As we wrap up 2022 and head into the new year, what advice can help guide us in our marketing and public relations planning?
I asked 22 influencers to share their thoughts on this question: What ONE piece of marketing or PR advice would you offer to brands as we head into the new year?
Here’s what they had to say.
Marketing and PR Advice for 2023
1) Build harder-working landing pages.
Regardless of the traffic source, build harder-working landing pages. If these pages lack clarity or evidence, you can expect worse results from digital. But spending a few hours improving the copy (answer questions, address objections) or adding evidence (testimonials, awards, years in business) will get you better results in 2023 and beyond.
– Andy Crestodina , Co-Founder / Chief Marketing Officer, Orbit Media Studios
2) Lean heavier on brand marketing and content distribution.
In 2023 I would advise companies to lean heavier on brand marketing and content distribution. To maintain share-of-mind and reduce advertising spend during economic tensions, organic marketing channels and owned content will nurture customer relationships and boost brand. Customers will gravitate towards brands that they can relate to and trust, two things advertising does not provide. Companies that become their industry’s media source will come out as the market share winners.
–A. Lee Judge, Co-Founder, Content Monsta www.ContentMonsta.com
3) Invest in your brand.
As the social media and digital publishing landscape continues to fracture, brand is literally the only asset you have left that’s durable and under your control to some degree. Word of mouth in private social media communities like Discord, Slack, Telegram, Patreon, and many others is untraceable, cannot be measured by those platforms, and yet will be more impactful than ever. How do you market in communities you don’t have access to? Through the power of your brand. In 2023, make investing in your brand – creating it, reinforcing it with customer loyalty, measuring it with market research – a cornerstone of your strategy if you want to thrive in the new digital landscape.
–Christopher Penn, co-founder and chief data scientist, Trust Insights
4) Figure out what your executives really care about and measure your efforts based on that.
Measure your marketing efforts to the things that matter to the organization. There are all sorts of attribution models you can use—first touch, last touch, multi-touch—along with metrics galore. Don’t get overwhelmed by it all. Figure out what your execs really care about and measure your efforts to that. Brand awareness is great, and you should continue to do that work, but also build in the types of things that drive revenue, increase profitability, and build loyal customers. This will ensure you always have a job, no matter what the economy does.
— Gini Dietrich, founder and author, Spin Sucks
5) Be relentlessly helpful.
Continually ask yourself: “how can I be relentlessly helpful to my audience?” Even if “being helpful” is in your DNA, shifting your focus to be “relentlessly helpful” can be a game changer. For instance, this will help you prioritize the big projects to spend time on as you plan your strategy. And it can be used with the day-to-day decisions as well, as you think about how to improve each piece of content you publish.
–Michele Linn, Co-founder, Mantis Research
6) Show how diversity and inclusion are implemented in your organization.
As brands continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion, let’s take it beyond hiring and into our marketing strategy and campaigns.
Companies should become intentional about how they market to candidates (hiring), coworkers (employee engagement), consumers, and the community, which all impact the brand’s bottom line. Leverage your digital platforms to show how diversity and inclusion are implemented in the organization.
– Michelle Ngome, Inclusive Marketing Consultant, Line 25 Consulting
7) Focus on maintaining trust with your current customers.
I often talk about building brand trust, but something that needs more attention is maintaining trust with your current clients and customers. Just because they took a chance on your product or service once doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to trust you forever. In times of economic tumultuousness, do not neglect the folks who already like and support your brand. Show up for them, write content for them, and continue investing in creating value.
– Amanda Milligan, Head of Marketing, Stacker
8) Collect “voice of the customer” data.
If you aren’t already collecting “voice of the customer” data and also taking action – start immediately. Create a feedback loop so that your customers are being heard and that they can see you’re taking action with their thoughts and opinions. Data privacy will continue to hinder our ability to easily collect data, so your best bet is to go directly to your audience to understand what they want from you. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate, expensive program. Start small with feedback surveys and build from there.
– Katie Robbert, CEO of Trust Insights, trustinsights.ai
9) Every overarching marketing plan should have a campaign spoke colored green.
The White House’s hard-won legislation that earmarks $369+ billion to address climate change should be a real force in 2023. I know, I know, it seems like every year for the past 10 years has been THE year that we finally get serious about climate change … then nothing meaningful happens. With that caveat dispensed, I believe Earth’s new journey starts in 2023. Whether your brand cooks pizza, protects your IT infrastructure from bad guys or counsels companies on reputation — right, that would be consultancies like us — every overarching marketing plan should have a campaign spoke colored green.
–Lou Hoffman, CEO, The Hoffman Agency, www.Hoffman.com
10) Polish up your fundamentals.
Polishing up your fundamentals in marketing and PR is usually a good investment of time. Revisit your positioning and ensure it is unique. Make sure your messaging is tight. Find your corporate story.
If you engage in media relations, make sure your company is easy to cover: you have a well-organized newsroom, readily available contact information and remain highly responsive to media inquiries. When you earn a mention, have a plan and budget to capitalize on it, share it, and promote it across owned, shared, and paid media channels.
Similarly, for content marketing, redouble your efforts on content distribution. Set aside 5-10% of the content creation budget for distribution. Focus on building a subscribed email audience, because that’s the one channel where you have the most control. When you use third-party distribution channels, the goal is to get a little bit of their audience to become part of yours.
11) Don’t overlook Gen Z.
Pay closer attention to Gen Z. It’s a generation filled with smart, savvy, decisive consumers who don’t fall for clickbait and have enormous spending power. Their expectations for the companies they do business with (and work for) are high. Market to them the same way you do to other generations, and you’re likely to be ignored.
–Stephanie Stahl, General Manager, Content Marketing Institute
12) Use social media to connect with audiences.
People aren’t starved for content, they’re starved for connection. Brands that truly want to connect with current and potential customers need to focus less on pumping out content and more on having genuine conversations with their audiences. Social media is one of the best places to do this, especially if you’re using a tool like social listening to be proactive versus just reactive – THIS is what builds relationships and communities, and leads to effective social media marketing.
13) Mind the holes in your marketing funnel.
Your marketing funnel is full of holes these days, and your customers are “leaking” out due to the lack of consistency between your messages and what your PR, Public Affairs, Lobbying and employees are doing and saying. To plug the leaks, you need to do more research and master GA4, if you haven’t already, to better understand the real attribution model.
– Katie Paine, CEO, Paine Publishing
14) Be agile.
For 2023, the best advice I have for brands is to embrace change but also be agile to adapt to the growing challenges we are seeing in the industry. From industry to economic, and even platform changes, our industry is in flux to the point where one day is not the same as the next. As marketing professionals, it is not only about being a student of the field but a fluent expert in navigating the rapid changes and expectations we are seeing.
–Karen Freberg, Professor in Strategic Communication and Director of The Bird’s Nest
15) Cater to your audience.
Your audience thinks less about your company or brand than you think they do. Develop a deep understanding of your audience and their needs, then create content and experiences that cater to them. Do that well, and your audience will think about your company or brand as much as you’d like them to.
– Dennis Shiao, founder of B2B marketing agency Attention Retention LLC
16) Know your options.
Every public relation and marketing decision-maker should stay abreast of new technology and capabilities with the platforms currently utilized and new platforms. Get your demos and see how things work. Don’t become antiquated and left behind. Know what is out there, what works for your business, and what you absolutely do not want to be bothered with. You don’t need to activate every option, but you should know what your options are when it comes to social media, marketing tools, and customer service platforms. You always have the option to not activate or enroll, but you should stay informed to always make the best decisions for your business.
17) Make your content accessible.
Marketing and communications professionals can expand their reach by simply doing one thing. And that’s creating accessible content because you give your audience more choices for interacting with your brand. Just get started by captioning your videos, using proper headings in website content, and adding image descriptions to your images.
–Meryl K. Evans, Accessibility Marketing Consultant, meryl.net
18) Never stop testing.
Measure the performance of your marketing messages and never stop testing. A landing page or an email sequence didn’t perform well? Don’t just toss it in the trash and create a new asset from scratch. Analyze the stats (engagement rates, click-through rates, heatmaps, etc.), keep the parts that resonated, change the parts that fell flat, and test it against the original one. That’s the only guaranteed way to achieve better results.
–Gill Andrews, conversion copywriter, web consultant and author of Making Your Website Work
19) Social media turmoil means you should take a closer look at which channels you focus on.
While I don’t believe the ‘elders’ of social media (Facebook or Twitter) are going away completely any time soon, I do think the turmoil in and on Meta and Twitter makes way for social start-ups and smaller social media platforms. As communicators and marketers, we know there can be value in new platforms, but we will need to be ever-vigilant about platform safety. In addition, we must continuously measure the outcome of our efforts, so we aren’t spending precious resources and time on ineffective channels.
–Tressa L. Robbins, MPRCA, VP Client Onboarding, Burrelles
20) Be surgical with your PR Efforts.
In 2023, double down on targeted storytelling and outreach. Layoffs have affected the media landscape just like we’re seeing in tech. Unfortunately, that means there are even fewer reporters to produce an overwhelming number of stories. So take the time to research journalists for your media lists, prioritize building relationships over the number of pitches, and remain patient. It will pay off in the long run.
–Tamara Sykes, Outreach Manager, Stacker
21) 2023 is the year to invest in – not cut – marketing.
Economic threats are looming, but I’d urge marketers not to cut budgets in 2023 if they can help it. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is the year to invest – in new ideas and new platforms, for starters. It’s true that companies who stay the course or, better, recommit to marketing will come out of a recession stronger than competitors. Now is the time to take a hard look at everything, throw out what’s not working, and be creative. New opportunities abound – from the fresh wave of content creators emerging, more influencer opportunities for B2B marketers, or new ad platforms (from Amazon to Marriott). And with the employment environment starting to shift just a little from the red-hot seller’s market of the past year or two, 2023 is also an excellent year to invest in talent.
–Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO, Crenshaw Communications
22) Know who you are as a brand.
Know who you are as a brand and allow that to drive your actions. Our world is fraught with uncertainty and change, but a strong DNA can be your North Star guiding your decisions and actions in every area of your business. It is important to have this foundation, communicate it and, most importantly, live it. The world and systems will continue to change, but when you are anchored in the truth of who you are as a brand and what you value, you can navigate the storms with confidence.
–Karen Swim, Founder, Words For Hire, wordsforhirellc.com
23) Promote your owned media as earned media.
And my advice? You’ve spent a lot of time (and probably money) creating your owned media, also known as content. Why not get more out of it by turning it into earned media through PR using a media relations approach? Content such as thought leadership posts on your blog can be pitched to industry publications, for example. Then you can share those earned media articles on social media.
And, be sure to follow all of these smart folks for great advice throughout the year.
What Advice Will You Focus on As You Make Marketing and PR Plans for 2023?
What do your marketing and PR plans for 2023 include? Whatever your goals may be, be sure to revisit your plan periodically to ensure you’re still headed in the right direction.
About the author: You’ll find Michelle Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations and communications consultant, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Attorney at Work, Freelancers Union and more. She is the co-host of #PRLunchHour on Twitter Spaces and is the founder and host of #FreelanceChat on Twitter. In addition, Michelle was named among the top 10 most influential PR professionals by Commetric and ranked no. 3 on the PR Measurement Twitter Influencer Index in 2021.