In this report, you will find marketing trends and methods we developed based on insights from a proprietary research study conducted with more than 150 marketing leaders to help companies find a better way to make marketing work.

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What's Inside?

In this report, we outline six trends while offering our own tips alongside helpful methods.

The past year has served as a clear reminder of what we’ve always known; the only constant is change. Throughout change, we help companies find better ways to build the talent infrastructure they need to adapt and grow their business. Naturally we were curious about what was and wasn’t working for our marketing colleagues. What were people worrying about? Prioritizing? How were people working? What marketing trends were continuing to rise to the top? The 2021 Better Way Report represents the key insights and findings we gathered after surveying and interviewing more than 150 marketing leaders.

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  1. Pressure to grow with limited resources
  2. Test and learn approach leads to marketing innovation
  3. Connect marketing expertise to the right opportunities
  4. Marketing automation is having its moment
  5. Collecting data isn’t enough
  6. Keep your remote teams engaged

Survey Results


of survey respondents said that their top marketing priority for 2021 was to develop stronger digital marketing capabilities.


of survey respondents said they will split their time between remote work and going into the office as needed.


of survey respondents said they do not currently have marketing automation capabilities on their team, but believe it's critical to accomplishing their 2021 marketing goals and objectives.


of survey respondents said they have brand strategy, campaign development and content creation capabilities in-house.


of survey respondents said they have media planning and buying in-house.


of survey respondents said they have data measurement and analytics capabilities in-house.


of survey respondents said a key priority for 2021 is leveraging data analysis for measurement and planning.


of survey respondents believe in-house marketing talent has had a major impact on their business’ growth and adaptability.


of survey respondents believe external marketing partners have had a major impact on their business’ growth and adaptability.

Marketer Quotes

The biggest barrier to achieving our marketing goals in 2021 is budget constraints. There is uncertainty in the economy, especially in the healthcare industry. And, of course, head counts go hand-in-hand with financial uncertainty.

Marketing VP at a Fortune 100 Company

Creating a strategy and seeing it through with any sort of confidence is the challenge we all have. We don’t have the luxury of just repeating what worked in the past. We’re now placing different bets and pivoting as we learn. The world just looks so different.”

Marketing vp at a national bank

We’re in a hiring freeze so I have to explore different ways of staffing. My 2021 needs are quick and project-based. I need people who know how to lead campaign planning, find creative ways to execute them and work collaboratively to get them out the door. We have these people in-house now, but not enough of them.

Global Vice President of an Education Company

One of my marketing priorities for 2021 is making continued improvements to our student recruitment marketing efforts by increasing the effectiveness of our marketing technology. We plan to shift dollars from paid digital to organic digital.

CMO at a University

I wanted to hire a segmentation specialist to work with our data scientists and create segmented plans for different markets. But with our budget constraints we weren't able to hire that person. So now I’m trying to tap a couple people doing it as a side job, which is not ideal.

Head of Marketing and Branding at a Financial Services Company

We’re all remote - so no one is in the office. In the beginning, I was carving out chunks of time throughout the week to have open office hours virtually. People were hesitant to reach out to me. So now I just use Teams and start conversations during those times instead. That has been an effective way to build connections.

CMO at a Manufacturing Company
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