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As the current business landscape continues to be buffeted by an unprecedented global pandemic and the economic impact that is following close behind, it can seem increasingly difficult to forecast or plan for the future. Yet, marketers and other business executives must move forward. And, while it may seem counterintuitive to maintain or even increase your company’s marketing efforts during a time of unprecedented upheaval, therein lies the opportunity for those who can look beyond surface level thinking and familiar constraints.

One of the biggest challenges for companies going into 2021 is how to account for events.  Are they going to set aside money for live events, digital events, or create their own new event(s)?  If the answer is no, where will they redirect those budget funds?  Will the budget remain intact or get cut?  How do they justify the same spending? There is deep uncertainty about marketing planning and how demand generation can be achieved without the benefit of in-person events.

To address this, many organizations are looking to identify both how much should they budget for marketing, and the best way to distribute funds. Forward-thinking organizations do not plan to stop marketing and growth initiatives altogether; certainly not at a time when they need them most.

Importantly, many studies support this counter-intuitive approach. For example, when researchers at MIT studied the financial returns of companies that invested in marketing (versus divesting) during recessions, the data showed that these companies had a competitive advantage once the economy rebounded.  A Cornell University study bore similar results, finding that companies that spent more on marketing during economic downturns fared better in the long run. According to Gary Robbins, Senior Partner at Frost & Sullivan, “For those that are not afraid to invest, recessions can bring real opportunity to widen the gap, or even leapfrog the competition. I have witnessed this firsthand.”

On September 17th at 11:00am ET, 8:00am PT, Frost & Sullivan will present a timely and important webinar, Marketing in 2021: Uncertainty or Opportunity? This event has been designed to help organizations leverage the hard-to-fathom marketing opportunities and reinvention possibilities at hand. Marketing thought leaders from an array of industries will discuss and debate strategies needed to build a viable (and possibly daring) 2021 marketing budget, accurately assess the big strategic picture (we’ll move beyond marketing here) and capitalize on clear trends like deepening customer relationships and the customer experience, doubling down on digital marketing and social media initiatives, and creating new opportunities and partnerships to propel your organization forward.

Our expert panel will address questions like the following:

  • How can you plan and budget for marketing events and tradeshows in 2021?
  • What are we learning from a post COVID world? What’s working – and what’s not?
  • How do you sell your marketing budget—and big ideas– to senior leadership?
  • What new marketing trends and tactics should we expect to see in 2021?

To our seasoned team, the implications for marketers are clear: this is your time to shine.  As social distancing and other constraints continue, it’s never been more important for marketers from both large and small companies to become more nimble, creative and diversified…and to turn marketing uncertainty into opportunity.

Patricia JacobyPatricia Jacoby

Patricia Jacoby is a Senior Editor, Marketing, at Frost & Sullivan

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