Taking time to reflect on what worked or didn’t work for the quarter is a good way to regroup and figure out what to do as we head into the unpredictable future. At the very least, it’s a way to therapize our shared challenges with the market.

In this special quarterly state of the market episode, we touch on emerging trends, what executives are seeing in the marketing world, and the business world in general.

Our panel includes:

What didn’t work this quarter

Getting high quality candidates for a team has always been important for any business. But lately, many businesses are finding themselves at a disadvantage because they haven’t made hiring their first priority.

”Trying to get in front of really quality candidates has been very, very difficult for us. I didn’t prioritize it, I wish I had.” — Michael McCunney

For James Gilbert, his team focused on building a lot of cultural initiatives during the last couple quarters. What he found was that people are starting to care much more about social issues than before; something that James wishes he would have focused more on in the past. So, if companies are looking to hire and retain high-level employees, they need to be adopting these initiatives sooner rather than later.

For others, success came in the form of good branding. Potential employees seemed to stick by the companies that they believed in. So, if you’re having trouble finding the right employees, you won’t find it by having just a fast interview process or highly competitive pay. Branding may be the key to differentiating yourself.

But what if it’s still not enough?

For some companies, they’ve checked every box listed above: Hiring has always been the top priority, positions on social issues have been made, and an initiative has been made to build a strong brand that employees are excited about. Despite all of this, the companies are experiencing the same issues as everyone else.

While there is merit to fixing the individual issues companies have with hiring, the issue may extend past any one individual company problem and, in actuality, be a global issue.

What worked this quarter

For most companies, their budget is going up this next quarter. Caitlin shares that her company is focusing on being bold and creative this year doubling down on how to really get in front of customers.

However, as budgets go up, a conversation forms around where the budget will be allocated. For Darryl, he sees a lot of the scrutiny around branding.

”Everybody who’s not in marketing thinks branding is a waste of time and spend.” — Darryl Praill

So, while the budget has increased, sitting down and having the tough conversation around what’s a top priority for the company may take time especially with the skewed perspective of spending through the COVID-19 pandemic going from events to digital.

While it will be difficult to know the ROI on spending, specifically events, until the world is back to full-swing, Caitlin suggests keeping an emphasis on bettering digital experiences and cautiously moving forward with events until it’s clear that they will continue into the foreseeable future.

What they’re looking forward to

With all the challenges and situations companies have had to navigate this quarter, it’s important to highlight some of the positive initiatives that teams are looking forward to in the coming quarter.

For Michael, it’s been all about manufacturing and distribution. Typically an area of low adoption, they’re working on criminalizing what they call ‘gut pricing’ among competitors using cartoons as a medium to spread awareness on social media.

”It’s a new angle for us and we’re pretty excited about it.” — Michael McCunney

For Darryl, it’s all about 3 different areas:

  1. ABM: They plan to take their efforts into some very innovative use cases, narrowing and defining along the way.
  2. Hyper-focused on content: Looking for a smaller number of leads but with bigger deals due to the high quality of content that they’re delivering.
  3. Competitive campaigns: Delivering dedicated content and landing pages as people start to evaluate their income investments again.

A key takeaway

By recognizing areas of improvement and understanding that some things are uncontrollable, companies will successfully navigate the challenges of dealing with the world post-pandemic.

While this next quarter will likely bring an increase to budget, companies must acknowledge new trends that have come about because of the shift to digital through the pandemic. Only then can they look to the future and get excited about initiatives to come.