BusinessDay

Surviving 2022

As I was taking a walk on a bumpy un-tarred road, one early morning, I heard footsteps catching up with me. I looked back and noticed a young boy in his primary school uniform. His legs were young and short, unlike mine—longer and stronger, yet his strides were quick to catch up for me. Before I knew it, we were in an unplanned walk race competition. I extended my steps to keep ahead of him but his quickness was just too much for he got ahead after noticing I was also trying to stay ahead. The only time I got ahead was when his concentration was broken by the activities of others around, or by the various plastic bottles he had turned into a football. This was the only reason we eventually got to the bus stop at the same time, if not he would have won.

If we look at this from a brand perspective, we can learn a lot. We both have different strengths and weaknesses but similar obstacles and challenges. What similar obstacles affect brands as they take on the challenges that 2022 will throw at them? Of course, the first will be the distraction the young boy faced which made him lose concentration or market share in the case of a brand.

“Distractions are inevitable, so you need a plan for all the common forms they take,” says John Rampton, an entrepreneur leadership network VIP. What distractions can a brand face? He answers Workplace distraction. “Whether you’re working from home, your favorite coffee shop, or in a bustling office, distractions have become a familiar fixture of the modern workplace. … Considering that we get interrupted every 11 minutes and it takes 25 minutes for our brains to refocus on the original task, workplace distractions should be avoided as much as possible”.

According to a survey by Udemy, workplace distractions negatively impact performance, productivity, and potential. … to compensate …, people work faster, of which a UC Irvine study shows that this increases stress and frustration, and, a brief interruption doubles an employee’s error rate. In short, constant distractions don’t just affect the bottom line, they can also be detrimental to an individual’s health. Office distractions include Smart Phones, Emails, People Interruptions, Clutter, Multi-tasking, Co-workers, Micro-Management, Needlessly Strict Policies, Meetings, Decision fatigue.

When Setting Goals, “Use direction to get rid of distraction,” says David Villa, a best-selling author, speaker, trainer, and CEO of IPD. He mentioned ‘The Downward Spiral’: Whenever you achieve success, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and remain satisfied with what you’ve already attained. You may think that you’re standing still, but the truth is that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. When you become set in your ways, it becomes easy to give in to the different distractions … (This) occurs in the following stages:

i. Distractions cause you to deviate from your purpose or call to lead.

ii. You misinterpret adversity, thinking that it is the enemy. In truth, distractions are the enemy.

iii. You become completely self-absorbed, losing sight of your call.

iv. The pursuit of pleasure becomes your main purpose, leading to a lack of fulfillment.

v. Emptiness and weariness set in as your original resolve decays. You have completely lost your direction at this point and distractions appear everywhere you look.

He also mentioned The 70-25-5 Principle: “When you lose focus, it’s easy to blame obstacles for not attaining your goal. However, it’s complacency that is at fault. The best way to avoid becoming complacent is to challenge yourself with the 70-25-5 principle, which refers to how you spend your daily time and effort. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; …. you need to devote the majority of your time to your strengths”. (It) works like this:

i. Dedicate 70% of your time working in areas where you’re strongest.

ii. Give 25% of your time to work on things you want to improve.

iii. Spend 5% of your time working on areas of weakness.

When dedicating 70% of your time, … you’re likely to make progress toward your daily goals. Focusing 25% of your time … will ensure you do not remain stagnant. Finally, if you spend 5% of your time …, you will become very well-rounded, giving you more clarity with any challenges you may face. For individuals, Deep Patel, a serial entrepreneur, says: ‘Put yourself in distraction-free mode, Set three main objectives every day, Give yourself a shorter time frame, Monitor your mind wandering, Train your brain by making a game out of it, Take on more challenging work, Break the cycle of stress and distraction. The most productive people in the world get one thing done at a time.’

Another challenge is taking your business online (successfully): “Online is booming by the day and it recently witnessed a surge due to the pandemic-induced environment. … experts say that the demand for an e-commerce business is here to stay even when the pandemic ends”, says an online article titled What Is the Biggest Challenge for Most Businesses When Going Online. (It) does come with lots of challenges. … make sure you have all the arrangements for fighting the challenges (or obstacles.)”

This includes:

i. Provide enriched customer experiences so that you can retain them. …The flow of the website, the content, the usage of the right colors, the segmentation, and the retail personalization of products based on a customer’s preferences and past transactions are extremely crucial for you to succeed.

ii. Hire a website (designer) that would help create a crisp and attractive website. … Make it as user-friendly as possible. This leads to high customer satisfaction … The functionality of your website should be paid attention to.

What Should You Never Do When Building A Website?

i. Inadequate product images: Images are a vital part of attracting onlookers. If you want your customers to click on the product and make the purchase, ensure you insert … images. Since customers cannot touch or feel the product, images play a huge role.

ii. Insufficient product descriptions: … Every product should have a detailed description. You must cover all the selling points so that the customers are convinced. Additional using tips, bonus tips, ingredients of the product, or any extra techniques will obviously grab their attention.

iii. Complex Checkout Process: It is a huge turnoff! …, it is very obvious that you need to keep the checkout process as simple as possible. The payment procedures must be 100% safe and secure for the customers. The checkout process should be done within a few clicks. If they do not want to create an account on your website, you must provide them a “checkout as guest” option as well.

iv. Desktop Only Site Design: The more responsive your website is, the better it is for you. In today’s world, when everything is done with the help of a mobile, you need to create a mobile-friendly website. Transactions are happening through mobile phones and tablets on a regular basis. Website compatibility is something you must not ignore.

Follow These Tips:

i. … It should have good search capabilities. Now that you know it all, here are a few tips to consider while planning a website for your digital business. It is very important to choose the right partner for fixing your eCommerce challenges.

ii. Site objectives: …, make sure you understand the objectives of your site. Ask as many questions as possible to yourself before you plan the design with your chosen partner. You also need to understand your target audience and what they are looking for.

iii. Search engine optimization: Search engine optimization is a service that you must hire so that your site gets visible.

iv. Site maintenance: Hire a team that will keep on adding features to your site. The developer would ensure that your site gets updated with time. Always remember that first impressions are everything but consistency is also very important.

v. Site maps and wireframes: The information on each page should be easy to understand. Moreover, you need to keep your users’ journey in mind while planning the site.

vi. While many might not think of this in the very beginning, keep in mind that one of the biggest challenges is security breaches. Take the necessary actions for cyber and data security. You cannot be casual when it comes to protecting your customers’ information. Always backup your data as well. Security plugins are important to prevent them from getting hacked. Also, make sure that there is a way to track your online sales, etc.

The 2022 Marketing Challenge: John Lincoln, (a) digital marketing consultant said: ‘marketing in 2022 will feel like a whole new world. From a lack of third-party cookies to the evolution of social media advertising, marketers know they need to stay on top of the updates. Of course, new trends mean new challenges. Knowing the biggest marketing challenges will help you.

1. Proper Tracking Is a Noteworthy Marketing Challenge Heading into 2022: Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you measure your campaign’s success. This means you can optimize real-time and future campaigns for better performance.

Here’s how to overcome tracking difficulties in five steps:

i. Define your Key Performance Indicator(KPI).

ii. Get tools that measure those KPIs.

iii. Define who is in charge of tracking from the marketing department.

iv. Have this person communicate their findings with the team.

v. Marketing strategists can use this information to adjust campaigns as needed.

Recycle and repeat the five-step approach as many times as you need to get a good hold on tracking.

2. Which Network Should You Spend Money On? Many … say they have difficulty determining their budget for online advertising. Part of that comes from the plethora of platforms and networks available for brands to spend … on. To find out which of the many paid media platforms you should spend … on, analyze their impact. To do so, develop two things:

i. A system to test your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

ii. Campaigns to improve your CPA (and scale accordingly)

Factors like your budget and site performance will affect your decision on which networks to prioritize. You’ll also need to ensure your audience actually spends time on that platform to make it worth your while.

3. How Opt-In Rules, Privacy, and Data Sharing Pose Some of the Biggest Marketing Challenges: We’re entering a cookie-less world. Networks are growing stricter with rules around opt-ins, privacy, data sharing, and third-party cookies. Fortunately, most marketers aren’t concerned. Despite the fact that about 80% of marketers say getting rid of cookies will have a mild to major impact on advertising strategy, … 29% are confident in the effectiveness of other methods and 58% say those alternatives will be just as helpful in targeting. To help you transition to a cookie-less world, (check these:)

i. Prioritize first-party data by offering valuable resources in exchange for basic information.

ii. Pay attention to the news surrounding cookies and targeting (including server-side tagging through Google Tag Manager and conversion measurement application programming interfaces.)

iii. Consider the development of Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). This is a Google Ads privacy-first alternative to third-party cookies; my company’s research found that 58% of marketers believe FLoC will be more effective than cookie-based targeting.

Read also: Make 2022 your year of change

4. Creative Content and Branding Are Big Marketing Challenges: Creative content and branding help develop a recognizable voice. Consistency across all online platforms matters. Develop style and branding guidelines, and make sure creatives know they need to comply when creating brand assets. From brand colors to logo styles—from visual media to written specifications—lay it all out on the table. The earlier you define your creative content and branding guidelines, the sooner you can develop a strategy. Focus on a (these:)

i. Break down your audience and their journey at an elemental level.

ii. Make sure your marketing team is aware of content strategies and branding adjustments.

iii. Don’t be afraid to invest. …, over the next two years, 69% of marketers plan to increase their budgets.

As businesses continue to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), make sure your messaging is in sync with your actions as a brand.

5. Taking On Omnichannel Marketing In 2022: Through omnichannel marketing, your company can get a holistic view of how your ads are performing on the web. You can:

i. Use alternatives to third-party cookies to understand your audience. Then, use that data to create a clear picture of who you’re targeting across channels.

ii. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store looking to up your digital marketing game, consider increasing your tech integration for automated omnichannel marketing.

iii. Build your content strategy in a way that caters to many different channels.

iv. Always measure your omnichannel marketing results and adjust accordingly.

By defining the biggest marketing challenges for the year ahead, you’ll be poised for success. Most marketers (76.4% of them …) have a stronghold on a target cost per acquisition, and professionals are getting the hang of all those other marketing challenges, too.’

My edge over the young boy was the experience of being able to handle distractions. We thus arrived at the bus stop at the same time using our different strengths, it will be said that we both were successful. In the branding world, that would be a ‘niching’ effort. It is obvious our strengths are usually tailored to a particular niche. Finding your niche requires maturity, focus, insight, etc. If any of these are lacking, it is necessary to find experienced hands or consultants that can guide. In an era that cash is hard to come by, offering them a percentage stake in the business can be better. Weigh your options, watch your back for who is coming at you, and have a successful year.

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