Analysing digital marketing data on the tablet and a smartphone

Coming out of Covid, there will be lots of organisations targeting ambitious growth.  

For some, who have been forced to close or operate with the handbrake on having most of their team on furlough, this should seem relatively easy.  After all, demand will be big with individuals and businesses sitting on more cash than they’ve ever been.

For others, Covid has shifted the market and they are going to want to capitalize on that shift.  Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), summed up the speed of the change right now when she said: “It feels as though we have had five years of shift in consumer shopping habits condensed into five months.” You don’t have to be the size of John Lewis to benefit from the change though.  Over the past 12 months, we’ve worked closely with clients who have posted impressive growth. The most striking example I’ve seen is a 437.57% jump in online sales. 

This isn’t all about online retail though.  The lessons we’ve learned along with our clients concentrate on ambition, agility and accuracy.  We’ve spotted the opportunity, moved quickly to position ourselves and know whether we are succeeding or not by seeing the data on a day to day basis. 

Of course, demand will be great when everything opens up again but competition will be huge and people will be inundated with brands marketing their products and services to them.  It’ll be noisy out there so you need to be really smart to turn ambitious marketing spend into ambitious growth.  In the ever-changing, complex and uncertain world of rising consumer expectations and disruptive technology, brands need to move at the speed of culture.  The reality is, very few do.  Two years ago, I posed the question: “Is your marketing out of date?” in an edition of Mark Holt & Co’s ‘Great Ideas’ publication. The past year has only intensified the pace of change.

It doesn’t matter what size your business is or what market you operate in. If you are going to commit a big investment in your marketing this year (say over 5% of revenue) you need to know you are cutting through all the noise-making sales. 

In a world where some of the big brands are struggling, there is a great opportunity for smaller businesses to make their move.  Ask yourself the question: “Do I look like a market leader?” You might say it doesn’t matter but it does.  For example, if your website looks dated and you have poor reviews customers will go elsewhere.  Like it or not, we live in a world where people make snap judgements (yeah, I wish we’d slow down and make more considered decisions too).  Right now, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.  So looking the part with peer reviews is really important.

Did you know that the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021?  Also, 92% of marketers say that video content is an important part of their strategy, so how are you utilising video content? Again, you don’t need to be a big brand to make a big impression. Find a style that enhances your brand and go for it.  It is a tactic that can make you look bigger and compete with larger brands.  It’ll also feed into your digital PR plan and have benefits in terms of search engine optimisation.

If you really want to stand out, have you thought about giving yourself an extra dimension?  This is really relevant at a time when people are used to living in a virtual world. Immersive tech (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality) is really taking off in the marketplace and the big brands are using it for competitive advantage.  Bringing immersive tech into your marketing strategy isn’t as expensive as you might think.  For example, we’re working closely with our client Inside Out Living (who themselves are targeting 100% growth for the third year in a row) on bringing their furniture to life using 3D modelling. Sure, it makes them look like one of the bigger players in the market but it also has a big impact on both the top and bottom line.  People who view 3D models are more likely to buy and less likely to return items – win, win!

We can’t talk about ambitious growth without talking about making yourself attractive to potential investors.  It isn’t all about making the numbers look great (our friends at Mark Holt & Co can take care of that for you) because private equity firms and venture capitalists will be getting great numbers and business plans sent to them all of the time.  Getting a compelling pitch deck together should be a real team effort between your top team, accountants, business advisors and marketers.

We’re currently working with a couple of clients to attract investment in their high potential businesses.  In fact, one of them is a new product that we’ve brought to life using virtual reality to enable investors to feel what they could be part of.  

There you go, my first boss said to me: “Look great, feel great, achieve great!” Never truer than today I reckon.

This content was written for Mark Holt & Co accountants as part of their Business Success campaign to help companies emerge from the pandemic.