The month of December always evokes a sizeable amount of nostalgia and analysis, with plenty of optimism for the new year served alongside. So that’s exactly what we’re doing at Natives HQ this week, looking back at our January marketing plans and marvelling at the detours 2020 has brought us.
We left our office desks back in March, with a view to regroup in just a couple of weeks, but almost 10 months later (does it feel like years to you, too?), we’re still writing blogs from kitchen islands, collaborating on whitepapers from various dining tables and hosting webinars from different corners of the country. But we’re proud; of the work we’ve done with clients, created for partners and built to help the sector, despite much of it being unknown to us in our 2019 content planning sessions. So with that being said, here are our favourite resources from the last 12 whirlwind months and those that should definitely be in your marketing arsenals.
Like previous years, but with even more of an emphasis in 2020, student insights have been at the forefront of everything that we have done. With circumstances and sentiment changing daily through this pandemic, our student insights and tracker grew to a core position in our content. We couldn’t possibly go through all the student attitudes we’ve unearthed during this project but for a quick insight into what we learned from 10 months of tracking student behaviours and concerns (and how this impacts you), head this way.
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On a similar note, have you kept up to date with our flash surveys and reports? This year, the lines of communication with students have been wide open, whether it’s asking about mental health, global politics or the Clearing process, it’s never been more important to understand what they are thinking and feeling. In this particular flash survey, we looked at what students want to see in advertising. Face masks or group hugs? We found that student are more than three times more likely to prefer an image that does not contain face masks or social distancing. Check out the other findings here.
Institutions have had to pivot, then pivot again. We waved goodbye to physical events, but not to that all-important connective and emotive experience. Here’s a whitepaper that dives into the practicality and importance of throwing your own Virtual Open Days, with none of the compromises.
Another repositioning we’re all talking about: the end of the prospectus-era. Our experts talk wasted budgets, and how now’s the time to swap out printed for personalisation.
Earlier this year, we opened our virtual HQ doors to the TikTok team and delivered an insightful, exclusive Content and Advertising Masterclass for Student Marketers who are wanting to go big on TikTok. You can now watch that on-demand and since then we’ve also released a popular Student Marketers’ Guide to TikTok. The platform has gone from strength to strength this year, and according to this year’s (not yet released) National Clearing Survey, one in three students are using TikTok on a daily basis, an increase of 1,167% from last year. So, here is everything you could possibly need to get started.
While students’ wellbeing and mental health have been an important focus during this turbulent time, one in three Clearing students reporting that mental health is barrier against going to unviersity, turning the spotlight inwards is equally as crucial. The relentless crisis comms, never-ending changes in national lockdowns and an army of burnt-out, stressed students, have certainly made the student marketer’s job a difficult, tiresome feat. We put together this talk at Think Student Online around the ways you can support yourselves, and your team, in order to continue supporting your students. Watch the session here, or discover the resources and workshops now available.
Talking of guides and supporting the marketers
A lighter entry to this list, but a favourite no less. More WFH and less WTF; Net Natives’ guide to working from home. And for even more home-working support, our friends at Akero also released the Asset Management platform to help smooth remote working between teams. We know it’s been a transition (for us too) but with these handy resources and platforms, we hope they’ve been helpful while moving from the boardroom to the living room.
This year may always exist in our minds with a Covid lens all over it, but 2020 was a pivotal, painful year for another reason too; systematic racism and inequality. With the Black Lives Matter movement rightly at the helm of the agenda for many this year, we took to our student panel to help create important resources for the sector. From focus groups to actionable insights, educate yourselves with what students want from institutions and what these Black students told us.
And a final favourite, Think Innovation Report; Looking ahead from this year and beyond our sector, our Advertising Director inspired us (and you too) to think outside the box and be brave with your moves. Something that will be more and more crucial as the amount of online whitespace reduces. Will you be trying something brave in 2021?
To pick just our stand-out resources from this challenging year (we know we’re biased, okay) was a challenge in itself because this article doesn’t even begin to acknowledge all the thought-provoking conversations we’ve had, the work that’s gone on behind the scenes to make these insights possible, and the inspiration and motivation we’ve gained from working with you and watching you pivot your strategies to support your students and each other.. But we hope these are resources you can take away with you and learn something from. As ever, we’re always open to ideas and suggestions, so get in touch if there’s something you want to see from us next year.
We hope you have a wonderful Christmas (whether it’s partially on Zoom or not) and we’ll see you in 2021.