What are the biggest challenges facing marketing and creative teams as we move into 2021? How should we plan for uncertainty? How can we create content that moves the needle?
Marketing and creative teams are grappling with a lot of questions as they plan for the year ahead – so we brought together a group of experts to share some answers.
In this roundtable discussion, moderated by PhotoShelter’s SVP of Marketing Scott Fedonchik, these brilliant marketing leaders tap into decades of experience working with everyone from up and coming startups to the world’s biggest brands.
Watch the video to see the full discussion, and skim through our top takeaways below – but first, let’s meet our experts.
Meet the Experts
Jason Banks, Vice President of Brands, Wasserman
Jason is responsible for leading and managing a broad range of retained accounts and projects at Wasserman. He brings 20+ years of strategy, brand and activation experience working with properties, leagues, teams, athletes, venues and the brands who partner with them. is client expertise spans tech, consumer electronics, finance, media, hospitality, retail and more. Prior to Wasserman, Jason launched KBS Sports & Entertainment, the agency’s first vertical-specific strategic consultancy and experiential specialism. He spent over 8 years at Momentum Worldwide where he was Vice President, Director Sports Sponsorship.
Amy Winner, Head of Strategy, Wheels Up Collective
Amy has spent the last 20 years helping brands turn uncertainty into opportunity. Whether recession, competitive pressures, market changes, and now Covid-19, Amy has worked alongside leadership in all sorts of industries to build pragmatic and resilient Go To Market strategies. After spending a decade in Seattle working at SaaS startups, she returned to the east coast and founded Wheels Up Collective, a team of seasoned startup marketers focused on helping small and early stage businesses drive growth through strategic marketing.
Joe Lazauskas, Head of Marketing, Contently
Joe is the Head of Marketing at Contently, an enterprise content marketing platform whose mission is to connect brands with the best storytellers on earth, and help them to tell incredible stories together. An author and technology journalist, Joe is the co-author of a best-selling book, The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming Into the Void, and Make People Love You and a contributor to Fast Company, Gen, Adweek, and Digiday, amongst other publications.
7 Takeaways to Inspire Your 2021 Marketing Strategy
Watch the video to see the full discussion, and scroll through 7 takeaways from our experts to inspire your 2021 marketing strategy below!
1. Seize the opportunity for autonomy.
When asked about how our leaders are helping their teams through an anxious year, Jason Banks shared that he and his team are looking at the glass half full. He reminds his team at Wasserman that in this moment – when micromanaging is virtually impossible – everyone has an opportunity to grow.
“This is really an opportunity to flex a little bit,” says Jason.
2. Break down unnecessary barriers.
Coming from a startup perspective, Amy Winner encouraged the audience to take a hard look at the structure of their teams, encouraging people to make sure team members have room to grow and take on more during this time.
“I would challenge any manager out there to get rid of some of that official hierarchy on your team,” says Amy.
3. Help champions prove value.
At Contently, which provides both a technology platform as well as consultative services, every customer is now paired with a content strategist to help them navigate challenges.
Joe Lazauskas explained that this change has been key to helping customers pivot and helping them prove the ROI of content marketing in their own organizations.
“We’ve seen a lot of brands really throw their plan out the window and we’ve worked with them to say, ‘ok, how can we turn this into an opportunity to serve our audiences better and engage more people?’” says Joe.
4. Demonstrate value to your clients by going beyond the “make good.”
As events were canceled and opportunities to create compelling brand assets became impossible, agencies were faced with a huge challenge.
Jason says his team at Wasserman asked themselves one critical question: “How do you retool the value equation?”
They found new ways to deliver beyond the “make good” in their work with the Olympic Games and the opening of SoFi Stadium, recreating opportunity with what they had. He challenged audience members to think of new and creative ways to go beyond expected deliverables in 2021.
5. Get as close to your customers as you can.
Amy says the old adage that people want to do business with people they like rings especially true in 2020. She and her team launched Wheels Up Collective amidst a global pandemic, and have built meaningful client relationships by being human.
Right now, it’s crucial to give your brand a unique personality so you can create meaningful, authentic connections with your customers.
6. Create trust by providing value.
It can be easy for your content strategy to get overcomplicated.
“But a lot of times, it comes to helping people solve a challenge in their life – both through the marketing content you put out and through the way your product delivers for them,” says Joe.
He explains that educational content is a huge opportunity for B2B brands to provide value, as they can share their expertise and help customers move forward in their careers. For B2C brands, he says taking the time to help customers solve problems today will have a powerful impact for your brand in the future.
7. Build one to one connections.
Right now, everyone is craving one on one interactions, and creative people are in a prime position to create a sense of connection.
“We can’t forget about the one to one connection that we’ve all kind of lost and the humanity of what we’re experiencing, the relevance of being human in an otherwise completely digital world,” says Jason.
In 2021, human storylines will play a key role in connecting with audiences.
Want to get more expert tips to power your marketing and creative strategy? Watch the full 20/21 Vision summit for creative teams, and set up a one on one workflow consultation with our team here.