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Strategic Pivots: When’s The Right Time To Change A Marketing Strategy?

In marketing, the status quo doesn’t always meet the mark. As your business evolves, keeping your marketing strategies fresh and relevant is key to staying ahead of the competition.

However, pivoting just for pivoting’s sake is ineffective. Making a big change is a risk, and without sensible and strategic direction, your big plans will likely come back around and prove unsuccessful.

But with so much you could do or change, how do you know when it’s time for a brand pivot, and equally importantly, how can you ensure your pivot is successful? In today’s article, we’ll discuss the do’s and don’ts of pivoting your marketing strategy.

Types of Pivots

By definition, a pivot is any change in direction you make to enhance and improve your marketing strategy. There are many reasons a brand might decide a pivot is necessary. Maybe there are market pressures that inform a company’s strategic direction, or maybe the business wants to expand, shift, or change its approach to the target audience.

Not only are there many different reasons behind why a company might consider a pivot, there are also many types of pivots they must consider.

Here are a few types of strategic pivots:

  • Technological pivots: utilizing new technologies to enhance their marketing efforts

  • Customer/target audience pivots: making a shift as to who they will target their marketing efforts towards

  • Channel pivots: reconsidering the marketing channels they are using to engage with their intended target audience

  • Overall business pivots: beyond the marketing strategy itself, a business pivot might mean deciding to rethink the business model overall to one that is more effective or relevant to the target audience

While each type of pivot has its own risks and challenges, all four offer potential rewards for companies that are willing to take the leap. Those who successfully implement a pivot strategy can reap the benefits of increased sales, higher profits, and expanded market share.

When to Pivot

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits all answer to when a business should make a move when it comes to their marketing strategy. Timing and discernment are key, as leaders must determine whether they’ve given their current direction enough time and space to cultivate intended results.

But although every company is unique, there are certain things to keep your eye on as you decide when to pivot.

Firstly, keep your eye on market trends. No matter what market your company is a player in, you must watch industry trends, and the overall marketplace dynamic, closely, as well as consumer behavior as a whole. If the market is clearly demonstrating a pull in a certain direction, and customers are clearly seeking certain things, listen to the data, and draw your own conclusions. Determine how you want your brand to fit into the industry puzzle, so to speak.

Next, analyze your own data. Don’t leave it on the shelf. Look at how your current marketing campaign is performing, and how closely the data aligns with your company’s strategic marketing goals. If what you are doing isn’t matching up with the goals and objectives you are striving towards, it may be time for a change.

Before you call quits on your current approach though, be sure to consider how long you’ve been attempting your current approach. The data may indicate small tweaks that need to be made, but be carefully not to jump offboard too quickly if you’ve only just started on your current campaign. Give your campaign time to generate results before making conclusions.

Finally, look to your competition. You shouldn’t mirror your competitors just for the sake of it, but if your top competitor has recently undergone a big pivot, it’s worth looking at. Reflect on why they’ve made a move, and the role of their timing. From there, determine whether you should respond with a pivot of your own or not.

How to Pivot Successfully

Now that we’ve discussed some of the thought processes behind strategic marketing pivots, let’s look at the execution. In other words: how does a company pivot successfully?

In truth, successfully pivoting comes down to a few key leadership characteristics:

  • Flexibility: Pivoting is an active process, not a passive one. In order to successfully make a change, you must be willing to be flexible, by letting go of old ideas and plans, and testing out new ones. The reality is, you may not succeed right away, and further changes might be needed before you find the strategic marketing approach that fully meets the mark. Stay open, curious, and forward-thinking.

  • Clarity: Whether you pivot or not, your marketing efforts (and brand efforts as a whole, for that matter) must connect to your company’s goals. Before you even think about pivoting, reflect on the goals you have, and ensure that every marketing effort connects back to them. Intentionality is key.

  • Collaboration: Finally, don’t make decisions about a major decision like pivoting your marketing strategy alone. Collaborate with your executive team, your marketing partners, and perhaps even your target audience before you make a move. Take in their feedback and perspectives, and know that a successful pivot takes a team effort.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into deciding if, when, and how to pivot your marketing strategy. While the “right time” to change up a strategy is unique to each company and dependent on a list of factors, the key is to stay open to the possibilities, stay focused on your goals, and to stay aware of what’s occurring in the marketplace.

Still not sure if it’s time for your brand to pivot or not? Our team at CRAFT can help you make sure your marketing strategy is on the right track. Contact us today!

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