Do This To Win Customers in 2021

October 26, 2020 | blog | By Mike Sullivan
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If you’re the leader of a company, or part of a brand management team, there’s probably not a day that goes by that you don’t think about attracting and landing new customers. For successful companies, growing the customer base is always top of mind. And for those struggling to grow, there is no other thought. Rightfully so. No matter how stable any business may seem, the truth is customer relationships can fall victim to unexpected circumstances. Personnel changes. Changing cultural norms. A once-in-a-century pandemic that changes everything as we know it.

After a year like 2020, every brand is hungry to start 2021 with new opportunities and increased revenue. To help you get there quicker and more prepared to win, here are four things you can do right now to help your business grow in 2021:

Up your game in content marketing.

Your customers aren’t looking for new things to try. They’re looking for solutions to their problems. An Italian restaurant with a great patio where they can dine with friends. A roomier midsized SUV. High-fiber cereal that doesn’t turn into cardboard when you chew it.

Consumers want you to make their lives better and easier. Creating and delivering engaging content where they live can help you build that relationship.

According to the 2020 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, more than 71% of B2C marketers now have a content marketing strategy with 52% creating content for more than four different audiences. Social media content and blog posts are the two favored communication channels, but email, video production, and infographics also play a significant role.

If you’re somewhat new to content marketing, chart out the customer journey for each customer group you’re targeting, put a content plan together for 2021 and wade in hip deep. If you’ve been dabbling, but haven’t committed to a content marketing plan, be intentional this year. Double your efforts and watch as your customer relationships start to build on themselves like compound interest.

Set yourself up to win.

Earlier this year, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent more than $500 million of his own money on a campaign to win the Democratic nomination for President. In March, on Super Tuesday, out of 19 states and protectorates voting and 1,000 possible electoral votes, Bloomberg won American Samoa. Four electoral votes. Too often, brands look at the world and see seven billion potential customers. For challenger brands with limited resources (most of us) that’s a dangerous mindset to have. It’s dangerous with seemingly unlimited resources.

As you’re focusing on new customers, spend some time really learning what those customers look like.  Where they live, what they do, where they go, what they want.

Odds are, many of them look like the best customers you have now — we call them “lookalikes.” Talk to those folks first. Then, if you’re going after new cohorts, make sure there’s a compelling insight driving your pursuit. Why would those customers engage with you? What solution do you provide that they can’t find elsewhere? Why would they want to be friends with you? Narrow the playing field to customers who can easily connect the dots between themselves and you, and you set yourself up to win.

Improve your culture.

For companies counting on the performance of people, company culture is inextricably linked to brand performance in ways that aren’t always obvious at first glance. I’ll go a step further – company culture serves as the most fundamental challenger brand advantage there is.

In our book, “The Voice of the Underdog: How Challenger Brands Create Distinction By Thinking Culture First,” my co-author and I devote 200 plus pages to why culture can be a huge game-changer but, in a nutshell, your culture permeates and affects every aspect of your brand from how it’s concepted and made to how it’s sold and received by your customers.

Your culture is literally like the air you breathe. If it’s toxic, you can’t survive.

If you want more customer relationships on the back end, start with making sure your team feels supported, heard and inspired by you today. Every investment you make in building a great culture now will pay exponential dividends when your customers meet your brand.

Embrace a challenger brand mentality.

Ironically, one of my favorite quotes for challenger brands comes from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. When asked about his business philosophy, Eisner said, “as long as you think and act as if you’re coming from behind, you have a shot at staying ahead.” If that’s the mindset of a category leader – as it is with many – embracing the challenger mentality isn’t ideal. It’s imperative. If COVID-19 did anything to marketing, it forced brands to embrace disruption and find new ways to connect with customers. As we emerge from the most challenging year in any of our lifetimes, we will ALL have to embrace a challenger mindset and here’s how:

First, determine your State of Market.

Realistically, where do you fit in your category? Where are there opportunities for you to go on the offensive? Where are your competitors weak where you are strong?

Second, determine your State of Mind.

Who are you as a brand? Challenger brands are either the best at delivering something important to a specific group of customers, or they are striving to become the best at delivering something their customers want. Which are you?

Third, determine your State of Readiness.

Are you ready for battle? If not, what do you need to do to get ready? You can know where you stand and who you are, but without the readiness and wiliness to act you might as well be paralyzed.

In many ways, the pandemic and the changes it forced in consumer behavior have given challengers a prime opportunity to make their presence known. According to a recent study, 45% of consumers have changed their brand loyalty due to the coronavirus pandemic and the racial unrest this summer. If there was ever a time to step up and reach out to new customers, it’s now. If you want to grow your business in 2021, prime your team and go get it. The opportunities are there.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency

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