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Strategy

2024 Q1 marketing cheat sheet: 5 key insights for your strategy

Amongst digital marketers, it’s a well-worn cliché that the industry never stands still. Staying on top of all of the latest trends, changes, events and key dates is a bit of an uphill battle.

Well, to make things a little easier in Q1, we’ve done some of the leg work for you!

These five insights from our team are sure to help you get off to a great start in 2024.

1. Awareness is not just for Christmas

We know budgets get stretched in many businesses to maximise Christmas sales, but January is not the time to slow down. While consumers may be seeking to cut back or reduce unnecessary spends in the few weeks that follow, it’s important not to lose momentum, and any additional opportunity to secure their attention, trust and loyalty should be seized.

We talk a lot about retaining loyalty through useful, cost-friendly means in our blog on marketing during a downturn, but in short, there are lots of ways to keep awareness flowing without bruising the bottom line.

Keep paying attention to your customers — what are they saying on social media? What are their concerns and challenges right now? How are they engaging with your posts? You know that the cost of living crisis will be acutely felt post-festive season, so let them know you’re on their side.

This could be discounts and deals, but it could also be reliable, trustworthy insights and information. Keep the great content coming, because this keeps you front and centre, engages them and means that when they are ready to spend, they’ll remember you.

Be sure to react and respond to comments on your social feeds, for example — it’s a great way to humanise your brand, something that’s key in 2024.

2. Keep on top of 2024’s key dates and awareness days (but don’t overdo it)

Public service announcement: in 2024, Easter falls in Q1! Being caught short by these sorts of events is any marketer’s worst nightmare. In your industry, there’s likely to be a number of niche awareness days — National Ice Cream For Breakfast Day, anyone? (That’s 3 February, by the way.)

Whilst you won’t want to jump on irrelevant awareness days, cherry picking a few to join in with is just a simple way of humanising your brand and growing amongst consumers interested in what your brand does. We all need a little more funny, non-salesy content in our lives.

There are a number of key dates coming up in Q1 2024 that you might want to keep on your radar.

January

  • Dry January (#DryJanuary)

  • Veganuary (#Veganuary)

  • 22nd: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (#CervicalCancerPrevent)

  • 25th: Burns Night

  • 27th: Holocaust Memorial Day (#HolocaustMemorialDay, #LightTheDarkness)

February

  • L.B.G.T.+ History Month (#LGBTPlusHM)

  • 4th: Yorkshire Pudding Day (sorry, we couldn’t resist)

  • 5th: National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2024)

  • 10th: Chinese New Year

  • 13th: Pancake Day (#PancakeDay)

  • 14th: Valentine’s Day

  • 18th: BAFTA Film Awards

March

  • Women’s History Month (#WomensHistoryMonth)

  • 1st: St David’s Day

  • 8th: International Women’s Day (#IWD24)

  • 10th: Mother’s Day in the UK (#MothersDay)

  • 10th: Start of Ramadan

  • 17th: St Patrick’s Day

  • 20th: First day of spring

  • 22nd: World Water Day (#WorldWaterDay)

  • 29th: Good Friday

  • 31st: Easter Sunday

  • 31st: British Summer Time starts (clocks go forward at 1am)

3. Grow your first-party data

Collecting your consumers’ data is becoming more challenging, making it harder to personalise marketing activity. If you know any paid media pros — or you are one yourself — you’ll be well aware of the fact that interest-based targeting options are disappearing at a rate of knots.

Consumer attitudes, legislation, OS updates and third-party cookies changes will continue this trend throughout 2024. It’s third-party data out, first (and zero)-party data IN.

So, why not get off to the best possible start in Q1? We’ve actually written a guide on how to get started with a zero and first-party data strategy, as well as a white paper on managing privacy and tracking.

4. Use the Q1 slowdown to steal a long-term march

The quietest months for retail and e-commerce are January and February, and with cost-of-living pressures showing no sign of abating, this is likely to be truer than ever.

But consumers aren’t stopping their spending altogether, even if brands are reigning in their digital activity. Doesn’t this present the perfect time to shout the loudest and reclaim your share of industry voice? The slow-down won’t last, so use this time wisely.

Social media advertising, PPC and email will be your go-to digital channels for ramping up short-term visibility. However, there are other ways to leverage these fallow months to get to know your audience even more, benefitting you in the longer term.

For example, SEO-led changes to your website — both technical and content-focused — aren’t usually ‘quick-win’ and can take a few months to deliver their fruits, but you’ll be in a great place for Q3 and Q4.

After all, you don’t have to pay for those organic search results spots, and by working in tandem with your always-on paid campaigns, you’ll be increasing your slice of the search engine visibility pie, covering off this incredibly important consumer touchpoint.

5. Get ahead now

Plan for the year — of course it’s obvious, and yes, there will be things you cannot yet account for. But, in its most basic form, you will have an idea of what you want to achieve. If the festive fun got in the way of formulating this into some sort of plan, then, now is the time to do it.

Key sales periods and seasonal considerations first: the easy, known, timely things you know well. Consider launches, expansion and growth targets. Think about your industry broadly: are there any impending regulations, rules or external factors that might need factoring into your plans?

While we’re on Q1, that doesn’t mean you can’t be pencilling in things like your summer campaigns. Yes, Black Friday might feel like a million miles away, but now’s a good time to think about any campaign ideas and deals you didn’t run with last time (because you started late!).

Christmas planning for retail and e-commerce starts in July for a lot of brands. Too late, baby.

Does this all sound a little like hard work?

Then maybe we can do some of the heavy lifting for you in 2024.

Our award-winning team covers all digital marketing specialisms — social media, branding, PPC, SEO, content, PR, email, e-commerce and web development.

If you could do with a helping hand staying ahead of the curve this year, drop us a line today!

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Team Amy K

Amy

Head of Brand & Content

Amy joined in 2014 to set up our Content department. She now heads up a growing Brand and Content team, utilising over 13 years’ experience to deliver brand awareness through targeted, multi-channel copy. As well as engaging content for websites and blogs, Amy delivers PR strategies and tone of voice exploration, helping clients to communicate the purpose and values of their brand with maximum impact.

Post by

Team Johnny

Johnny

Content Strategist

Johnny has been working magic with words at Extreme since 2016, with a particular focus on SEO content strategies. Fancy taking your organic search visibility up a notch? He's your guy.

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