For businesses and marketers across industries of all kinds, 2020 was a year filled with unprecedented challenges. The pandemic uprooted every aspect of our lives and, from an economic standpoint, the impact on companies’ marketing strategies and sales was often downright devastating. Businesses were forced to rethink the way they operated and marketed to their clientele in a consumer landscape that had become unrecognizable virtually overnight. 

The good news? After a dark and challenging year, the horizon looks quite bright. As severe as the economic downturn was over the past year, the opportunity for an equally dramatic uptick in business activity is within reach. Now is the time for marketers to infuse a healthy dose of optimism into their outreach strategies as the country – slowly but surely – again begins to flourish. In fact, if marketers choose to plan wisely now, the coming months have the potential to yield unprecedented high returns.

An Impending Increase in Economic Growth and Consumer Spending

According to AdAge, experts predict that in 2021, the U.S. will reach its fastest GDP growth rate in nearly 40 years. This forecasted increase in the country’s domestic output can be attributed to a few things:

  • A successful, accelerated vaccination schedule has encouraged the lifting of restrictions on businesses and a resumption of consumer activity.
  • Many consumers now have more personal savings and expendable income, thanks to stay-at-home orders curbing spending and stimulus checks creating greater available cash-on-hand.
  • Even as the coronavirus surged, millions of new small businesses were started last year – a strong indicator of underlying optimism for the economy.

Brand and Marketing Leaders Predict Increase in Budgets and Business Activity 

In February of this year, Forrester Research conducted a B2B brand and communications survey questioning brand and marketing leaders about their marketing strategies, plans and activities. More than 200 respondents participated, with more than half indicating they expect a return to pre-pandemic levels of business activity before the end of 2021. If that alone is not cause for optimism, more than half of respondents also cited an expectation for increased marketing budgets for multi-platform campaigns – including digital marketing, content marketing and social media outreach to consumers.

Prepare Now for Future Success

Savvy marketers will recognize that it is critical to prepare now to ensure future success. As the economy recovers and consumer confidence grows, companies are tasked with the challenge of managing growing demand in the coming months. For many businesses and marketing leaders, while the past year may be a time that would preferably be soon forgotten, it will pay to be prudent and learn from both the challenges and changes that occurred during the pandemic – especially since some of those changes are now here to stay. 

Build a Strong Digital Presence into Your Marketing Strategy

Many businesses had to either expand or newly create a digital aspect to their marketing strategy over the past year. Consumers have grown to rely on e-commerce more than ever and are now even more dependent upon digital tools and platform in their day-to-day lives. As marketers prepare growth models for 2021 and beyond, it’s important to understand these shifts in behavior as they apply to your business and ensure your business has built a strong digital presence to connect with your consumers. Now is the time to determine whether your digital presence is prepared for an influx of demand or if it needs some work in order to keep pace.

Build Brand Awareness Now to Connect with Consumers Later

No time like the present to rethink your marketing campaigns’ intentions and to fine-tune your brand. Does your marketing strategy include a strong brand identity that is recognizable to consumers? Does it target your desired audience? Is the purpose and intent of your messaging clear to consumers? Does your marketing content add value to the consumer? Now is the time to perfect your marketing strategy so that when consumers are ready to unleash their purchasing power, your business is top-of-mind.

Build Optimism into Your 2021 Marketing Plan

While the past year has been full of challenges and companies are still working to pivot and adjust in order to adapt to real-time changes, there is also a real opportunity for marketing leaders to capitalize on the impending spike in business activity and consumer demand predicted for this year. Marketers who take what they have learned during recent times of pandemic hardship and apply it to making strategic changes to their marketing plans now will surely see the payoff in the not-too-distant future; and that’s certainly something to be optimistic about.