It’s 2022, and I’m reading lots of social media posts about approaching the year with some trepidation. It’s funny, I’m bucking that trend this year.
I genuinely feel like Yard are going to have one of the best years we’ve ever experienced. Perhaps that’s down to all the team planning we undertook in the last quarter of 2021.
Although this activity was already planned after investing in the dramatic growth of the Sales & Marketing team, we also conducted a State of Marketing Planning survey with YouGov late in 2021. The results were a shock, but not entirely, as we realised that Yard had, in previous years, fallen into some of the same traps as we know most of our clients do too.
Decisions driven by data
For instance, when we asked over 1,000 senior marketers how their company plans their marketing activity, 71% of those marketing decision makers said they were still taking an ad hoc, annual approach, while conversely only 17% always rely on data resources.
With all this in mind, we thought we’d share some of the planning approaches we’re taking in the year ahead. Crucially, we’ve set clear objectives and KPIs across our team, and we have rolled out the OKR platform ZOKRI in order to track the progress of these.
The OKR process exists to turn planning into executable tasks, and help teams perform together, and ZOKRI helps house this approach. We’ve found this has fuelled a real change in our approach and our results, to marketing activity, now run in a much more agile, scrum approach. We’ve created stakeholder tasks, we have two weekly check-ins (also known in the industry as retrospective check-ins), to see what has worked, is working, being blocked or even outright failures.
It’s utterly essential to us that we learn fast and decide whether to keep going on a task or stop if things just aren’t working. We’re taking this approach with our clients too, and the results are already speaking for themselves.
Finding your audience
Critically, this year, we really understand who we would love to talk to. Our marketing team have done some brilliant work creating personas, a content strategy and executing a content plan that understands our target audience. As an agency providing digital marketing, we deliver multiple services to the brands we work with. All of those brand stakeholders have tailored requirements.
It’s a complex process – different companies have different objectives, stakeholders with differing requirements and approaches. A one size approach certainly does not fit all. On top of all that, trust must be gained. So, do you know your customer? Understand their requirements? Are you showcasing your ability to address your prospect’s pain points? If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re a long way down the road to starting to develop good relationships.
Another big shift for us is the approach to managing content and communication across different digital marketing channels. Different channels require different communication styles, but it’s more complex than that. Tracking across multiple channels is important, because we’re able to understand the channel mix and attribute channel communication. This allows us to focus our communication efforts at the right point to be useful to our prospects and customers, targeting them at the right time and in the right place.
Despite the ever-fluctuating restrictions, and the potential confusion of those parameters when our organisation operates across the UK, it has never been easier for our prospects and customers to reach us. Our commercial team has grown hugely during 2021, and we also want to make ourselves useful to our communities.
As soon as it’s the right time, we’ll get back to hosting our intimate events. We absolutely loved local digital marketing community gathering in our offices – whether to discuss plans, digital marketing challenges or to listen to some of the great speakers we’ve had lined up. We found these interactions invaluable. It’s such an engaging but powerfully simple way to give back to the digital community. Watch this space, we have much planned this year.
It would be remis of us to not bring it back to targets. When building a budget for the coming year, it is essential that the right data is used. Over the years I’ve seen many a ‘fairy story’ budget built because gut-feel and ambition is used to decide what the upcoming year may deliver.
That has only ever led to disappointment, with a (un)healthy smattering of surprise along the way. In 2021, Yard were shortlisted for 14 awards, and won 5 of those, all for best use of data and best ROI. Our team are consistently excellent at forecasting budgets and targets.
I want to wish you all much happiness and success during 2022. We’d love to be a part of that, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.