While 2020 might not have been what marketers expected it to be, we can all agree that some valuable lessons were learned along the way.
It's true, marketers are no strangers to navigating challenges— but this year especially proved just how creative, adaptable, and responsive they can be in times of uncertainty.
That’s why we caught up with these nine marketing leaders to get their take on what valuable lessons they learned in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:
"The number one lesson I learned (and candidly the first piece of advice I offer to anyone who’s asking) is to tie your marketing programs as close as possible to the money. We did a lot of pivoting in 2020, we shifted live events to become virtual, we adjusted our ad spend, we adapted our ideal customer profile, we even changed up what products & features we lead within our go-to-market strategy. All of that agility would have been for naught if we hadn’t relied heavily on how those changes would affect our ability to produce sales pipeline. To give a few examples, we re-evaluated our ICP because our top personas weren’t the people buying during a pandemic, we adjusted our targeting strategies for event invitations rather than assuming we could copy & paste the same strategies from live programs, and most importantly - we changed how we sold our Demand Generation team’s value internally. Our conversations became about highlighting the value of holistic marketing influence rather than just looking at our last touch attribution on pipeline. We sold the vision to our sales team that some of the strongest impact marketing can provide is to influence 90%+ of all opportunities sourced and renewals in quarter - and we learned how to speak about influence in a way that resonates with our sales counterparts."
Director of Demand Generation
"It might sound simple, but I think one of the most crucial marketing lessons learned this year was the importance of being authentic and genuine. With a global pandemic, racial injustice and inequality, economic turmoil, and elevated levels of stress; marketers needed to have both a high emotional intelligence (EQ) and creative intelligence (CQ). That meant they needed to really take a critical look at how each touchpoint showed they were listening, understanding and being supportive. Those are the skills that redefined marketing in 2020."
VP of Content and Community
"We all deserve a pat on the back for making it through 2020. This year was stressful, and it felt like life was throwing us a barrage of curveballs. Some we could handle with ease and grace, and others knocked us down way too hard, and the recovery was distressing. With this, I learned to lead with empathy and compassion. We never really know someone’s current challenges and hardships, so now more than ever, we need to have an abundance of empathy and compassion for our customers, co-workers, friends, family, and most importantly ourselves."
VP of Marketing
"After analyzing thousands of martech stacks it’s become very apparent to me that marketing teams are not making the most of their martech stacks. 2020’s impact on marketing budgets has forced marketing leaders to re-evaluate the ROI of their martech investments. It’s likely that many tools are underutilized and only a few team members are actively using them. Ditch the tools you’re not using and upskill team members on the ones that are already providing value."
VP of Marketing
“Marketers need to remain flexible and agile when it comes to mastering their craft within new areas of marketing; whether that be social media platforms such as TikTok or exploring the possibilities of virtual events or video streams due to the global pandemic. Now is not the time to cling to traditional marketing plans or set aside budget for large live events; it’s time to try new tactics and invest more in video and digital.”
Senior Director of Global Brand & Communications
"One of the key things we've learned in 2020 is the importance of keeping your campaigns and messaging nimble. More now than ever, news cycles evolve and shift so quickly that a campaign launched at the beginning of the week can become irrelevant or tone-deaf by mid-week. With the increased screen time of consumers, people are also interacting online more than ever. Making sure your brand is available to engage at the right times, or stay silent when necessary, has moved from a best practice to an essential part of any successful brand strategy."
Senior Marketing Manager
“Keeping marketing relevant to the current climate, whether that be political or due to the pandemic was really important this year. For many people, 2020 was a very stressful year, and marketing efforts have to be cognizant of that. Since Farther is a wealth management platform we saw a surge of clients coming to us for financial expertise in setting up emergency funds, long-term growth, and goal-based accounts. It was important to me to not only acknowledge the pandemic in our ad campaigns, but also shift our creative to be empathetic of the current situation. We did this by incorporating people wearing masks, such as the barista in our commercial, and by shifting language in our travel scene to illustrate that it would be in the future.”
Director of Marketing
“Read the room. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, so be aware of what’s happening throughout the world and tasteful with how you position your product or service. Keep tabs on the news, discuss events with your team, and create material that’s thoughtful and considerate of the times.”
Founder and CEO
“We took the opportunity in 2020 to double down and try to grow our business. We believed in the hard work we did as a brand leading into this year, and rather than scaling back in the uncertainty of the pandemic, we took a risk and pushed harder as an organization. We combined our growth efforts with elements of digging deeper into the roots of our brand and giving back to communities of strong, underserved women around the country that have suffered tremendously throughout 2020. We learned a lot about trusting the strength of our community. We learned that it's important to believe in the hard work of the team and take risks, and lastly to continue preserving a sense of humility along the way and put some positivity back into the world.”