Stephanie Cox: Welcome to Real Marketers, where we hear from marketers who move fast, ask forgiveness not permission, obsessed about driving results and are filled to the brim with crazy ideas and the guts to implement them. This is not a fireside chat and there's absolutely no bullshit allowed here. And I'm your host, Stephanie Cox. I have more than 15 years of marketing experience and I've pretty much done about everything in my career. I believe speed is better than perfection, I use the Oxford comma, I love Coca- Cola, I have exceptionally high standards and surround myself with people who get shit done. On this show my guests, and I will push boundaries and share the real truth about marketing and empower you to become a real marketer. Welcome back to Real Marketers. Instead of an interview, you're going to hear from me today and we're going to talk about 2020 and what I've learned from it as a marketer. It felt like we needed to address this at the end of the year, because we are officially saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 with, I think, a lot of optimism that the year will be better for a lot of people than the share was. But I wanted to really take a step back and say, as a marketer what has 2020 taught me and what can I take with it? Because I think one thing that's really important for all of us to realize is that while a pandemic doesn't happen every year, or at least hopefully not, there's a lot of things that changed about marketing business, just overall how you think about work life, work- life balance, where people even physically work that I don't think are necessarily going to go back to normal, at least not the way we thought about them before this all happened. So I wanted to kind of go through some of the things that I'm taking with me into 2021 that hopefully can be helpful to you as you think about what that year looks like for you from a marketing perspective. So first off is 2020 should have taught you, because I know it taught me, is that marketing plans are great except when there's a pandemic. And what I mean by that is we all throughout, or at least most of us, are marketing plans in mid- March, and probably never thought of the plan that we created at the beginning of 2020 ever again. And from then on, we started creating more agile marketing plans. And sometimes that meant we were planning a couple of weeks ahead, sometimes a couple of months, maybe a quarter, maybe two quarters if we were really lucky. But this idea of creating an annual plan where we outlined strategies and tactics for the entire year wasn't possible in 2020, because it didn't work. I think that's one of the things that I hope people realize moving forward. And it's not because there's going to be some other major global crisis but because everything is changing so much, even without a pandemic consumers change, business needs change, technology changes. And if you're always locked in to what you're doing from a marketing plans point at the beginning of a year, and you're not able to quickly iterate and move and make changes and spin up new strategies and tactics you're going to get left behind. And this year, I think was a great example of that. The other thing it taught me was a lot about creativity. I have seen some of the most creative work done this year from a variety of marketers. And I think it's because of two things. One, when you're faced with a lot of uncertainty in the world, you want to bring joy to others. And I think a lot of marketers took a step back and thought about how they could be helpful, helpful to other companies, helpful to other people during this time. And that was a labor of love and whenever you have something that you're truly passionate about, like helping others exceptional work tends to come out of it. The other reason, we talked about this on a previous episode and we'll talk about it on future episodes as well, is a lot of people enjoy working from home. And I think maybe more so than they thought, I know I've enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would. And part of that is because, especially if you're creative, it gives you the ability to focus. So in the open offices, which I think a majority of us probably had prior to the pandemic, you were constantly hearing other people, seeing other people, even if you were focused, there was still a lot going on around you, which can make it hard to concentrate especially if your job is to write content, to design videos, to develop websites, you get the drill. But now you have people who are able to do that from the place where they feel the most creative, which could be their home office, it could be a coffee shop, it could be outside. And I think they're doing some of the best work I've ever seen. And so that's one thing that I'm really taking with me into 2021 and beyond is that it doesn't matter where you work, you should work and find a place where you can be the best version of your work self and the best version of your personal self. And that can be different for everyone. And some of the team is going to do their best work at home and some of the team is going do their best work together with other people collaborating and that's okay. The other thing that I'm going to take with me as you really need to have your inner circle. And the reason why I say this is 2020 has thrown us lots of curve balls, both personally and professionally, but it's also caused us to have to rethink every aspect of our marketing strategy. For people that were doing in person events that pretty much stopped in mid March and I think there's a lot of question to what extent it continues in 2021, even. So event marketers had to think, well, what does my role look like now? How do I create virtual events? What are virtual events? How does that work? What channels do I do from a paid advertising standpoint? How do I get ahold of people if they're no longer at their offices? Where do I send them direct mail? How do I solve these problems? And here's the thing you're not alone. And I think that's really important for all of us to realize is that there are marketers out there across the entire globe facing the exact same challenges that you have right now. And you need to find an inner circle where you can have those conversations, the really authentic ones and get people to help, to brainstorm ideas with you, tell you what worked for them, what didn't work, what they're still figuring out where you can hear from someone else, yeah, we tried that too, and it didn't work. That is so refreshing. Some of my favorite parts of 2020, professionally, have been conversations with my inner circle. And if you haven't heard, we're actually opening that up to all of you. So we do have the Real Marketers Slack community. And the whole goal is to create that network for every single one of you to find a place where you can have those authentic conversations and get people who can help you or who can tell you, no, you're not crazy, I can't get LinkedIn ads to work for me either. Or, hey, I did this and then I got some of the best leads we've ever seen. To have those types of real conversations. So I hope all of you get some time to rest and relax over the holiday season. We're going to not have an episode next week and come back after the new year with an incredible lineup. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the guests that we have already booked for 2021. There's so many great marketers telling a variety of different stories across different industries, different levels within a company that are going to really, I think, make all of us better marketers. So thank you for listening to Real Marketers this year. I hope you've found it super helpful and we'll be back in the new year with a ton of new episodes dropping a new one every week, and we might have a few surprises up our sleeve. So don't be surprised if we have some special things planned for all of you. You've been listening to her Real Marketers. If you love what you've heard, make sure to subscribe, rate and review our podcast. And don't forget to tell a friend, all of this marketing goodness shouldn't be kept a secret.