To realize the greatest returns in 2021, CMOs should consider these actions:
1. Be ruthlessly selective
CMOs must prioritize what they choose to reinvent, rescale, reduce, retire or merely return to prepandemic levels. It is critical to focus on the efforts that are most essential in the short term, most aligned with organizational growth strategies for 2021, and best suited to the organization’s capabilities and resources. Any other initiatives should be delayed, deprioritized or delegated.
2. Ensure proper documentation and support
Make sure that every decision to reinvent or otherwise modify strategies are properly documented for other stakeholders. This will reassure the rest of management that marketing’s priorities are focused on the initiatives with the highest returns.
3. Focus on scenario planning
CMOs will need to make tough trade-offs today. But they should also be prepared to make quick changes. Institute formal scenario planning to support a constant and agile cycle of iterative adjustments throughout 2021 as economic conditions warrant.
Last year’s optimism that budgetary contractions would be short-lived looks to be quite tempered as we kick off the new year. As uncertainty and economic turmoil persist, CMOs must be careful to not fall victim to the “do more with less” mindset.