How To Break the Status Quo and Take More Risks in Marketing

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why you should take risks in marketing

What are the 10 commandments of marketing in 2022? Well, for starters, there are probably more than 10 commandments. 

Digital transformation radically changed how we understand marketing, and, as a result, it’s made marketing more complex. Brands now need to manage both physical presence (like a storefront or print advertisements) and digital presence (like websites, social media, and more). At the same time, larger brands are investing in marketing not just for the company but also for the company’s C-suite leaders. 

What we’re trying to say is: The scale and scope of marketing have expanded exponentially in the last 10 years, and it will only continue to grow.

This has made many marketing professionals feel like they’re endlessly trying to keep up with the Joneses of the marketing world. It’s not just the 10 commandments of marketing that brands are expected to follow. It’s the 20, 50, and 100-plus commandments that brands should at least consider as part of their comprehensive marketing tactics

When you’re in the trenches of marketing—whether you’re a CMO or content strategist—it can feel like an endless sea of basic requirements that you must meet in order to be an effective marketer. Some leaders have even made it seem like a “do or die” scenario, where you must apply each and every conceivable marketing initiative in order to succeed.

Related post: 3 More Things Every CMO Wants Their CEO to Know

This is the status quo in marketing right now: Most marketers use the same handful of strategies to reach their target audience, and few are pushing the needle forward when it comes to creating impactful and memorable marketing campaigns. 

In 2022, the best thing you can do for your marketing strategy is to interrupt the status quo and take more risks. It will save you time and effort, so you have more room to be creative, and the outcome of risk-taking is more rewarding for brands and consumers alike.

Here are three reasons why you should take risks in your marketing strategy and how to start.

Explore trends and build your brand voice

B2B brand leaders are often more hesitant to explore trends because they think that trends don’t apply to strictly business-type accounts. 

Wrong. 

Trends are the great equalizer in digital marketing, and any brand can put a spin on any trend. This might feel risky, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Whether you sell a product, service, or technology, you can apply trends to your marketing strategy. Start small with something like memes or Instagram Reels and craft your own version that reflects the niche your brand fits into.

The best way to figure out what is trending is to do market research. Spend time on social media and follow people in fields related to yours. Identify brands and companies that you admire for their marketing, and take note of the trends you see across the industry. Remember that relevant trends will vary depending on your audience. Memes are a great way for brands to engage with a younger customer segment, but they’ll be lost on more experienced executive-level customers. Conversely, high-level insights and data may answer the questions of C-suite prospective customers, but that information may not draw the attention of customers new to the industry.

If you’re catering to a young audience, watch for trends on Instagram and TikTok that you can put your own spin on—funny videos, Q&A style interactive content, and so on. But if your brand is looking to reach a more experienced audience of customers, watch for trends in the ideas leaders are expressing on LinkedIn, the news or opinion articles they’re sharing on their profiles, and the pages that they like. You’ll be able to identify themes across industries in the topics that people discuss online.

Related post: Why Social Media Marketing Matters for B2B

Take a chance and enter the conversation. Add your commentary on the trend and engage with those who support or disagree with your perspective.  

Connect with your customers and show the human side of your brand

Taking a risk shows the human side of running a business, and this can help brands connect with their customers. Instead of checking the standard boxes for what is expected (and what everyone else is doing), taking a risk and building your own strategy can create a more authentic connection with customers. 

Many companies have taken this human-first approach, and it’s yielded incredible results. 

For example, when one of Drizly’s marketing emails was sent out before it was ready, they followed up with a lighthearted and humorous “mea culpa” in email form.” This was risky! Most brands will follow up a flub or mistake by issuing a formal, PR-written statement and a promise to make a change. Drizly, instead, took a human approach and made a joke about it. The apology email was well-received, and it was a great way for the brand to showcase its unique voice and the people behind it.

how taking a risk in marketing pays off

Another way you can connect with your audience or customers is to show them that you understand their pain points. This can be risky because your statements have to be bold so that the message is clear and forges a connection with your customers. 

Here’s an example: In the late 80s and early 90s, IKEA was looking to broaden their audience and connect with their potential customers, but they had one problem: chintz. What? Yes. Chintz. It’s a floral, patterned, old-fashioned fabric you’d see covering the furniture on the set of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and it was a popular design feature in the maximalist homes of that era. IKEA, of course, is known for its simplicity. So, they created a clever ad to encourage their customers to symbolically “chuck out their chintz” furniture in favor of simple home design. They associated the fabric with old-fashioned belief systems and used this pain point to connect with customers in a humorous and human way. 

Marketing campaigns like these are honest and bold and showcase the human side of a brand. Even more, they’re memorable because they stand out from the crowd. Instead of boring, straightforward digital campaigns, ask yourself (and your brand stakeholders) how you can discover customer pain points and then engage with your customers to provide a solution.

Related post: A Guide to Marketing for AI and Tech Brands

Try new things and stay relevant

Finally, the most straightforward and simple reason you should take more risks is that trying new things helps keep brands relevant. 

Industries are constantly changing and evolving, and social media has only accelerated this process. It’s essential to try new things so that you can determine new opportunities for your brand. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate process; you can explore new marketing tactics and test them out in small ways. 

One way we like to try out new ideas is to create A/B testing strategies. This can happen on a website, with B2B paid ads, for social media posts, or even in PR articles and blogs. If you’re looking to implement a new strategy for your brand, test it before you go all in. For a social campaign, this would look like testing a new posting schedule or set of content one week and trying an alternative strategy the next week. Measure which strategy was most effective during testing and adjust from there. This is a practical way that you can try new things and determine which strategies and marketing messages are most relevant to your audience.

Related post: What Is “Relevant Content” in B2B Content Marketing?

When you’re a marketing professional, even the smallest of changes can feel risky because they affect outcomes for your brand and for your customers. We’re here to tell you that it’s time to reject the status quo. 

Stop settling for standard marketing strategies and carve your own path. 

Take a few risks and see where it takes you. Marketing is a rapidly changing industry, and risk-taking is the best way to stay ahead of the game. 

And hey, if you’re not too keen on taking risks yourself, let us take them for you. Reach out. We’d love to strategize with you. 

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