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By Tom Wozniak, Head of Marketing – published on on 12/28/20

For marketers, 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges. When the daily lives and routines of virtually every consumer are disrupted for a long period of time, many traditional marketing strategies and tactics that required only minor tweaks and optimizations in past years had to be changed significantly or even simply put on hold in some cases. The idea that “this is the way we have always done it” became more problematic than ever, and marketers who didn’t adapt often saw their campaigns and strategies underperform — sometimes dramatically.

As the year progressed, marketers found ways to evolve with the changes in their industry and the world in general. New ideas and channels were tested and existing programs were updated to accommodate changes in buying behavior. However, now that the end of the year is fast approaching, marketers have a new challenge: planning and strategizing for 2021.

Setting up a marketing strategy for the next year is always a challenge. We have to make some estimates and hypotheses about how the business will change and grow and how best to address those changes through our marketing strategies. However, in most years the changes are not game changers and significant shifts are at least partially predictable. Certainty, various industries experience seismic and unforeseen shifts from one year to the next, but this certainly isn’t the norm for most businesses. 2021 is not like most other years.  

We’re almost certain to enter the new year with uncertainties about the economy (both in the U.S. and globally), the business outlook across many industries and the realities of work and home life in a world we hope to be in the process of opening back up — or at least have an idea of when that time will be on the horizon. Will things get back to “normal” next year? Will people start to go back to work in their corporate offices? Will business travel pick back up? Will consumers start dining out, going to movies, shopping in stores, attending concerts and sporting events as much as they once did? And if so, when?

Basically, we simply don’t have answers to any of those questions and aren’t likely to as we head into 2021. Despite the uncertainty, marketers are still building strategies and making plans for the next year. Here are three key things to keep in mind as we head into the unknown of the new year that should help you build a more effective marketing strategy for 2021.

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Tom Wozniak heads up Marketing and Communications for OPTIZMO Technologies.

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