Marketing Perspectives on 2021 Planning

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Marketing leaders weigh-in on their vision for 2021 and how to approach planning for another non-traditional year.

Well, we’ve closed the book on two of the most non-traditional quarters of anyone’s career. 

Maybe you’re sighing in relief.

Maybe you’re giving yourself a pat on the back. 

Maybe you’re picking up the pieces.

One thing is for certain: the halfway mark means the beginning of next year’s planning, and this year is no exception. The show must go on, regardless of the degree to which a global health crisis changed your 1H plans. 

How are your marketing peers approaching planning for 2021? To start, there is a great deal of looking back to go forward.

Shelly Kulesza, the VP of Strategy for Thomson Reuters, Corporates has always viewed disruption through the lens of opportunity. “The COVID-19 pandemic hit us all with unique challenges that interrupted our original marketing plans and forced us to think beyond what we’ve always done, “ Kulesza said. “You could choose to look at this through a “woe is me” lens but I choose to take a positive viewpoint.”

She goes on to describe how the disruption was great for her team and embodied one of the Thomson Reuters values of, “challenging the status quo.” 

As Kulesza reflects on 2020, she doesn’t view it as an exception, but rather a breakthrough year. “We have broken through the way we have always done things and we are better for it, more efficient, and more in tune with how we can leverage Marketing to build better relationships with our customers versus just the traditional lead generation machine.“

Marina Antestenis, Director of Marketing at Comcast Business reaffirmed the need to expect the unexpected.  “It’s important that I set myself and my team up to be adaptable to the ever-changing demands of the market. The goal for us is to take key learnings from 2020 and apply them to our overall strategy in 2021. From my perspective, being agile will be important as we go into 2021 planning and to pivot whenever necessary given the environment we’re facing at that time.”

David Crane, Vice President of Marketing at Intentsify is acknowledging unknowns and embracing the uncertainty of 2021. “No one can forecast with much accuracy what the world will be like next year—economically or socially.” 

Crane is choosing to keep focused on what he can control. “To me, success won’t come from simply placing chips on certain channels or tactics, but rather from building a team ethos focused on efficiency, agility and creativity.”

When it comes to planning, pen-to-paper often equates to tactics and execution – an area that saw huge change as the pandemic decimated traditional field marketing schedules. 

So what does 2021 look like from a tactics perspective? Kulesza got specific, “2021 planning will incorporate virtual events as part of our core marketing mix as they have allowed us to reach more people with our message than traditional in-person events, we will be incorporating more of an ABM approach (1:few and 1:many) in areas beyond our Strategic Accounts as we are getting smarter about our targeting through improved data.” 

Latané Conant, CMO of 6Sense, was forthcoming about the need to think outside the box. “I know what I don’t want in 2021, and that’s to spend 12 hours a day on webinars! Seriously though, as we look ahead at what may be another year of fully remote work, I see it as an exciting challenge for marketers — creativity and bold ideas win in a digital world.”

David Crane is focused on ensuring his team has the skills to pivot when they need to. “The elements of a winning formula: scrappy, creative marketers with broad skills-sets; up-to-date market intelligence that pinpoints where to focus resources; and the tools most helpful in quickly executing strategies that must continuously evolve.” 

At Inverta, we bring years of experience to the process of marketing and campaign planning. Our strategies can pivot quickly, and we’ll help you develop an executable plan for the future, no matter how uncertain.

Stay tuned for a follow-up article on planning strategies that you can employ for 2021 as well as our 6th Virtual Networking Event: Perspectives on 2021 Planning on August 13, 2020.

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