by Lisa Zone

November 19, 2020

This is part one in a four-part series about planning your 2021 marketing communications initiatives. Click here to be notified when each part is released.

If I were a betting woman, my guess is your 2020 marketing plan took a detour somewhere around March and never quite got back on track. Events went virtual. Ad buys were cancelled. Product launches got postponed. Sales projections went by the wayside.

But you probably also learned some things too, especially on the digital front. This year, we all spent way more time on our computers, phones and watching streaming services (I’m still not over Tiger King!), which means marketers now have lots more data to learn from – and to build next year’s programs against. And even though next year still feels very much in flux, we can be fairly confident in the fact that we’ll still be spending a lot more time online, and that many of the trends that emerged this year will carry over into 2021.

To further the point: According to eMarketer, the number of monthly US live video viewers, video game viewers and subscription over-the-top (OTT) users will experience the largest pandemic-related bump this year, and Esports and podcasts are also gaining users. (Check out the chart for more.) These “pandemic bumps” are likely to carry to into next year (though admittedly the growth will probably slow down somewhat).

So while we don’t have a crystal ball to see into 2021 (where is Miss Cleo when you need her?), there are some ways you can use 2020 research and data to inform your activities for next year. In this blog series, we’ll cover:

  • How to use your 2020 digital performance metrics to inform next year’s goals – In this post, Allison Wood will take a look at what you can learn from doing a channel performance audit and review of your target audience’s behavior. She’ll also provide some guidance about how to set your YoY performance metrics goals.
  • How to analyze and categorize your content to maximize your thought leadership program – Next, Nicolle Huffman will walk you through how to look at this year’s thought leadership content through the lens of what will amplify your efforts next year. Reviewing analytics, categorizing content and assigning ownership are all topics she’ll cover to get you on your way to developing your 2021 thought leadership strategy.
  • How to use free research tools to get smarterLast, Tom Wells will open the kimono and share a few of our favorite *free* research tools that can help you understand what your competition has been up to. This info can help you in a number of ways – from determining how much you’ll need to spend to be competitive to identifying how your creative can stand out from the pack. There are lots of good tips packed into this post.

Click here to be the first to know when each blog is published.

What will next year bring? Only time will tell for sure. But there are some educated guesses we can make using trends and data from this year. Interested in having us help you take a look back on this year to help you plan for next? Drop me a note or find me on Twitter or – as Miss Cleo would say – call me now and let’s get that planning started.