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2022 Planning—Looking Ahead with Confidence

The past year and half have kept mar­keters and com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sion­als on their toes. We’ve used or heard the “piv­ot” word ad nau­se­am. From our van­tage point, we’ve been impressed at the ways our clients and peers have adapt­ed, and seem­ing­ly not missed a beat in reach­ing and engag­ing their audi­ences, even using new chan­nels or avenues to do so.

But while the pan­dem­ic drags on, we’ve been sens­ing the col­lec­tive feel­ing that ever shift­ing or open-end­ed plans are no longer com­fort­able or real­is­tic. We’ve estab­lished some “new nor­mals” and we’ve worn some paths that have now become famil­iar. We’re ready for some strate­giz­ing that will help us look more than a few steps ahead.

Most Decem­bers, the Bell­mont Part­ners team ded­i­cates a day to get off site, putting our­selves phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly in a new cre­ative space to do some big pic­ture, blue-sky plan­ning. Some of our best agency or client ideas have result­ed from these off­sites and serve us for years to come. This looked dif­fer­ent going into 2020, as our team wasn’t gath­er­ing in per­son and in many ways, we were still tak­ing life month by month or even week by week. This year, we’re re-com­mit­ting to big pic­ture, long-term plan­ning, whether in per­son or vir­tu­al­ly and encour­ag­ing clients to do the same as we head into the fourth quar­ter of 2021.

The fol­low­ing are some ques­tions that can guide these dis­cus­sions as you look to define your mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy for 2022:

  • Your val­ue: The world doesn’t look like it did in 2019, so how has this affect­ed your posi­tion­ing? Have cer­tain prod­ucts or ser­vices risen above the rest as more rel­e­vant? What’s your unique val­ue to your stake­hold­ers in light of what indi­vid­u­als and busi­ness­es need and want today? Is it time to refresh any mes­sag­ing or branding?
  • Your tar­get mar­ket: Do cer­tain cat­e­gories of prospects now seem more viable? Have you had an increase in busi­ness with­in any indus­tries or demo­graph­ics? It will like­ly be worth eval­u­at­ing your cus­tomer base and see­ing if there are groups you could dou­ble down on reach­ing or engaging.
  • Your com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy: You’ve like­ly (for­give us) piv­ot­ed some tac­tics in the past year and half. What’s work­ing? What isn’t? What needs a per­ma­nent place in your bud­get mix? As the world has become more vir­tu­al, we’ve seen clients real­lo­cate in-per­son events or trav­el bud­gets towards webi­na­rs, dig­i­tal con­tent mar­ket­ing, media rela­tions and more.
  • The media you’re engag­ing with: The media land­scape has changed over the past year and a half as well…Have you done your home­work and kept your pulse on what your tar­get media is writ­ing about and inter­est­ed in these days, kept your con­tact lists updat­ed, asked how you can sup­port their edi­to­r­i­al needs (reviewed edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dars) and revised your pitch­ing strat­e­gy accord­ing­ly? Plan­ning sea­son is a great time for that.
  • The sto­ries you have to tell: On a sim­i­lar note, what sto­ries are yet to be told from your com­pa­ny? Con­sid­er what van­tage points you can be lead­ing from – the cus­tomer, data or trends from with­in your com­pa­ny, var­i­ous depart­ments or sub­ject mat­ter experts? Think about what sto­ries rise to the top and how you can cre­ate an inte­grat­ed plan to tell these on mul­ti­ple plat­forms – through earned, owned or paid media.
  • Your team: Per­haps you’ve added or lost head­count, scaled up or down your bud­get and it’s time to reassess roles – who is doing what and how an agency could fit in. In ear­ly 2021, we shared some tips for how to make some of those deci­sions, includ­ing how agency rela­tion­ships can be flu­id and use­ful to fit your needs.

Wher­ev­er you’re at with your plan­ning, we’d be hap­py to help and can bring a need­ed strate­gic lens or 3rd par­ty per­spec­tive to ask the ques­tions that will set you strong path for 2022. Even with uncer­tain­ty lin­ger­ing in some aspects of life, we’re excit­ed to help our clients and col­leagues feel some pride in cre­at­ing longer term, strate­gic plans that can offer sta­bil­i­ty, ener­gy and excite­ment in the year ahead.

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