforts, and ensuring a positive online user experience for your customers.
6. Up your game on social media —
The brands that find the most consistent success on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like don’t do so by accident. Building a strong following on social media takes time and effort, and once a following is established, using it effectively requires a well-thought-out and deliberate strategy.
In the year ahead, rather than just posting on social media when the mood strikes or only when big, newsworthy events come along, take steps to plan regular posts and to use them to deliver value to your followers. We recommend creating content calendars in advance so that you’ll have a pool of carefully compiled post ideas to pull from each week and month. And while creating your content calendar, strive to plan content and offerings that will boost user engagement and build brand loyalty. (Note: Occasional contests are hard to beat when it comes to drawing attention to your brand.) Further, be sure to track your followers and where they came from so that you can better build on your successes.
7. Reward your customers and foster brand loyalty —
It’s a well-known stat in marketing circles that it costs five times as much to recruit a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. And when it comes to ensuring that existing customers happy and engaged — and maybe even reach the holy grail of marketing, brand ambassadorship — the reward program has proven a highly successful tool of the trade. To make them even more attractive as a marketing tool, not only do these programs encourage repeat purchases, they help brands collect valuable information about their best customers and their purchasing habits, in addition to offering brands opportunities to regularly engage with these customers and boost their brand loyalty.
If you don’t already have one, make 2021 the year you implement a loyalty program that rewards your best customers for bringing their business to you and keeps them coming back.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from the guidance of a team of highly experienced marketing professionals? At TBA Outdoors, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover all aspects of marketing — including brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple web-store analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.