Category: Marketing Strategy


Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021, According to 21…

Marketers are community-minded people. We collaborate across multiple departments in our own companies, while keeping track of competitive players and ensuring we’re deeply connected to the needs and goals of our customers.

So, to better understand what to expect or pay close attention to in 2021, I’ve connected with 20 marketing experts for their perspective.

While there is significant diversity of ideas and visions presented below, I love the common theme of how we’re working toward a better future together, which is why my prediction is this: Marketing in 2021 will be more empathetic than ever.

I continue to believe in my mantra that marketing is powerful and must be used for good, not evil. That might sound overly simplistic, but I do believe it’s paramount that marketers understand their influence and what a wonderful positive power it can be.

We are humans, serving humans. Whether B2B or B2C, customers are looking for brands they can trust to meet their needs and make their lives easier or more delightful. If we treat each person with loving kindness and respect, we’ll be making the positive impact I know we can while building a stronger, more loyal base.

Here’s what else 2021 has in store based on the predictions of this fabulous group of marketing leaders.

Virtual Events

1. Marketers will plan asynchronous events that plug into the funnel.

Latané Conant, Chief Market Officer at 6sense, predicts: “This year saw an explosion of virtual events as marketers adapted to a changing world. While I suspect a lot of us are feeling some virtual burnout right now, there will still be a place for these kinds of events, even after we resume in-person ones. Imagine a virtual event running 24/7.”

“Your prospects get triggered into the event as they proceed to the right steps in your funnel, and they engage with this event through multiple means, like Netflix meets Slack. There’s video content they watch on-demand, there’s a live stream playing on-site and there’s a community of users and fans who create a unique and engaging place to be. Prospects learn about your solutions and then, after watching videos and chatting with others, they get directed immediately to your product team. Now that sounds like a virtual event worth attending!”

2. Community marketing will replace event-based marketing.

Adam Masur, VP of Marketing at Credly, told me: “The era of anchoring marketing around a big, industry event is coming to a close. We’ve all seen the annual conference go virtual due to the impact of COVID-19. But I expect hosts to find that their audience’s appetite for the singular virtual gathering will wane, as well.”

“Look for more intimate, and more topical online get-togethers in 2021. Experts with verified digital credentials and a willingness to share will be highly valued virtual community leaders and influencers.”

“Companies should be ready to be active contributors and bring practical value to the conversation.” 

3. Businesses will find new ways to encourage online connections.

Kevin Alansky, Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Logic, says: “The virtual and digital-first world will continue in 2021 and possibly beyond. Many organizations have shifted their annual event and tradeshow to a virtual one. Many organizations have not succeeded, however, because they tried to replicate the experience on an outdated model. This has led to a flood in the number of virtual events and many people facing ‘Zoom fatigue.'”

“Organizations are now wondering how to fight this overcrowded market and stand out against the rest. The answer is online communities — how do you engage before, during, and after your event? We need to find ways to better engage our audiences and build meaningful connections between our organizations and our customers. We are seeing the demand for engagement already this year and this will continue to be a big trend through 2021.”

4. The interactivity that’s been promised for decades is now a necessity for 2021.

Jake Milstein, CMO at CI Security, told me: “When the pandemic hit, there was a huge spike in registrations and attendance in virtual events that attempted to mimic in-person events. Attendance at those events lasted a month or two and then dropped off quickly. People are looking for more human interactions — something out of the norm. Webinars just don’t do it anymore.”

“People are now interested in discussions and panels in which they can ask questions, they can be part of the action, they can offer their own expertise. That’s not something you could do when watching someone on-stage, but we all know it’s something you can do online. The interactivity that’s been promised for decades is now a necessity for 2021.” 

Brand Values

5. Customer-centricity will propel brands forward.

Natalie Severino, VP, Marketing at, predicts: “Throughout the many challenges of 2020, revenue teams have been able to weather the storms and thrive by putting the customer at the center of every decision. This is only made possible through total alignment between sales, marketing, and customer teams, as all must rely on using the actual voice, pain points, and goals to create a winning partnership.”

“While conventional methods of relationship building, like in-person meetings, may not be possible today (or simply don’t scale quickly enough), entering 2021 provides us a paradigm shift for bringing relationships and shared business goals to the forefront of every opportunity.”

6. Brands will navigate an increasingly polarized social and political climate.

“One of the biggest trends to watch in 2021 will be how brands navigate an increasingly polarized social and political climate. Presidential politics, the response to navigating the global pandemic, and an increasingly siloed media and social media landscape is forcing brands to make hard decisions about how and where they align with their customers.”

“Every ad dollar spent, every choice of channel and platform, every social post, every inch of shelf space, and every conference or trade show will be evaluated through the lens of what a brand’s marketing decisions say about who they are and what they stand for,” says Tim Linberg, Chief Experience Officer at Verndale.

Revenue and Budget

7. A/B Testing will become a waste of time and budget.

R. J. Talyor, CEO and Founder at Pattern89, says: “The next decade will see the end of A/B testing. Marketers have long relied on validating their intuition with A/B tests to guide creative advertising and marketing decisions — however, the rise of AI makes this not only obsolete, but wasteful.”

“Once machine learning predicts the trends before they happen and provides clear guidance for marketers, why waste money to A/B test something that wouldn’t work as well? Soon, marketers will be able to go all-in on what will work best without having to test the theory.” 

8. Digital marketing spend will continue to grow.

Bridget Perry, CMO at Contentful, predicts: “We’ve found a digital innovation gap between what customers demand and what brands are currently capable of delivering. That’s why digital leaders across industries tell us they plan to spend, on average, 25% more on digital in 2021. And 25% is just the average — some plan to spend significantly more. CMOs who aren’t scaling up their digital spending will soon be outpaced by competitors.” 

9. Tech spending levels will return to normal over 2021 — but not all categories will benefit.

“Some companies will remain remote, others will move to hybrid offices, and some will — eventually — go back to business as usual. In 2020 we saw user searches jump on TrustRadius for software categories like e-signature, collaboration, video conferencing, endpoint security, antivirus, and of course telemedicine. Those categories will stay strong in 2021 and beyond, reflecting the new workplace. Other categories — event management and facilities management, for example — will radically reinvent themselves,” says Russ Somers, VP Marketing, TrustRadius.

10. Content marketing will start with conversations.

“The content marketing playbook we’ve been using is at least two decades old. Marketers are still focusing on keyword-heavy blog posts as the main tactic to captivate their audience. But it’s a strategy made for Google, not for people.”

“Today, your audience wants to have an authentic experience with your brand and the best way to do that is by leading with conversations.”

“As marketers aim to create a more human-centric experience, we will see more content pulled from actual conversations with people in the industry who can provide that genuine interaction today’s consumers are looking for,” Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO of Casted, told me.

11. Many companies will decrease their marketing budgets.

Melissa Sargeant, CMO of Litmus, says: “In the coming year, marketers will experience budget cuts and even smaller teams. But, by doing this, companies are setting themselves up for failure. During an economic downturn, companies that pull back and starve marketing efforts, do not perform well. And, when our consumerism-driven environment re-engages, those brands will be further behind than they were when they made those budget-conscious decisions.”

“Ultimately, the pandemic has accelerated trends in business. Look at digital transformation and work from home initiatives, for example. But, if there were cracks within a business’s model beforehand, the pandemic brought those to light so now is the time for them to fix it, not bury it. Businesses have to position themselves the best they can now in order to come out even stronger in the end. And, it requires a mature, advanced multi-channel strategy with experienced marketers.”

Teams and Collaboration

12. In 2021, it’s all about people, people, people.

Caroline Tien-Spalding, CMO at Aptology, says: “Marketing’s north star will be evolving in 2021. Marketing has always been about understanding people and acting on that knowledge. A key difference in 2021 is that marketers are able to know more than ever. It’s the rise of the psychologist, and the rise of the digital marketer.” 

13. Many companies will implement a new Web Operations team.

Christy Marble, CMO at Pantheon Systems, predicts: “Marketers will require technology to enable real-time responsiveness to customer needs that span the customer lifecycle and each customer touchpoint. The events of 2020 taught us that we must demand the agility to transform on a moment’s notice to respond to customer needs. This forced an end to the era of lengthy multi-year brand and website re-builds.”

“In 2021 those will be figments of the past, replaced by cross-functional teams that collaborate through technology-enabled workflows to continuously test, learn, and evolve their digital customer experience. These WebOps teams will have a distinct advantage — especially those supported by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.”

“The pace of change has accelerated, but one thing will remain constant: Marketers who focus on people — on customer experience — will be the ones who will keep pace with change. Focus your team on improving personalization, advancing your customer journey, and creating a truly authentic web experience that meets your customers where they are.” 

Digital Transformation

14. Brands will unlock the key to orchestration.

Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO at LeadMD, told me: “Data should be on every marketer’s mind as we enter 2021, but not in the way it usually is. B2B marketers must realize they’re generally strong with orchestrating their own data, but weak with third-party data — which must be a top area of focus. They can’t afford to depend on marketing automation or CRM platforms for this, but will need to strongly consider creating their own system, something along the lines of a CDP. If they do that? They’ve unlocked the key to orchestration and success with data in 2021.”

15. The ‘panic pivot’ will turn into more purposeful reinvention.

 Laliv Hadar, VP Marketing, InVision Communications, says: “In 2020, out of pandemic-induced necessity, marketers have rapidly transformed face-to-face events into virtual ones, and developed innovative ways of connecting with audiences digitally. In 2021, this reactionary ‘panic pivot’ will turn to more purposeful reinvention of the ways we engage our core audiences. That reinvention will manifest in hybrid audience experiences that are wholly connected across the communications ecosystem. This integrated brand approach will be built on the premise that our audiences comprise real human beings, whose brand perceptions are shaped by their experiences, and now, more than ever, crave professional empathy and connection.”

Because while quarantines, social distancing and remote work will play a critical role in our eventual emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, they also have had a significant side effect: Disengagement. 2021 will see marketers tapping into the human need for just the opposite: engagement.”

16. Brands will capitalize on change.

John Graff, Chief Marketing Officer at Sonim, predicts: “I believe 2021 will be a year that will provide significant opportunities for companies to grow/expand market share. Why? Because many companies will fall into the trap that there will be a post-2020 ‘return to normal.’ Marketing has already been experiencing constant change and evolution the last decade, and just because many people are ready to get past COVID times, does not mean the change will stop. In fact, for best of breed, it very much will accelerate. Everything has been changed, whether it’s work-from-home, education, online retail, and more.”

“The best marketers will look to capitalize further on those changes in 2021, while others unfortunately revert to the old pre-COVID playbooks. It’s a great time for marketers to further embrace change, and be the stewards of helping their companies grow and gain share in 2021!”

17. Marketers will continue to incorporate real, true personalization.

“Marketing automation should not be confused with personalization. Oftentimes, it’s just quicker batching and blasting. When marketers use intent data and data-based insights to fuel their automated communications, they can create remarkable brand experiences sophisticated consumers rely upon. In the year ahead, marketers will better incorporate real, true personalization.” says Nick Runyon, CMO of PFL.

18. Marketers will rely on deep data insights and machine learning to deliver value to prospects.

Richard Jones, CMO of Cheetah Digital, predicts: “The next generation of personalization is not about cookies or third-party data, it’s not about merchandising, and it’s not about guesswork. The next generation of personalization is about relying on deep data insights, first and zero-party data and using machine learning to derive not only the right content, not only the right offer, not only the right channel but, the right sequence of events that leads to an automated path to conversion.”

“The next generation of personalization is about providing a value exchange for consumers in the ‘moment’ when you have them on your mobile app, on your site, in your store. How can you provide them something that will generate trust and affinity with the brand?”

19. Cross-channel integrations will continue to grow.

Meg Scales, CMO of SlickText, told me: “Incorporating multiple channels within campaigns is much more effective than simply putting all your resources into one channel — even a versatile channel like SMS. It’s why we’ll see channels and varying tactics continue to cross-integrate in the coming year.”

“For example, channels will adopt services like loyalty programs to better connect brands with customers through a variety of strategies within just one platform. Also, a customer interaction in one channel could trigger a personalized, automated sequence in another, creating data- and behavior-driven campaigns many are unable to produce currently due to a lack of time, money and expertise.”

20. We’ll see an acceleration with the digital-first shift.

Auseh Britt, VP, Growth Marketing at Terminus “We saw an acceleration in the shift to digital in 2020, mainly due to the gap left by live events. Substitutes like virtual conferences lacked the ability to really engage audiences, making them glorified webinars, exacerbating the ‘Zoom’ fatigue.”

“I see this trend continuing in 2021 as we look for more creative ways to engage customers and prospects through hyper-personalized outreach, high impact direct mail, intimate and interactive virtual experiences, and relevant educational content.”


Interesting Advertising Experiments HubSpot Tried in 2020 [+ Takeaways…

The other day, I was on a run and listening to my trusty Spotify playlist. Lo and behold, in between two of my favorite pump-up jams, I hear a HubSpot audio advertisement trickle through my headphones.

It’s not uncommon for me to see HubSpot ads on social media or Google, but Spotify was a new one.

This experience made me curious about what other kinds of advertisements our team at HubSpot had tested out this year. So I sat down with a few folks on our advertising and editorial teams.

Below, they share some interesting lessons and takeaways regarding the different platforms and audiences they tested in 2020.

Advertising Experiments HubSpot Tried in 2020

“While HubSpot has traditionally been relatively direct response-focused (with software signups being the main acquisition goal), one of the biggest takeaways from our advertising in 2020 actually revolves around driving awareness through brand advertising,” shared Rex Gelb, Director, Acquisition Analytics & Paid Advertising at HubSpot.

In early 2020, the team realized they were reaching diminishing returns on many of their existing ad channels, namely search and social ads, and saw it as an opportunity to branch out.

They spearheaded this effort based on the guiding principle that the HubSpot audience is comprised of people with different media habits.

“What works for one person might not work for everyone, so we were likely only reaching a small segment of them through [direct response ads],” said Jillian Hope, Senior Marketing Manager, Brand Advertising at HubSpot. “But in reality, our audience is listening to podcasts, they’re reading articles in the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal,they’re watching Hulu, they’re doing all these different activities throughout the day.”

So, by expanding where they showed HubSpot ads, the team hypothesized they could reach a much larger segment of their audience and make new consumers aware of HubSpot.

As I chatted with these experts, a few key platforms stood out.

1. Audio Advertising

“In 2020, we started doubling down on [podcasts]. It started as more of an awareness play, but we’ve invested in this really neat tool called Podsights,” said Jillian. Podsights is a podcast attribution tool through which the team measures when someone hears a podcast ad and returns to the site, and becomes a lead.

(Can I plug an audio file in COS?

The team has tested a few direct buys with specific podcasts, like NPR’s How I Built This and Masters of Scale. They’ve also done some national radio buys on NPR and a few Spotify Audio Everywhere ads (for those Spotify users who don’t pay for premium).

2. Hulu Advertising

“[In addition to podcast advertising,] we’re diversifying into new channels and also looking for opportunities to really measure and hone in on what’s working even from a direct response standpoint, including Hulu,” Jillian shared.

That’s right — this year, consumers turned on their TV to see some of HubSpot’s first advertisements on streaming channels. The team found that Hulu has high completion rates (about 99%) because the network’s ads are unskippable. “This made it a great tactic for testing out more creative messaging and executions because our audience was tuning into the full ad,” shared Alicia Collins, Copywriting & Brand Strategy at HubSpot.

Alicia worked on much of HubSpot’s 2020 brand advertising campaigns, including the Hulu push.

3. YouTube Advertising

Video as a whole gave the team more room to deliver value through education, entertainment, and inspiration, especially compared to a display or static social advertisement.

“Because YouTube is a Google-owned property,” Jillian said, “we had the ability to target people who are actively searching for content related to our products, so our ads are relevant to their work.”

In fact, Rex shared one of the most successful tests they ran: YouTube’s “affinity audiences,” Affinity audiences are audiences that Google’s algorithm identifies as likely to be interested in your product(s).

“While the algorithm is a bit of a black box, trusting their data ultimately paid off for us, generating some of the most cost-efficient, high-quality impressions and video views, which in turn yielded a great brand lift (as reported by surveys), and a measurable increase in incremental Google searches,” reported Rex.

So, what does developing this brand advertising campaign creative look like?

According to Alicia: “When you’re thinking about brand awareness advertising, you have to think about who you’re coming in contact with.”

Most people who interact with HubSpot’s brand awareness advertisements have never heard of HubSpot — versus those who see the typical direct response advertising. “There’s a reason why people are getting targeted with [direct response] ads; they’ve seen our content, they’ve been on our website, and they’ve interacted with our posts.”

The same can’t be said for this new brand advertising push. Alicia and her team are trying to reach a completely new audience, meaning they have to create clear, direct ads that communicate what HubSpot is and who it’s for.

“[We’re aiming for] eye-catching and engaging, so people are either enticed to click-through to learn more or simply stop and take a second look,” Alicia shared.

advertising experiments hubspot tried in 2020 sales hub enterprise brand awareness

Speaking of second looks, Alicia has learned just how different the brand advertising strategy can be. “[It’s a] bit different because, again, people don’t see one social ad and immediately remember your brand. It takes like seven or eight impressions for someone to start recalling.”

In her opinion, brand awareness work is unlike a lot of other bottom-of-the-funnel work. “It’s not that there’s only a science to it, but there’s also a bit of an art,” she shared. “It’s [all about] trying to find the right balance between solving for the data and the short-term results, and thinking about where you want to be in the long-term.”

She encourages those who want to invest in brand awareness plays to be patient. “It can take a long time to move [brand awareness] metrics; raising brand awareness can take years and millions of dollars,” said Alicia.

In her experience, people who want to invest in new channels and audiences tend to put their money in one place. But Alicia and her teammates have found that no one spends all their time on one channel.

advertising experiments hubspot tried in 2020 hubspot cms brand awareness

For example, you might prefer to start your day listening to a podcast, read a few articles during lunch, and watch your favorite Hulu show to unwind after work. However, your coworker might like to start their day watching cable news, scroll through social media during lunch, and travel to the gym (passing multiple billboards) after work. “You’re just getting multiple touch points throughout the day and sharing your stories in new, unique ways,” said Alicia.

Jillian agreed: “What works for some won’t work for all. If we limit channels, we risk not reaching a large segment of our audience.”

And the more channels on which consumers can see HubSpot, the more likely they are to remember and return.

Read more about developing your own cross-channel or omnichannel advertising strategy on the HubSpot Blog.


How to Develop a Niche Marketing Strategy that Drives…

As of March 2020, over 804,390 businesses in the U.S. were less than one year old. Combine that with the 31.7 million small businesses vying for customers, and the competition seems even more fierce. So how can you possibly create a marketing strategy that stands out? Diving into a specific niche is the way to set your business apart.

Let’s look at how a handful of businesses use niche marketing to their advantage, before walking through the steps to create your own growth-generating strategy.

5 Examples of a Niche Marketing Strategy

1. Flylow Gear

With 9.2 million skiers and snowboarders in the U.S, the pool of potential customers seems wide enough for all to share. But popular brands like Patagonia and The North Face can be found in almost every sports shop, making it hard to convince customers to seek out smaller brands with fewer offerings.

Flylow Gear figured out how to fight through the noise. Instead of targeting all customers interested in winter gear, their niche marketing strategy focuses on backcountry skiers looking for no-nonsense, quality gear. Their products are featured in all the right places — like Powder magazine — to reach their ideal buyers. Even their confirmation emails share that they’re a small, mountain-based crew of dedicated skiers.

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2. Octavia Elizabeth Jewelry

For ethically-minded consumers searching for jewelry, the most important factor is knowing about raw materials sourcing and product creation. That’s because this $300 billion dollar industry has come under fire for using child labor and causing extensive environmental harm.

Octavia Elizabeth understands the need for responsible jewelry. The company’s commitment to fair working conditions, legitimate living wages, and ethical production are clearly stated on its website.

Not only has Octavia Elizabeth honed in on customers looking for sustainably-sourced, handmade jewelry who are willing to pay a higher price, the brand has also elevated its niche offering by associating itself with celebrity clientele.

Octavia Elizabeth niche marketing

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3. Natural Dog Company

Research estimates Americans will spend $99 billion on their pets in 2020 alone. So how can a pet-focused business stand out amongst the thousands of memory foam beds, custom carry-on bags, and dog-friendly ice creams saturating the market?

Natural Dog Company caters to a very specific kind of pet owner: the eco-conscious consumer who pampers their pooch. By giving their organic and all-natural skin care products names like PAWdicure Pack and offering discount codes for free dog treats, they put pups first — which is exactly what their customers do.

natural dog company niche marketing

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4. Pimsleur

Learning a new language can be a struggle, and the options for doing so are definitely overwhelming. Will you really be speaking like a Parisian after spending $1,000 on a program?

Rather than making promises of perfect grammar and flawless accents, Pimsleur focuses on learners who need to improve their speaking and listening skills. The program includes a 30-minute audio lesson every day, with each conversation building off the previous ones. While not the most innovative language-learning app, its audio-first approach is great for customers looking to improve their conversational skills.

Pimsleur niche marketing

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5. Photographers Without Borders

It’s one thing to entice people to buy a product, but it’s another thing entirely to attract donors for a nonprofit. While this type of organization may not seem like the right fit for a niche marketing strategy, it’s essential for bringing in donations and volunteers.

Photographers Without Borders has partnered with major organizations like Adobe, Sony, and Patagonia by honing in on a particular marketing technique: storytelling.

By prioritizing ethical storytelling, whether in a social media post, email newsletter, or online webinar, the organization has built a reputation for producing high-quality work that address the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and UNDRIP. Plus, their Code of Ethics makes it clear what type of community members and partners they’re aiming to attract.

Photographers without borders niche marketing strategy

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Developing a Niche Marketing Strategy

Now that you have a better grasp on how brands from all types of industries create strategies that drive growth, it’s time to shape your own.

Step 1: Know your competition.

Developing a niche marketing strategy is impossible without scoping out your competition. That’s because it’s crucial to understand your unique selling proposition — what you do differently that makes customers choose your company over another.

Maybe you design ceramic dishware that can’t be found anywhere else, or maybe you’ve developed a tool that makes it easier for marketers to send emails. Whatever is it, find your speciality and craft a story around it.

Step 2: Narrow down your niche market.

Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky is famous for having said, “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.” Put simply, it’s better to reach a small group of people who sing praises about your company, rather than a large group who thinks it’s just okay.

You can do this by honing in on the right niche market for your business. While this takes time and thought, it’s worth the effort to find loyal customers who will gladly choose you over competitors.

For instance, Thirdlove is the first underwear company to offer bras in half-size cups. Through their inclusive sizing options and emphasis on body diversity, they’ve built a loyal community of over 327,000 Instagram followers.

Step 3: Go where your buyers are.

If your ideal customer spends all of their time scrolling on Facebook, it wouldn’t make sense to develop a niche marketing strategy around email campaigns. Enter market research.

You already know who your buyers are, but research helps you go deeper to find out where they shop, how they find products, and what influences their purchase decisions. Once you have that information, you’ll get the most return for your marketing dollars.

Step 4: Listen to the word on the street.

Everyone has problems that need solutions. If you listen to people’s thoughts about a certain product or service, you can find opportunities to fill in the gaps.

David Barnett did just that when he engineered a solution for constantly tangled headphones. What started out as two buttons glued to the back of a phone case quickly turned into Popsockets, a company that brought in $169 million in revenue just seven years after its founding.

Step 5: Create a unique brand.

Once you’ve defined your unique selling point, outlined your buyer persona, found out where to reach them, and listened to their problems — all that’s left is to build a brand identity. A well-defined brand will help you develop a niche marketing strategy that’s authentic to you and attracts ideal customers.

For instance, Etsy’s position as the marketplace for independent artists has attracted more than 138 million buyers. In a 2020 TV commercial, the brand touched on the pandemic and used emotional marketing tactics to encourage support for small businesses that sell through the platform.

Creating a niche marketing strategy that drives growth for your business is more than creating a social media ad or sending a weekly email promotion. If you take the time to learn about your customers and differentiate your brand, you can develop a strategy that attracts the right buyers and helps you hit your growth goals.


Removing Gatekeepers From Your Marketing

Every marketer has run into one of these roadblocks before:

  • They wanted to create an ads audience off of recently closed lost deals, but didn’t have access to the customer data in their CRM.
  • They needed to change some of the copy on their homepage, but their developers couldn’t fit it into their next sprint.
  • They needed a quick graphic to illustrate a point they were making in a blog post, but their design team was wrapped up in other projects.

In these scenarios, marketers aren’t held back by a lack of good ideas. Instead, marketers are struggling with gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are unnecessary areas of friction within your growth machine that prevent marketers from providing customers with the best experience possible.

Gatekeepers can be anything from unusable data that’s spread across different tools, to a CMS or design solution that’s powerful but requires technical expertise to use.

When marketers encounter a gatekeeper, the customer experience inevitably suffers.

Take your website, for instance. HubSpot research shows that a business website is the most used distribution channel for marketers today.

When trying to provide your customers with an amazing experience, nothing is more important than your website. But when asked who is responsible for keeping a website up to date, many marketers pointed to their IT team as owners of their company’s site.

This is a classic example of gatekeepers inserting unnecessary friction into your marketing. Your IT team isn’t goaled on generating leads, or how customers perceive your brand — so when marketers approach them with an update that needs to be made to their website, it isn’t prioritized.

Inevitably, your customers’ experience suffers. Imagine if your IT team owned your email marketing, or your social media accounts — how might your customer experience suffer as a result?

Marketers at growing companies need to be the owner of their organization’s growth machine. This used to be a given, but as customer journeys have gotten more complex, so have the systems we use to reach our customers.

We’ve added unnecessary complexity into our internal processes and tools — to the point where only specific people within your organization have access to data that could be used to improve a campaign or the technical ability to update content as needed.

Today’s fastest growing companies are doing three things:

1. They’re leveraging customer data across all their marketing channels.

2. They’re optimizing their marketing efforts by leveraging comprehensive reporting.

And maybe most importantly,

3. They’re putting marketers in the driver’s seat — removing gatekeepers at every turn so they can act quickly and decisively to best serve their customers.

The need for a clear owner of your business’ growth machine has only been heightened by the global pandemic. As external factors force leaders to pivot quickly at a time where collaboration and strategic planning is more difficult than ever before, gatekeepers cannot be tolerated.

By leveraging tools that centralize your data, remove gatekeepers, and make it easy to see what’s resonating with your audience, you’ll make it easy for your marketers to iterate on the customer experience.

Take stock of your current tech stack. What systems do only certain teams have access to? Is that team best-suited to understand what your customers are looking for from your brand? Are gatekeepers forcing you to make unnecessary tradeoffs between using a powerful tool and one that will empower your marketers to take ownership of your organization’s growth machine?

Answering these questions will help ensure that you’re able to adapt to whatever 2020 (or 2021) has in store for you.


How COVID-19 Could Shift Holiday Shopping Behaviors This Year…

In 2020, B2C businesses all over the world pivoted their strategies as consumers dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only did the pandemic force people to live and work strictly from home, but it also put a financial burden on many households and businesses.

Now, as the holidays approach, both physical and online business owners are wondering if they’ll still get the same level of booming business they saw last year.

Because we (unfortunately) can’t predict the future, we decided to survey a sample of nearly 300 general consumers about their holiday shopping plans.

Specifically, we asked, “Compared to last year, how will COVID-19 impact your holiday shopping plans?”

As part of the Lucid survey, participants could check all the boxes related to how their holiday shopping would be impacted.

While you’ll see that some of the responses align with research-backed shopping predictions, the overall results of the survey might surprise you:

We asked nearly 300 consumers how they thought covid-19 would impact holiday shopping this year.

Data Source

While you might not be shocked that many respondents are planning more online shopping than last year, you might be surprised that nearly one-third of them still plan to go to physical stores.

Additionally, with 41% of respondents planning to spend less money or buy fewer gifts this year, you might wonder if budget-conscious consumers will still spend money on your products.

Remember, this is just one small poll of general consumers. Had we zoned in on a specific audience target or location, the results might have been very different.

However, these responses are still worth keeping in mind as you navigate the holiday season. It also hints at potential trends that could continue in 2021.

Below, I’ll walk you through the three biggest holiday shopping pivots consumers plan to make this year, as well as a few business takeaways for handling each shift.

3 Pivots Holiday Shoppers are Making in 2020

1. Despite online growth, physical stores won’t be vacant.

As you might expect, the number one holiday shopping change, cited by 47% of survey respondents, was, “I plan to do more online shopping.”

This makes sense. In 2020, consumers who weren’t tech-savvy learned how to buy almost everything they needed online. Meanwhile, those who already made purchases regularly online embraced it more heavily. Additionally, with holiday shopping seasons known for closely packed quarters stores, some consumers might opt to stay at home this year to avoid the crowds.

However, it doesn’t seem like foot-traffic will cease completely.

To learn more about how abundant ecommerce would be this season, we asked, “Where do you plan to do your holiday shopping this year?”

As it turns out, lots of people still plan to shop in-person this season:

We asked nearly 300 respondents where they plan to shop this holiday season.

Data Source

While 33% of consumers plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” online, 34% plan to do an “even mix of both online and in-store shopping.”

On the other hand, 33% percent plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” in-store this year.

Although this survey is just one small piece of data, and these results might vary by location, the responses hint that physical stores might still get business despite increased online shopping.

Takeaways for Business Owners

Ultimately, online shopping is growing — and we see more online purchase revenue with each new holiday season.

Even if our survey results show that people still plan to shop at least partially in stores, you should consider building an online presence and — potentially — an ecommerce strategy.

When it comes to building an online presence, you could start with a business page on Facebook or Instagram, or a Google My Business listing to help internet users learn more about your brand and where you’re located.

If you’re ready and able to sell your products online, many digital tools, like HubSpot and Shopify, can help you create a simple, but effective online store.

For example, if you already promote your brand with a Facebook Business Page or Instagram Business profile, you could highlight and sell a few of your most popular products in a Facebook Shop. This will allow you to test the waters with ecommerce by selling a few select products online. Then, once you feel confident in your shipping and supply chain, you can launch a full ecommerce site with one of these tools.

2. Shoppers might not splurge — even on gifts.

Due to the uncertain financial times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers were already tightening their budgets and protecting their assets. Now, with plans for in-person holiday gatherings uncertain for many folks, there are also fewer reasons to purchase gifts and other holiday items.

However, since holidays have been known to encourage people to splurge more than usual, you might think that this time of year could be an exception to current shopping trends.

When polling general consumers, 26% percent said, “I plan to spend less money.” while 15% said, “I plan to buy fewer gifts due to limited holiday gatherings.” In total, 41% of consumers indicated that they plan to spend less or buy fewer products this year.

The data above, although unsurprising, still reaffirms consumer predictions that might be concerning to business owners.

Takeaways for Businesses

By now, brands have already seen consumers tighten budgets and limit non-essential purchases. Not to mention, studies from McKinsey and other organizations predict that consumers will continue to spend more frugally through 2021.

But, even if you’re up to date on the current market research trends, you might not be sure how to grapple with these consumer behavior shifts.

Right now, buyers need extra motivation to buy expensive or non-essential products. While the holidays might give them a reason to splurge a bit more than they have throughout the year, consumers will still want to invest in products with the best value — whether they’re buying for themselves or their families.

Because people are looking for essential products they need or items that offer the best bang for their buck, focus your messaging on answering questions like:

  • “Why does the consumer need this product?”
  • “How does this product or service solve one of their problems?”
  • “Why is the product worth its price?”

Aside from adjusting your messaging, you can also adjust your content to help you answer the questions above. For example, you can post content that highlights sales, deals, and promo codes that people with more stringent budgets might use.

If you can’t offer a sale or deal, you could alternatively use testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content from your current customers in your marketing. When you share a happy customer’s review or testimonial, you allow prospects to hear stories of people who benefited from your products. This can build a sense of authenticity and brand trust that ultimately leads to purchases.

3. Shoppers will take social distancing seriously.

Above, we noted that our respondents still want to shop at least partially in stores this year. But, many of them might also want to avoid bustling crowds that have historically been seen during holiday shopping seasons.

Because of this, the third biggest holiday shopping change — which 33% of respondents cited — was, “I still plan to shop in stores but will be more cautious of social distancing.”

Takeaways for Businesses

While small business owners would love to see crowds line up to enter their stores during the holiday season, it’s clear that things will be very different this year. Not only will customers be mindful about social distancing, but other research shows that they might be more concerned about their health and safety when shopping than ever.

If you want to embrace in-person foot-traffic opportunities this holiday season, it’s important to know that people might be fearful of crowds or getting too close to others. Because of this, you should invest in PPE for your staff, while also considering protective barriers, one-way aisles, and other solutions to keep people far apart.

While this will not only make customers feel safer in your store, it could give you a competitive advantage over shops that take fewer precautions. After all, customers trust brands that care about them and their safety.

Navigating a Unique Holiday Season

While we can offer suggestions and basic data on how holiday shopping will change this year, it’s important to keep in mind that results could be different for every business — whether physical or online.

Although planning a holiday strategy in a pandemic can feel daunting or nearly impossible, keeping a few tips in mind could still help you get sales and intrigue consumers who are ready and able to shop.

  • Market your product’s value: Now — and in the near future — consumers will need to be persuaded that your product is valuable, better than a cheaper option, and worth investing in. If your messaging, reviews, or online content fail to convey those things, a budget-minded shopper might very well buy something from a competitor — or avoid buying any product in your industry at all.
  • Build an online presence: Even if you plan to rely on foot-traffic this year, you’ll still want to develop an online presence so people can learn about your store, where you’re located, and any deals you offer. If you’re ready to step into the world of ecommerce, many easy-to-use tools can help you launch a scalable online store.
  • Care about your customer: This year, customers are paying extra attention to how brands treat them. When a brand makes an effort to ensure a pleasant and safe experience, shoppers will remember and trust them more. Even if your business is mostly online, you can still show customers you care through helpful and responsive customer service, answering customer questions on social media, and offering deals or content that solve for your ideal customer.

To learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted the overall business landscape, check out our six-month retrospective fueled by data from thousands of HubSpot users.


How to Build a Market Development Strategy [Free Planning…

Your business is getting by just fine – but still, the questions remain: Could you be selling more? Is there an opportunity to increase market penetration? Is there any way you could engage in further product diversification?

Companies hoping to increase revenue can do so in a variety of ways — such as an increase in advertising budget, expanding their sales team, and investing heavily in product development.

However, one of the often overlooked ways to strengthen your gross sales is a purposeful, well-researched, and expertly executed market development strategy.

In this article, we’ll explain what market development is and how you can employ it to increase sales and grow your business.

What is market development?

Market development is the expansion of your total addressable market (TAM) and how much market share you can expect to claim.

A market development strategy can focus on how a business might grow revenue by embracing one or both of the following initiatives:

  • Developing a new product line to increase revenue by selling to new customers, or up-selling to existing ones.
  • Creating a plan to sell existing products/services to new demographics, through such initiatives as adding locations or expanding delivery radius.

In the first scenario, TAM increases because by offering a new product or service, you’re effectively increasing the maximum amount of revenue you can attain from your existing customer base.

Think of a jeans company that starts to design shirts and jackets – this company might have tapped out their market’s interest in jeans, but those same customers might be willing to also buy clothing other than jeans from this company.

In the second example, TAM increases because you’re simply adding more people to your target market, and are able to service new customers without investing in a new product line. Think of corporate expansion by way of hiring salespeople to service a new region, or a restaurant opening up a second location on the other side of town. 

How to Create a Market Development Strategy

The decision of when and how to develop your existing market should be a methodical process.

Just because your business has struck lightning once does not mean your new expansion plan is a guaranteed success.

Because of that reality, follow these steps and use these resources to determine if you should develop your market, how it should be developed, and whether or not the initiative is successful.

Step 1: Research Your Development Opportunities

It’s always tempting to go after the next big thing – whether it’s adding more areas of focus to your consulting business or adding more items to your restaurant menu.

However, before you spend time, money, or resources on developing your market, take these steps to determine if the expansion is worthwhile.

Review Your Buyer Personas

Featured Tool: HubSpot Buyer Persona Templates

Download These Templates

When expanding your market, you face the potential need for net new or revised buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Consider the motivations, demographics, and backgrounds of your new target market to help you decide whether or not the development initiative makes sense.

Research Your Market

Featured Tool: HubSpot Market Research Kit


Download This Kit

Understanding your hypothetical positioning in a market is key before attempting to enter it. To that end, conduct market research exercises like a Porter’s Five Forces Analysis or a SWOT Analysis to determine your strengths, weaknesses, buyer power, threat of substitutes, or other attributes compared to competitors in this new market.

Additionally, you’ll want to calculate market penetration before moving forward with any plans to expand. 

Survey Your Customers

Featured Tool: Customer Satisfaction Survey Templates

Download These Templates

If you’re hoping to expand your current product line to generate more revenue from existing customers, make sure your intended expansion will be warmly received. Asking yourself why this development makes sense coming from your organization is a good first step.

However, talking to and surveying your customers to see if your proposed expansion is beneficial to their lives (and, more importantly, whether or not they would purchase it from you) is a necessary proof point before expanding your offerings as a business.

Step 2: Set Your Growth Goals

A successful market development will come with added sales, profit, employees, customers, products, users, locations, or some combination of these criteria.

Because there’s so much on the line, develop goals for which facets of your business you intend to grow, in addition to what your growth goal for each criteria is.

For example, by adding one more location, you may set the following growth goals:

  • Increase customers by 90%.
  • Increase revenue by 100%
  • Double annual profits after recouping the initial investment.
  • Increase employee headcount by 20 people.

During this stage, you should also consider the requirements needed to help you hit your growth goals, such as initial funding, tools, and software to help you get the initiative successfully up and running.

Lastly, the most important metric to measure before attempting to expand or develop your market is ROI. In this step of the process, compare the upfront costs of developing your market as intended with the projected revenue numbers of a successful expansion.

If the ROI is not encouraging enough to move forward with, you may need to go back to the drawing board and determine a new growth strategy and set of goals.

Featured Tool: Growth Strategy and Planning Template

Download the Template

Using the template above, outline your growth goals and strategy to lay the foundation for your market development initiative. This template will help you plan out the steps necessary to achieve your goals and help you determine whether or not they are realistic for this project.

Step 3: Create Your Marketing Plan

An increased market means an increased need for effective marketing.

To generate demand – or to capture existing demand in your market – make sure your marketing plan is up-to-date and reflective of the initiatives it will take to grow your market share to its desired level.

Consider all of the following initiatives and how they’ll play a role in generating more revenue in your newly developed market:

  • Email Marketing: Will you communicate with existing prospects via email to alert them of your initiative? Do you have a list of saved contacts who expressed interest in what you sell, were unable to make the purchase, and might now be able to purchase from you?
  • Social Media: Do you have organic and paid initiatives to generate buzz and spread the word to grow awareness on social media?
  • Content & SEO: Do you have website and blog content planned to capture the interest of website visitors hoping to learn more about what you’re selling?
  • Local Marketing: If you’re developing your market on a regional level, are you working with local publications, PR agencies, or advertising platforms to appeal to nearby potential customers?

Featured Tool: HubSpot’s Marketing Plan Template


Download This Template

Document your marketing plan supporting your market development with the template above, and make adjustments to it as needed to ensure you’re reaching your market in an accurate, appealing, and consistent fashion.

Step 4: Go-To Market

The time has come – your research and planning are complete, and you’re ready to formally enact your development strategy, whether it’s opening the doors of your new location or making your new product available for purchase on your website.

But before you start collecting revenue, there are a few final steps to take – specifically, aligning your team on the best way to conduct this go-to-market launch.

Going to market is successfully completed by managing three imperative internal tasks – all of which can be done with this Product Go-to-Market Kit:

Campaign Planning

The campaign plan should be the one-stop shop for anyone who has a stake in the success of this project. It should provide a general purpose for the market development project, in addition to the tactical and strategic elements team members need to adhere to in order to see the project go off without a hitch.

Sales Planning

The sales plan should provide more specific insights for the sales team – especially regarding overall projections, team or individual goals, and strategies for how the organization intends to meet these goals

Team Email Updates

For the company at large – particularly for individuals who need to be informed but may not have set tasks to complete – team email updates are a staple of communication during market development. This messaging should contain a status check for the launch timeline, and outstanding tasks, and any notifications the company should be aware of during their day-to-day work.

Featured Tool: HubSpot Go-to-Market Kit

Download This Kit

To centralize your internal planning and communication efforts during your market development process, use the HubSpot Go-to-Market Planning Kit.

Step 5: Analyze Your Results

Once you’ve taken the necessary actions to develop your market, the work has only begun. After launch day, you’ll need to be sure customers are satisfied, products and services are high-quality, employees are retained, and – most importantly – goals are met.

Start collecting sales data as soon as possible so that you can begin analyzing whether or not you’ll meet your projections. If not, you may have to determine a plan to either adjust your goals to become more realistic, and/or adjust your strategy to ensure your goals are met.

Once data are available, make sure you’re presenting your findings accurately and clearly so that stakeholders can fully understand what the results are, how you achieved them, and what the next steps of your market development strategy are.

Featured Tool: Marketing Reporting Templates

Download These Templates

Available in PowerPoint, Excel, and Google Drive, these templates will help the project driver communicate the results of your market development strategy to your team.

Developing Your Market

Get ready to grow your business – by following these outlined steps and using these free planning resources, you’ll be prepared to turn your market development idea into a reality. As a next step, learn by example and read up on how five prominent companies developed and acted on their growth strategies.


13 Businesses With Brilliant Global Marketing Strategies

Guess what? Global marketing is no longer reserved for brands with deep pockets, nor is it a huge hassle for already over-burdened marketing managers.

In fact, a global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets.

What Is Good Global Marketing?

Global marketing is the act of focusing a product on the needs of potential buyers in other countries. 

Like most types of marketing, though, a global marketing strategy comes down to one thing: audience. Knowing who needs your product, in what form to deliver it to them, and how to do it in a way that strengthens the brand are core ingredients of awesome global marketing.

Typically, a global marketing strategy requires a business to do new market research, identify countries where the business’s product might be successful, and then localize the brand to reflect the needs of those communities. However, localization is not always necessary. Some brands adopt a global standardization strategy instead.

In contrast to localization, where there’s a more differentiated marketing approach to each market, global standardization provides significant cost benefits as a result of less messaging and fewer campaigns.

However, the key is in knowing when a global standardization strategy will be effective. Because it banks on a universal appeal despite cultural or locational differences, you’ll need to research whether customers use or think about your products differently depending on their market. If there’s no difference between the usage and understanding from country to country, a global standardization approach is practical.

Choosing localization or global standardization is one aspect of creating a great global marketing strategy.


To give you an idea of what a great global marketing strategy looks like, we’ve compiled a list of brands that totally “get it.”

From adapting their social strategies to translate across multiple languages to adjusting their menus to appeal to the cravings of a diverse group of people, these brands are taking positive steps toward creating a solid presence across the globe.

So, if you’re looking for inspiration on how to craft a successful international marketing strategy and expand your business’ reach, check out these examples from these successful companies.

1. Red Bull

Austrian company Red Bull does such a great job with global marketing that many Americans assume it’s a local brand. How?

One of its most successful tactics is to host extreme sports events all over the world. From the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to the Red Bull Air Race in the United Kingdom to the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, the brand’s powerful event marketing strategy takes them here, there, and everywhere.

Aside from events, Red Bull’s packaging also plays a part in its global appeal.

“Red Bull really looks like a product from a global economy. It doesn’t look like a traditional American soft drink — it’s not in a 12-ounce can, it’s not sold in a bottle, and it doesn’t have script lettering like Pepsi or Coke. It looks European. That matters,” explains Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn in a 2001 article. Though it’s since diversified its product selection since that article was published, the fact remains that Red Bull’s consistent packaging has helped this brand go global.

2. Airbnb

Airbnb, a community marketplace for people to list and book accommodations around the world, was founded in 2008 out of San Francisco, California.

Since then, Airbnb has grown to 1,500,000+ listings in 34,000+ cities worldwide. A large contributor to the company’s explosive global success? Social media.

In January 2015, Airbnb launched a social media campaign around the hashtag #OneLessStranger. The company referred to the campaign as a “global, social experiment,” in which Airbnb asked the community to perform random acts of hospitality for strangers, and then take a video or photo with the person and share it using the hashtag.

Just three weeks after the launch of the campaign, over 3,000,000 people worldwide engaged, created content, or were talking about the campaign.

3. Dunkin Donuts

In case you missed it, National Donut Day was last June. And while we were getting our hands dirty with a Boston creme (or two) here in the states, Dunkin Donuts China was serving up a fresh batch of dry pork and seaweed donuts.

Global marketing strategy by Dunkin Donuts to celebrate National Donut Day in China

With over 3,200 stores in 36 countries outside of the U.S., Dunkin Donuts has evolved its menu to satisfy the sweet tooth of its global customers.

From Korea’s Grapefruit Coolata to Lebanon’s Mango Chocolate Donut to Russia’s Dunclairs, it’s clear that Dunkin Donuts isn’t afraid to celebrate cultural differences in an effort to strengthen its international presence.

4. Domino’s

Similar to Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s has prioritized menu innovation as a means of increasing international interest and awareness.

“The joy of pizza is that bread, sauce, and cheese works fundamentally everywhere, except maybe China, where dairy wasn’t a big part of their diet until lately,” explains Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle.

“And it’s easy to just change toppings market to market. In Asia, it’s seafood and fish. It’s curry in India. But half the toppings are standard offerings around the world.”

Domino's website with pizza catering to international tastes

By making a conscious effort to gain a better understanding of the preferences of the markets it’s trying to break into, Domino’s can deliver pies diverse enough to gain international attention.

5. Rezdy

Some companies may not be trying to attract global markets directly, but if their clients are, they better know how. Rezdy is an Australian-based reservation software designed to make online booking smoother for tourists and agents alike.

Though Rezdy’s clients are Australian-based, the company needs to cater to its clients’ international visitors. Click on the screenshot to check out this fun video on Rezdy’s homepage:

Video by Rezdy showing language selection for global users

The first feature the video spotlights is “Internationalisation.” The video walks us through how easy the service is for users, but is sure to emphasize the language and currency customization tool upfront. Even if your company is marketing to other regional companies, consider their global customers as if they were your own.

6. World Wildlife Foundation

WWF took its Earth Hour initiative — a voluntary worldwide event where participants turn off their lights for an hour to show how easy it can be to battle climate change — and brought it to Norway’s mobile audience.

Scandinavian countries like Norway experience extreme daylight hours in different seasons, making the country a prime candidate for WWF’s Blackout campaign. Using digital agency Mobiento, the nonprofit placed the Blackout Banner across Norway’s top media sites to promote Earth Hour. With one tap of the banner, the screen went black. Finger swiping the black screen slowly revealed the Earth Hour countdown. The banner attracted roughly 1,000,000 impressions and the campaign received three MMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards back in 2012.

WWF earth hour campaign banner with plug strips

Image Source

Have a cool idea? Don’t be afraid to try it out on one international market — just make sure it’s the appropriate audience. (Also, don’t be afraid of the dark.)

7. Pearse Trust

With offices in Dublin, London, Vancouver, Atlanta, and Wellington, Pearse Trust has grown to be an international authority on corporate and trust structures. But it takes more than offices all over the map to reach an international audience.

That’s why Pearse Trust keeps content flowing on its Facebook page that engages its various markets. In this screenshot below, you can see Pearse Trust posts lots of content featuring international affairs relating to the company’s practice.

pearse trust facebook post regarding international affairs webinar

It also levels out external articles with Pearse Trust content, featuring news from places like Germany, Ireland (where it has a Dublin office), and the U.K. (where it has a London office). This is a great example of focusing on common interests shared among your company’s various markets while also making the content relatable to customers by region.

8. Nike

Nike has been able to evolve its global presence through the careful selection of international sponsorships such as its previous long-standing relationship with Manchester United.

Although sponsorship spending can be fairly unpredictable — demand costs tend to surge due to triggers like championships and tournaments — these partnerships have certainly helped the brand capture the attention of a global audience.

Nike’s NikeID co-creation platform serves as another strategy that the company is using to appeal to international markets.

Nike ID website allowing global users to customize shoes

By putting the power of design into the hands of the consumer, Nike is able to deliver customized products that align with different cultural preferences and styles.

9. McDonald’s

We all know McDonald’s is a successful global brand, so unlike its menu, I’ll keep it light.

While keeping its overarching branding consistent, McDonald’s practices “glocal” marketing efforts. No, that’s not a typo. McDonald’s brings a local flavor, literally, to different countries with region-specific menu items. In 2003, McDonald’s introduced the McArabia, a flatbread sandwich, to its restaurants in the Middle East.

McDonald’s has also introduced macaroons to its French menu:

And added McSpaghetti to its menu in the Philippines:

Global McDonald's advertisement for the Philippines

This “glocal” approach has helped put McDonald’s at
#9 on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2014.

10. Innocent Drinks

Innocent Drinks is the leading smoothie company in the U.K., but that’s not the only place you’ll find its products. In fact, Innocent products are now available in 15 countries across Europe.

And despite its widespread reach, the company’s “chatty branding” remains consistent across the board. For instance, the website is very bubbly, with contact information that reads “call the banana phone” or “visit the fruit towers.”

European global marketing strategy by Innocent Drinks

While global expansion and rapid growth can sometimes distract a company from consistent branding, Innocent Drinks has managed to remain true to itself. By ensuring that the brand’s voice is interpreted the same way around the world, Innocent is able to create a more recognizable brand.

11. Unger and Kowitt

The phrase “glocal” can be defined as “Think Globally, Act Locally.” But what happens when you switch the two around.

Whoa, fasten your seat belts — literally. Unger and Kowitt is a traffic ticket law firm based in Fort Lauderdale defending drivers in the state of Florida. Not very global, right? Well, Unger and Kowitt understands that America is a melting pot and that Florida is bursting at the seams with different cultures and languages.

Website of Unger Kowitt showing global marketing strategy in user experience

Though a domestic service, the firm’s website is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Creole. With these options, Unger and Kowitt can cater to Florida’s nearly 3.5 million Floridians who speak Spanish, Portuguese, or Creole. Don’t miss out on expanding your client base — sometimes you don’t have to look far to attract international business.

12. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a great example of a brand using international marketing efforts. Though a large corporation, Coca-Cola focuses on small community programs and invests a lot of time and money in small-scale charity efforts.

For example, in Egypt, Coca-Cola has built 650 clean water installations in the rural village of Beni Suef and sponsors Ramadan meals for children across the Middle East. In India, the brand sponsors the Support My School initiative to improve facilities at local schools. Not to mention, the brand sticks with selling an emotion that can’t get lost in translation: happiness. Now, tell me this doesn’t look like fun:

13. Spotify

As of 2018, Spotify was newly considered one of the best global companies in the world, according to Interbrand. We’ve all heard of Spotify (no pun intended), but how did it suddenly, and so quickly, expand from Sweden into other countries?

Spotify’s business model is focused on helping you find something new.

spotify diverse genresIt’s one thing to select a genre of music to listen to — it’s another thing to select a “mood” to listen to. The screenshot above is part of Spotify’s “Browse” page, where you can listen not just to “country” and “hip-hop,” but also music that caters to your “workout” or “sleep” preferences.

By changing how they describe their content, Spotify gets users to listen to music that goes beyond their favorite genres, and instead satisfies habits and lifestyles that people share all over the world. This allows international artists to access listeners from other countries simply because their product is being categorized a different way.

Spotify now has offices in 17 countries around the world.

If you have global aspirations for your business, you need to find out what customers in different communities have in common — and how to localize your product for these different markets. Your first step? Take inspiration from one of the businesses above.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


What Are The 4 P’s of Marketing?

If you’ve been a marketing professional for years now, learning about the four P’s of marketing might seem like a throwback to you.

However, for those of us who work in the industry but didn’t study marketing in college, it’s entirely possible you haven’t heard of the marketing mix.

Below, let’s learn about the four P’s of marketing and how they’re still relevant in today’s marketing landscape.

The four P’s are meant to help marketers consider everything about a product or service when they’re deciding how to market something for their business. Framing your marketing around the four P’s will help you learn what the competition is doing and what customers want from you.

You can use the four P’s to answer questions about the product, price, place, and promotion of your product or service.

For example, you can ask yourself:

  • How does your product meet your customer’s needs?
  • Where are customers looking for your product?
  • What is the value of your product?
  • How can you differentiate your product from competitors?

Thinking about your marketing in terms of the four P’s will help you strategize how to reach your customers.

Featured Resource: Marketing Mix Templates

Need a way to visualize your marketing mix to share it with your employees or investors? Use these four marketing mix templates to organize your initiatives and activities by the right section. Click here to download them now.

Let’s dive into the details below.

1. Product

When you think about your product, consider exactly what you’re selling. Is it a specific product? Or is it a service? Your product can be a physical product, an online app, or a service such as house cleaning. Really, anything that you’re selling is the product.

Then, think of your brand messaging, the services you offer, and even packaging. When you define your product, think about what problem your product solves for your customers. Consider how your product is different from competing products. What features are unique to your product?

It’s important to know your product intimately so you can market it.

2. Price

When it comes to price, you have to consider how much you’re going to charge customers for your products or services. Of course, you need to make a profit. But you also need to think about what competitors are charging for the same product or service and how much customers are willing to pay.

Additionally, you can think about what discounts or offers you can use in your marketing.

When you decide on a price, you want to think about perception. Do you want to be known as a cost-effective option in your industry? Or perhaps you’re a luxury brand and the price is slightly higher than competition on the market.

Either way, the language you use to market your product will be greatly impacted by the price of your product.

3. Place

When it comes to place, this might mean the physical location of your company, but it could also be defined as anywhere you sell your product, which might be online.

The place is where you market and distribute your product.

Remember, that not every place makes sense for every product. For example, if your target market is seniors, then it won’t make sense to market on TikTok. It’s important to choose the right places to market your product and meet your customers where they’re at.

Think about possible distribution channels, what outlets you could sell your product, whether you’re B2B or B2C, etc.

At this point, you’ll need to think about how to market your product on all the various channels that make sense for your company.

4. Promotion

Promotion is the bread and butter of marketing. This is when you’ll think about how to publicize and advertise your product.

Additionally, you’ll discuss brand messaging, brand awareness, and how to generate leads and revenue.

When it comes to promotion, keeping communication in mind is of the utmost importance. What messages will resonate with your target market? How can you best promote your product to them?

Think about where, when, and how you’ll promote your brand.

To develop a marketing mix, you’ll need to think about how you can uniquely position your brand amongst the competition. The most important part of thinking about the four P’s of marketing is to understand the customer, the competition, and your company. You’ll evaluate your product and how to promote it.

Even though marketing has changed since the four P’s were developed, the foundational elements of the industry haven’t. You can apply the concepts of the marketing mix to any type of marketing.

CRM Strategy

4 Social Media Mistakes That Will Cost You Customers

Social media is a key part of any marketing strategy, but despite appearances, it’s not as easy to manage as people think. Far from simply firing off short posts at random intervals, social media strategy involves timing, brand awareness, precise copy, and a host of other strategic practices. While there’s no one surefire way to gain followers and acquire new customers, there are plenty of specific examples of what not to do.

We’ve rounded up some of the worst blunders brands can make with their social media accounts. Whether you’re selling a product, seeking engagement, or just trying to increase brand awareness, make sure to avoid these common mistakes — otherwise, you risk irreparable damage to your company’s reputation.

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Tone-deaf posts

Let’s clear the air right away: sometimes, everything feels like it’s just too much. Social injustice, global pandemics, toxic political climates, struggling economies — the list goes on and on. You’d think major companies would be sympathetic to their customers’ plights, and that this sympathy would be reflected in its social media posts — but as we’ve found, that’s not always the case.

For example, in 2019, a social media rep for one of the biggest financial institutions in the world thought it would be a good idea to buy into the “lazy millennial” stereotype and make fun of young people for not having savings accounts. It went over exactly as well as you’d expect: Twitter users ripped Chase apart, and Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered the killing blow by pointing out the economic realities of stagnant wages and rising costs while big banks received billions in bailout money. Chase Bank later deleted the tweet and offered a classic non-apology, but the damage was already done.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean your brand should avoid uncomfortable topics entirely, which can also have a negative effect. If you’re addressing some social injustice or real-world tragedy, do your best to place yourself on the right side of history. Above all, having sympathy for your audience goes a long way toward making connections and engaging long-term customers.

Bad timing

Timing is everything. It can mean the difference between success and failure, or in social media terms, between a successful campaign and a cringy flop. Square Enix, the publisher behind an upcoming video game based on Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers IP, found this out the hard way with a seemingly innocuous video clip and a short message about Captain America. The video — which the Twitter post also encouraged users to download and use as a background — featured a massive statue of the deceased hero in a dystopian, drone-filled setting, with an accompanying message about how the monument was regularly defaced.

What’s so bad about that? Well, this happened in June 2020, as protests against racial injustice and police brutality were sweeping the United States and Confederate statues were being pulled down throughout the south. A message that could have set the stage for an upcoming video game instead inspired reactions that could loosely be summed up as “big yikes.”

Unlike the tone-deaf tweet from Chase Bank the previous year, this wasn’t the case of a brand misreading the room. The post was likely planned out well ahead of time as part of the overall marketing plan for Marvel’s Avengers in the lead-up to its September release date. However, the team in charge of the game’s social media neglected to reconsider the context in the wake of current events, leading to the backlash. The takeaway: even after a marketing plan has been established, social media managers should constantly evaluate how these messages could be perceived in the context of real-world events.

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Hashtags. Love them or hate them, those keywords and phrases attached to what our elders once knew as a pound sign can go a long way in raising engagement and brand awareness, which is why you rarely see corporate social media posts without them. But while the strategic use of hashtags can lead to successful social media campaigns, simply jumping on the bandwagon without considering its context can be devastating.

Here’s a good example of hashtag usage: tagging a post with #NationalCoffeeDay when that particular topic is trending and offering deals on coffee or other beverages. Here’s a terrible example: hijacking a hashtag used to raise awareness about domestic violence to promote… pizza.

Yes, that actually happened. Frozen pizza brand DiGiorno, which had been previously praised for its social media liveblogging of big events, tagged a post with #WhyIStayed and offered the comment “You had pizza.” The resulting outcry was well deserved, and DiGiorno apologized, stating that they didn’t know what the hashtag was about before using it. Let DiGiorno’s costly mistake be a lesson to the rest of us: Don’t use a hashtag unless you really know what it’s about and ensuring it makes sense for your brand. Anything else feels like desperate bandwagoning at best, and insensitivity at worst.

Ignoring your audience

With its established position in larger marketing strategies, it’s easy to forget the unique offering of social media. It isn’t just a bullhorn for brands to broadcast announcements and share exciting news; it’s a place where the audience can directly interact with their favorite products, for better or worse. No matter what else is going on, don’t forget about your audience.

Savvy social media users expect regular interactions on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and it’s the job of a good social media strategist to rise to the challenge. Engage with followers, even if they have concerns or complaints. It may not be possible to respond to every single question or comment, but make sure your community feels heard. This is more important than ever in 2020, with coronavirus changing the marketing industry and putting relationships, empathy, and transparency at the forefront.

Managing a brand’s social media presence isn’t as easy as it sounds. Getting it right will take a lot of time and probably some trial and error, but at the very least, you now hopefully have a better understanding of how to avoid brand-destroying gaffes like the ones we’ve outlined. In almost every case, context matters, so let that be a guiding force when creating social media content.

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