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It’s 2021 and we’ve got the digital world at our fingertips. Marketing online has become increasingly competitive as we tussle for visibility on social media and to stand out from competitors. It feels like it’s the right time to take a risk and embark on a brave new strategy, using different content mediums and creative ideas - but what happens when this isn’t supported or encouraged by C-level management? To discover the answers we commissioned a piece of research to discover the approaches marketers are taking this year and whether there are invisible chains holding new changes back. Here’s a taster of what we discovered...

Feeling confined by a ‘safe’ approach

In a period of time when we could all do with a few extra laughs, it’s no wonder that 76% of marketers confirmed that they would be likely to consider the use of humour in their next campaigns. However, as we’ve discovered in our previous article, ‘B2B Marketing, Where’s the humour?’ marketers are tending to hold back from this approach, especially in B2B industries. This may well have something to do with the fact that 75% senior marketers feel restricted in their creative efforts by other c-level leaders. Age is also a factor, with 86% of under 35s feeling restricted, as opposed to 66% of over 35s. So what can be done to convince senior leaders to take a risk and feel more at ease with this more informal type of approach to creativity? Creating clear brand and tone of voice guidelines could be a step in the right direction - but only if these are not so prescriptive that they also stifle creativity. 

Not opening your eyes or budget to wider content mediums 

With global changes happening daily, there’s no wonder our consumption of online content has also shifted. We found that 53% of marketers are consuming more written content for work than the previous year (2020 vs. 2019) with over 3 white papers/ebooks being amongst these. Those who haven’t dipped a toe in the world of webinars and podcasts best adapt fast as these, alongside digital magazines are the most consumed mediums across our survey responders.

Leaving out of date brand guidelines to fester in the abyss (your shared docs)

We found that 91% of marketing decision-makers think that having up-to-date brand guidelines is important, but 43% of them haven’t updated them in the last 12 months. Perhaps more of a concern is that 42% of the group surveyed could confidently say where their company brand guidelines were saved. The takeaway? Determining a logical place to keep brand guidelines and communicating this effectively to the wider team is essential, as is assigning someone to be the ‘keeper’ of the brand docs - ensuring they are kept up to date at regular intervals and are still being used effectively. 

DAM Therapist

Image credit: Paul Seymour

Using the wrong brand assets, logos and images you don’t have permission to use

When questioned about brand assets, 46% of marketers admitted that they couldn’t fully describe their current company logo. It seems that images can be a source of confusion across an organisation with a quarter of the people surveyed using images they knowing didn’t have the correct rights for and half of the group confessing they might have done unknowingly. With high penalties for misuse of stock copyrighted imagery, there’s certainly an argument for a better system (such as Asset Bank and Dash) to ensure the rights of every image uploaded to a company DAM are credited and used appropriately.

Google Image Doodle

Image credit: Paul Seymour

Being unprepared to join or run virtual events 

59% of marketers have reported that exhibiting at virtual events in 2020 has scored them more leads than they were expecting. 41% of competitors are doing it so if your company hasn’t jumped aboard the train then what are you waiting for? With only 5% of marketers saying they wouldn't exhibit at virtual events again it's a no brainer! 

Interested in learning more about what marketers are prioritising and investing in 2021? Check out our full research findings.

The Great Suppression: Why Marketing Teams Need More Freedom  It’s 2021 and we’ve got the digital world at our fingertips. Marketing online  has become increasingly competitive as we tussle for visibility on social media  and to stand out from competitors.    Click & Download The Research Paper


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