As vaccines continue to roll out and we continue to inch closer to an arrival upon “the new normal”, marketing leaders are preparing to adjust their marketing budgets on the fly in what will end up being a transition year. That said, there are certain principles that will guide the most successful marketing leaders this year.

DOUBLE DOWN ON WHAT’S WORKING.
This may seem obvious, but it seems in times of uncertainty marketing leaders can be hesitant to capitalize on what’s working and scale their efforts appropriately. Too often marketing leaders fall into the temptation of leaving “well enough” alone, but if the results are there it’s our responsibility as marketing leaders to find the means to capitalize on them.

DETERMINE WHAT’S NOT WORKING- AND WHY.
We’re all guilty of letting perpetually underperforming campaigns or channels continue to wither away instead of giving them the swift death it deserves. Save yourself the headache and cut off resources and reallocate them to the aforementioned group of over-performing marketing campaigns and channels. Once a campaign or channel has been given a fair shot (what that looks like should be determined ahead of time), it’s time to consider sunk cost and remember the “feed your lead dogs” mindset by reallocating those resources to top performers and new opportunities.

BUY LOW ON EVENT MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES.
This is significant. In-person events will make a comeback this year, and people will attend them in droves once the vaccines reach saturation point and everyone realizes that they can take a business-expensed trip away from the homes they’ve been largely stuck in for a year or longer. This presents an opportunity for marketing leaders to buy low on events and commit to sponsorships and partnerships in Q1 and Q2 at a discount before mass demand returns in earnest. The savviest of marketing leaders will go so far as to negotiate opt-out clauses to go along with those discounts in case the event is forced to go virtual and the impact of the campaign would be muted.

INVEST IN NEW CHANNELS AND OPPORTUNITIES.
While it’s critical to avoid falling into “Shiny Object Syndrome” with new channels, marketing leaders need to be proactive in their exploration of new channels and opportunities. Using Jim Collins’ “fire bullets before cannonballs” approach, this year is most certainly the time to test some of those theories your team has been kicking around on Zoom over the past year.

2021 will be a year that separates winners and losers at an unmatched rate. Not all businesses and brands will recover at the same rate. Marketing leaders that act boldly and quickly to capitalize on what’s working while taking calculated risks with the spoils of their early wins will have the best year. And remember, above all else, write that budget in pencil.

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