INBOX INSIGHTS, November 17, 2021: Marketing Planning, 2022 Trends, Press Releases

INBOX INSIGHTS: Marketing Planning, 2022 Trends, Press Releases (11/17) :: View in browser

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Marketing Planning: A Different Approach

We’re about a week and a half out from US Thanksgiving. I assume you’re knee-deep in planning mode. You’re planning your menu. You’re planning for any travel. And on top of that, you’re planning your 2022 marketing strategy. Right?

I’m not.

It’s not that I’m not thinking about what I want 2022 to look like. I am. But I am not going to burn myself out trying to map it all out before the year has even started. I have goals set but I haven’t locked into how we’re going to achieve those goals. Committing to a plan now assumes that I am not going to learn anything new over the next twelve months.

Let me rant for a moment (if you listen to our podcast you know I love to rant).

I am ALL for planning. I love a plan. I love milestones that tell me that I’m executing the plan. I love all the little details that go into a plan. And yes, I have made plans for the company.


What I see all too often, and I’ve done this myself, is that a plan is too rigid. It is “set in stone” and “unchangeable”. It also feels rushed and last minute. Why are you waiting until December? What’s wrong with starting earlier?

We can feel so passionate about the plan and that it has to look a certain way that we don’t allow for anything else. We set our budgets, allocate our resources, put our heads down, and plow forward. We stay the course for a whole year. A WHOLE YEAR! Once that year is up, we look around to see what happened.

Well, that’s a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

A couple of years ago I got sick on Thanksgiving. My husband was in the middle of cooking. He was making the turkey, the stuffing, the potatoes, all the trimmings. I, on the other hand, had crawled into bed to slowly die. We didn’t see this coming and didn’t plan for it. All the cooking was being done that day so when he realized I was ill he had to abandon it. Dinner wasn’t so great that year.

Since then, we’ve started adapting our Thanksgiving plans to be more flexible. Will we have all the same food? Yes. The outcome is the same. The difference is the approach. Instead of cooking everything that one day, we start a couple of days ahead. I’ll make cornbread for the stuffing this weekend, and then make the stuffing on Tuesday. I’ll make the mashed potatoes on Wednesday. By the time Thursday rolls around all we need to do is reheat things and cook the turkey.

How does this help us? In the (not unlikely) event that I burn the cornbread or put sugar instead of salt in the potatoes, we still have time. We can decide to remake those dishes on Thanksgiving or decide to make something else. We will still have met our goal of having dinner.

So what?

I need to treat my business the same way I do my personal life. I’ve learned that not building flexibility into my plans tends to blow up in my face. I’ve also learned that you cannot anticipate everything that is going to happen. If I am willing to change the plan for Thanksgiving, why can’t I change how I approach my marketing planning?

Do you have backup plans for Thanksgiving dinner? Probably. It can be a stressful day otherwise. Why not your marketing as well? Think about that with your 2022 planning. Waiting until one time a year to plan what you’re going to do with your business is risky. It’s too much pressure and too difficult to stay agile.

What if, and hear me out, you made your plan for the year but you committed to checking in and adapting it once a quarter? What about once a month? You can set and keep your goals for the year but as you gather more information you may need to change your approach.

Setting your plan once and then assuming you can execute it with no changes will be challenging. That’s not to say you cannot do it. But why not set yourself up for success?

How do you do that? Allow for more time. Think about alternatives. Ask for feedback along the way. Stay open to possibilities and new information.

How do you approach your planning? Let me know in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers!

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris answer the most common question in our inboxes: what are the 2022 marketing trends we should be paying attention to? Find out why trend spotting is unreliable, what data sources to check for actual trends, and what Katie and Chris think are actual trends worth paying attention to as we roll into 2022. Tune in to find out!

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

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Data Diaries - Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s look at a public relations standby, press releases. We haven’t looked at press release activity in some time, so let’s see how public relations professionals are using this tool. Using the GDELT database provided by Google, we count the number of press releases tracked by services like Google news over the past 4 years:

Press Releases by Year

Above, 2018 is in dark green, 2019 in light green. The pandemic’s first year, 2020, is in red, and this year is in yellow. While there was a substantial decline in 2019 compared to 2018 for the number of press releases, we see that 2020 really set the floor for press release activities – and 2021 hasn’t exceeded it very much. The use of press releases is at all-time lows.

What do we make of this? Press release usage has been on the decline for years, especially once search engines devalued them for link building purposes. The pandemic obviously impacted not only agencies and brands abilities to publish news – with the decline of news outlets – but also because of reductions in staffing, there were simply fewer people to publish news releases. What’s of note is that releases have not made any kind of meaningful recover through all of 2021; this trend seems likely to hold.

What should you take away from this? News releases still perform the vital purpose of fulfilling required legal disclosures, especially in countries where such disclosures are mandated by law such as SEC Regulation FD in the United States of America. But combined with the decline in news outlets, they may not necessarily perform well; next week, we’ll look at how news releases have performed in the eyes of Google. Stay tuned!

Methodology: Trust Insights used the Google News GDELT Project database to extract 1,582,257 news releases from the overall news database. The timeframe of the data is January 1, 2018 – November 16, 2021. The date of study is November 17, 2021. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.

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