How to Finish Marketing Strong in 2020

girl getting ready to sprint on track

The year 2020 has been for the books for people across the globe with marketers being no exception. Across every industry, there have been multiple pivots requiring all companies to be agile. This year has required pivot after pivot, underscoring the importance of agility when it comes to marketing strategy and marketing campaigns.

Although it has a lot so far, there’s still a lot more to be done from all angles of marketing—social media, email marketing, and digital campaigns. A little more than halfway through the year, we can take lessons learned in 2020 as an opportunity to refine our focus to make these coming months work for us and be positioned to crush it in2021.

But where, exactly, should you hone in? Marketers have about a million directions they can head right now. Do you focus on hyper-personalization? Real-time experiences? ROI visualization?

Based on NewsCred here are the top 2020 marketing initiatives:


Taking a step back and looking at the report, the three most illuminating responses are maximizing marketing budget, accelerating content production, and increasing marketing output.

#1: Shrink your time-to-market for content marketing

With each day provided new challenges and new opportunities the time-to-market needs to be expedited, especially when it comes to content production. If marketing campaigns don’t hit the market quickly enough, especially on social media, campaigns that had countless hours behind them are suddenly irrelevant even though teams scrambled to put together marketing materials.

Today, you want to be able to get marketing strategies into the market as quickly as possible. Not only does this help you stay relevant, but it also means your internal processes are working like a well-oiled machine.

How do you shrink time-to-market? Turn to tech and teams.

  • Tech: With the right marketing technology, you can automate tasks and streamline processes and communication. With the latest tool, you can solve many of your biggest headaches. If custom imagery is a pain point for your team, for example, consider a visual content production platform, like StudioNow.
  • Shortening your content production time-to-market might not mean adding new martech to your stack, though. Instead, it could mean integrating your existing solutions to banish silos, smooth bottlenecks, or eliminate redundancies, like using accurate creative briefs and a DAM.
  • Teams: What can you outsource? Leaning on specialists and freelancers in certain areas—whether that’s creating the custom imagery you need or integrating your martech stack—can lighten your team’s load so they can focus on their core work of campaign strategy and content management.

#2: Get a handle on your ROI measurement

Marketing leaders expect their budgets to increase in 2021(this study was done pre-COVID-19). How will that money be allocated? Good metrics and campaign strategy will help decide where that money should go.

As marketing processes and outputs get increasingly digitalized, there is no excuse for not tracking everything. If you don’t know which assets, which channels, and which markets are performing best for you, it’s going to be impossibly hard to optimize your marketing spend in 2021 and justify the budget for 2022.

Not only does this matter for the CMO level, but it’s important to individual contributors as well. CMOs want to make sure they’re allocating dollars where that deliver ROI on different projects and marketing campaigns.

But if you’re boots on the ground, you need to make sure you have a way to prove the value of what you do. Figure out which metrics matter most for what you do and, just as importantly, how to measure them. That way, when 2021’s budget starts getting doled out, you’ll have proof of how you can put that money to good use.

#3: Streamline your content production process

This means more than just getting something created and then deployed. This means making sure you’re complying with brand guidelines and developing assets with the right stakeholders’ approvals. All told, content production is a more complex and nuanced process than ever before.

Lastly, as consumers ask for real-time interaction and personalized communication from your brand, your content needs to be more versatile than ever.

With so many moving pieces it can get easily overwhelmed, so it’s important to look back on different marketing projects.

Make sure to look at:

  • The types of content you’re creating (e.g., ads, social posts, blogs, white papers, eBooks, infographics)
  • The resources you use in that content, including assets you create during the production process for those pieces and the internal asset pool employees can pull
  • The approvals and governance used in those processes (who are the stakeholders and do they match brand guidelines?)
  • The distribution channels you deploy content
  • The audiences you’re trying to reach—and how you’re going to reach them
  • The marketing technology you use as part of the content production process
  • The way you’re measuring your content’s success

Once you feel like you have a good overview of your content production process, you’re ready to start improving it. Where are the bottlenecks? Where are you spending too much and getting too little? Where is content languishing awaiting the right approvals? Where are brand guidelines unclear?

As marketing teams have ramped up so dramatically over the last decade, very few have taken the time to step back and get a bird’s eye view. The result?

Cobbled-together content production processes that don’t serve anyone but your competitors. And you’re working to optimize your content production process, don’t be afraid to do away with the old ways to make space for the new. Just because something worked even a few years ago doesn’t mean it’s your best option today. With new tools and processes available, you can build a stronger, smoother, more streamlined content production process.

Of course, one of the benefits of improving your content production process is shorter time-to-market, lowering marketing spend, freeing up more time for your creatives, and clearing approvals of your stakeholders’ desks, all while bolstering your brand identity.

2020 isn’t over yet. Start focusing on using this unprecedented year to make unprecedented improvements in your department. On January 1, you’ll have a process in place for success.

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