No amount of machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive modeling, or TV psychics could have predicted the events of 2020. A global pandemic. Closed borders. Stay-at-home orders. Not to mention home schooling and toilet paper shortages. No matter who you are or where you live, last year had huge impacts on both our personal and professional lives.
And while most of us — myself included — have firmly put 2020 in the rearview, it looks like some things will be sticking around and changing the way we work and market in 2021 and beyond.
Here to Stay: Limited Travel
We are all desperate to get out of the house and have a real vacation — or at the very least a weekend away for a change of scenery. But with quarantine requirements and people generally just wanting to stay safe, it doesn’t look like we are going anywhere anytime soon. Especially not to crowded in-person events with convention halls filled with strangers. And so, 2021 will continue to be Virtual Everything.
Yes, a lot of events were cancelled in 2020. But many still took place, and it was amazing to see how quickly marketers were able to pivot from live events to 100% virtual events. And we’re not just talking glorified webinars here. Through new, extended platforms like Bizzabo and Hopin, organizers are able to recreate the big show experience — keynotes, breakouts, booths, networking — that get people engaged. And seeing what they did in such a short period of time, I am excited to see what they can do in 2021 with more planning and preparation.
Thinking about hosting a virtual event? Need some inspiration or ideas on where to start?
Learn how ScienceLogic crafted a phenomenal virtual experience on this episode of DemandGen Radio.
Here to Stay: A Return to Relationships
In a year when no one could get together, the importance of relationship building became even more apparent. Connecting to people on that personal level is so important, especially when you can’t get together face to face. And marketers put in the work to establish and nurture those relationships.
In 2020, we saw marketing efforts shift away from mass email blasts to one of the few mediums that still allow marketers to be personal from a safe distance: direct mail. Integrations into tools like PFL and Sendoso continued to grow throughout the year, along with Account-Based Marketing campaigns that enable marketing and sales teams to apply an even more personal touch. We expect to see marketers continue to add direct mail into the marketing mix into the new year as events and other in-person activities remain limited.
Looking to add direct mail into the marketing mix?
Uncover some of the latest innovations in this interview with tactile marketing solution provider PFL’s chief marketing officer.
Here to Stay: Working from Home
With a predominantly remote workforce, DemandGen was well prepared for employees to work from home when businesses and offices were ordered to shut down in-person operations. It’s what we do every day. But what we — and everyone else — were not prepared for is working from home in a house full of other people, including kids attending Zoom school. And certainly our once perfectly balanced productivity took a hit while we adjusted to the new reality of working from home.
But we all adapted. I personally can attest I am far more productive working from home than I ever was in an office. Companies like Facebook and Google announced they will extend working from home until next summer. It seems like many organizations are realizing the benefits of working from home, from increased productivity and time savings to providing employees with improved flexibility and work life balance. For many of us, home will become our permanent primary workspace in 2021.
Struggling to remain focused and productive while working from home?
Check out this blog post for some helpful tips and tricks from a seasoned remote employee.
Please Go AWAY: Mass Email Blasts
One of the best things that ever happened to phones is the ability to identify “Spam Risk” calls with Caller ID. This week alone I probably received no fewer than six spam calls — everything from auto warranties to stimulus payments. Many of us feel the same way about mass email blasts. While they may be promoting a legitimate product or service, this type of spray-and-pray marketing does nothing but drag us all down. It causes spam filters to become more aggressive, which in turn has the potential to block other legitimate messages from coming through.
Going into 2021, it will be important to make sure that email communications are targeted to people who are engaged and have opted in to receive communications. Since those list sizes tend to be smaller, this approach can take some getting used to for volume marketers. But on the plus side, focusing on engaged records tends to drive higher campaign conversion and higher quality leads.
Want some ideas on how to stay out of email jail?
Check out this blog post to learn more about how to avoid getting caught up in spam filters.
No matter what 2021 ends up looking like, we hope that yours is happy and filled with success!
Nova Kopitar is a demand generation expert, specializing in results-focused lead management, nurturing, and scoring. As a DemandGen Senior Solutions Architect, she works closely with clients in areas including program alignment, nurture development, relationship management, resource planning, reporting and more. She is Marketo Business Certified and Technical Certified.