As you create your 2021 marketing plan, think fresh

Robin Emiliani  /  Nov 06, 2020

How to create a kicka$$ 2021 marketing plan

We’re well into Q4, and the Year of Our Lady Chaos is drawing toward its end. Which means it’s time for the familiar comforts of snow-dusted pines, homemade cookies, and screaming controversies about whatever Starbucks decides to do with its holiday cups.

Ho, ho, ho, merry fisticuffs.

For marketers, it’s also time for planning. Looking to the future. Asking what’s coming in 2021 and how we’ll meet the challenges on the horizon. Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that those challenges aren’t always predictable.

Which is why—now more than ever—it’s time to take risks, think fresh, and keep up momentum. Because companies that push pause, slash budgets, and stop taking risks during hard times? They fall behind. (Or so says research from the Harvard Business Review.)

So, what kind of risks should you be thinking about as you sketch out your 2021 marketing plan and budget? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Account-based marketing

Are you tired of us banging the ABM drum, siren-calling to you to get on board? Too bad, because ABM is here to stay and here to make your complicated B2B sales funnels easier. If you haven’t already aligned your sales and marketing teams to target accounts, it’s time. Here’s how to start.


86% of consumers say personalization has an impact on their buying decisions. And yet, a whopping 87% of marketers say they’re not using customer data to its full potential.

2021 is the time to nip that in the bud.

Because personalization is all about honing in on the right customers, spending less money on the wrong customers, and embracing the age-old adage “work smarter, not harder.”

As usual, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just look at Amazon: 35% of their sales come from their personalization engine.

Interactive marketing

From calculators to quizzes to interactive infographics, interactive marketing can drive a lot of engagement. In fact, studies say it generates twice as much engagement as its static counterparts.

And before you B2B marketers skim on past thinking this is just for B2C, consider this: 42% of B2B buyers say interactive content is one of their top three preferred content types.

Bold, unique creative

The time for drab colors and boring creative is over. If you want attention from a burned-out world, you’ll need to go bold. Freshen up your brand. Re-design your website. Push the boundaries of what makes you unique. Share positive, hopeful messages. And don’t be afraid to take some risks. Now more than ever, people appreciate passion, novelty, creativity, and hope.

Support your community

It’s no secret that we all need some positivity in our lives right now. So it should come as no surprise that 77% of people surveyed said they feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society right now.

So, as you plan for 2021, it’s time to ask: how can your brand give back? And how can your advertising showcase what you’re doing? Because right now we all need to hear about it.

Digital sales

In-person sales options are an endangered species and with a covid vaccine still on the distant horizon, 2021 planning should be focused on digital. Have your sales teams adopted the right digital tools? What other tools do they need? How can you enhance their capabilities as they take advantage of virtual events, LinkedIn, online networking, etc.?

Strategy, strategy, strategy

No matter how great your tools, how smart your salespeople, how gorgeous your creative, without strategy, marketing fails.

Covid or no covid. Election or no election. Murder hornets or no murder hornets. Strategy should always be given ongoing space and budget. It’s the most important thing we do for our clients and the most important thing you can do for your audiences.

And if you need some help? With strategy, creative, or anything else marketing-related? As always, we’re here for you. Our goal is to make you the hero—no matter how chaotic and unpredictable of a year we’re all up against.


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