Canva and HubSpot have today released the findings from its first Executive Marketing Leadership Survey, highlighting how top marketing leaders across the US will recover from the chaos brought on by 2020, and the plans they’re putting in place for 2021.

With uncertainty, pressure and the challenges exacerbated by the unprecedented year having the most impact on teamwork, the leadership survey also provides recommendations and best practice to help C-suite marketers overcome the trials and tribulations, increase productivity and team collaboration, as well as identify growth opportunities to help move the needle for 2021.

Zach Kitschke, Head of Marketing at Canva, explained how it’s clear from the findings 2020 has been a catalyst for change in how marketers work together to engage with their communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up businesses everywhere. They’ve had to adapt to consumer behaviors and priorities, understand a new, volatile environment, and find new ways of communicating and strategizing across organizations. 

Marketing teams are the masters of pivoting to maintain relevance for their brands in a dynamic and crowded market. With COVID-19 and the political climate throwing consistency out the window, marketers have had to adjust quickly and plan ahead for all types of scenarios. 

Our marketing leadership survey reveals how leaders are planning to counteract the effects of a chaotic year that was, and their plans for investing more in growth and content marketing - indicating the importance of creating well designed, quality marketing material to cut through.”

2020: A year of uncertainty 

The imminent and ongoing impact to team dynamics was a key area of concern.

  • 43% had seen an increased workload since COVID-19 started
  • 80% shared it has been more difficult to motivate their teams
  • 63% stated their teams’ productivity had been negatively impacted by COVID-19, with burnout and insufficient resources called out as two of the greatest areas for concern
  • 72% shared planning processes were significantly more difficult
  • 44% of the leaders also identified their team’s creative processes were more difficult in 2020

Amidst the uncertainty, C-suite marketing leaders identified opportunities for growth:

  • 43% said website traffic had consistently increased from March
  • 47% explained they have needed to update their site more frequently since the beginning of COVID-19
  • 44% stated the increased level of online activity has meant they’ve required more design assets

2020 has presented marketing leaders with some of their greatest challenges, but has also showcased their ability to pivot to ensure they continually connect with their communities. 

2021: Moving Forward - The year of strategic investments

Learnings from 2020 have shaped the approach for 2021, with strategic investments highlighted as a key priority for the year ahead. 

Top 3 key areas for greater investment in 2021 include: 
  1. Growth Marketing - to drive lead generation and greater engagement within communities
  2. Content Marketing - not a new concept, but one that has seen exponential growth in 2020, with rich personalized content creation driving the success of many brands
  3. Design - as the need for rich content and visual communication grows professional design is even more important  

2021 will be the year of over achieving on the basics, focusing on the importance of rich, personalized and visual content to connect with consumers no matter what channel they engage with. 

The C-Suite marketing professionals also highlighted their top 5 channels for community engagement:
  1. Email
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. Blogs
  5. YouTube

An interesting mix of top channels indicating the importance of visual communication in community engagement. 

When asked about the resourcing plans for 2021 the majority of the leaders shared that their plans were to maintain their existing approach but look to investment in key areas of execution and their channels to recover and grow off the back of the year that was 2020.  

“The findings of the Executive Marketing Leadership Survey highlight just how difficult a year it has been for marketers," said Kipp Bodnar, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot. 

"Budgets have shrunk, workloads have increased, and long-term plans have gone out the window. However, countless marketers have impressively managed to turn the challenges of 2020 into opportunities to draw closer to their customers. They’ve listened to their audiences, adapted their strategies, and led with empathy at every touchpoint. As we head into 2021, marketers will need to remain nimble and always ready to deliver compelling content that meets their audiences’ needs, even as the external environment continues to evolve.”

Together Canva and HubSpot have been empowering marketing teams to create professional designs and highly personalized digital marketing materials since November 2019. 1 in 3 of HubSpot’s community, who have created materials using Canva’s impressive collection of professionally designed templates, continues to come back multiple times a month to further develop their suite of assets. 

For the full report and more detailed findings and observations for what 2021 will bring for marketers, click here

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published Dec 7, 2020 9:00:00 AM, updated December 07 2020