The Five Things We Learnt in 2020
For me, personally, the new year got off to an amazing start as I joined the EMG team as CEO but just weeks later the world was turned upside down. In my first blog this year, just before the COVID pandemic hit Europe, I talked about changing technology in changing times and the impact this was having on the marketing and communications landscape - little did I know.
From the uncertainty of March, we’ve come a long way adapting to ever changing conditions. Even so, business has changed, work has changed, life has changed and we have changed – some of this certainly bringing opportunity. I’d like to share with you the top five things that we’ve learnt in this extraordinary year and that we’ll be embracing throughout the next, long after the rest of our New Year’s resolutions have gone out the window!
1. Bravo to agility
As travel ground to a halt and trade shows were cancelled, many marketing and communications teams had to mix up their strategies. At the same time trade publications embraced digital story telling with more online coverage, quickly reformatting content to include online interviews, web chats, podcasts and webinars. Perhaps because of the unprecedented pace and size of the change that we all found ourselves grappling with, we saw lots of experiments (including a few of our own). From LinkedIn Live, multiple webinar platforms and different ways of connecting with editors and their audiences taking chances, trying new things and not being afraid to make mistakes defined the year. Bravo to that!
2. Digital shifts and silos disappearing
Communications this year moved to more online outlets, such as using social media to engage with customers and Zoom meetings rather than traditional face-to-face sales calls. This saw the gap between PR and lead generation close tighter. Online customer engagement has steadily increased in importance over the last decade but 2020 was the year in which the pendulum swung. We even saw a lot of B2B customers move to social selling, often meaning that the communications and sales team were working more closely together to reach the goal.
3. Working and learning together
Working in constant disruption throughout 2020 meant thinking beyond trade shows for lead generation. This brought us closer to our clients as we worked together on innovative new channels like virtual press conferences, virtual exhibits and online customer journey campaigns to solve their communication challenges. Navigating the new world of virtual and hybrid trade shows together has become the norm and an amazing opportunity to showcase innovation and technology.
4. Getting smarter
For more than a decade the promise of smart technology – smart cars, smart phones and smart homes among them – has started to change our lives. 2020 was the year that this smart technology truly burst onto the communication scene in the face of huge disruption. This was the year of online chats and upping the PowerPoint game to real-time host and audience interactions and webinars, webinars webinars!
5. Becoming human again
What more is there to say? In 2020 we stopped, listened, responded and cared; it was no longer all about selling a product. People needed to connect with people and wanted to connect with brands that were oriented towards people. Emotional intelligence is being embraced. And hooray for that continuing into the next year.
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