CMOs in businesses across a range of industries will be busy planning their content calendars, strategizing their marketing outlooks and considering which topics will add the most value to their thought leadership discussions for 2021.
1. Life after Covid-19
All CMOs will be considering when the right time might be to move on from the Covid-19 conversation. There’s no arguing that Covid-19 will continue to disrupt lives and businesses across the world as we head into 2021, but there might also come a time when consumers and businesses simply want to focus on other areas. CMOs must be prepared to address this in the organization’s thought leadership content and be able to show their audience that they can talk about more than just the current pandemic.
2. Tech acceleration
Technology has certainly shown its uses this year in many different situations and in 2021, the rapid deployment of technology will accelerate even further. We’ve seen robots come to the rescue in delivering food and supplies to those who need it and we’ve seen the use of contactless technology amplified to get businesses back up and running. In 2021, technology will take center stage and CMOs must be prepared to join in the conversation and show how their organization is also accelerating its use of technology to benefit the market.
3. Tech for good
The acceleration of technology will also bring the need to demonstrate technology being used for ‘good’, such as within healthcare, or to address environmental concerns (see more on that in the next point!). Consumers and businesses alike will want to see that the increased use of tech in 2021 will also be used to support causes and sectors most in need; the CMOs that address this within their thought leadership content will be ahead of the game.
While many have argued that imposed lockdowns and other restrictions across the globe have in some way benefited the world’s sustainability efforts, the topic has undoubtedly taken a back seat this year as CMOs have had other pressing topics to deal with. In 2021 however, sustainability will come back onto the agenda in full force and CMOs must be ready to show how their organization is planning to reduce its carbon footprint or contribute positively to an industry’s efforts within its thought leadership content.
Thought leadership content is an excellent way of promoting and instilling trust in an audience by demonstrating that the spokesperson, and therefore the organization itself, is an expert in the topic being discussed and is therefore trustworthy. In 2021, increasing trust in technology being used, in ethical issues being addressed and in how the world will continue to evolve as a result of the coronavirus conversation will be a key theme as businesses and consumers look to industry experts for advice and support.
6. Business agility
The need for businesses to be agile has been amplified this year and it’s a trend that’s set to continue. Demonstrating that the business understands the need to be agile and that its solutions can enable other businesses to be agile in their practices too is essential, and this theme should also be embedded in thought leadership content. As businesses add more to their plates and look to increase efficiencies wherever possible, agility will be key.
7. Customer communication
Businesses across a variety of sectors have done an incredible job at building relationships with their customers and supporting them through the turbulence of 2020, but the need to strengthen these relationships won’t stop. In 2021, CMOs need to develop content that shows they understand the issues their customers are facing and ensure these messages can be communicated effectively, turning the conversation from a one-way-street into an open dialogue.
8. Future of work
When the UK went into lockdown overnight the first time around, back in March 2020, working practices changed dramatically – some for good. Whilst some businesses jumped at the chance to return to ‘normality’ when they could, others embraced the new way of working and have adapted their working practices accordingly, bringing in technology to lend a helping hand and therefore changing what the future of work will look like. Companies coped very well with big changes throughout 2020, but they will still need help and guidance as they enter the new year, so CMOs should focus on sharing their expertise and knowledge in this area in 2021.
The increased use of technology also comes with risks, so cybersecurity and the threats to data will continue to be a hot topic in 2021. Cyber threats have risen dramatically in 2020, due in part to the change of working practices but also due to the rise in possible attack vectors creating more opportunities for cyber hackers, so businesses will be looking for expertise and advice on how to keep their data safe in 2021. CMOs operating in the cyber or data security space should address the industry’s concerns through supportive thought leadership content next year.
10. Data, insight and analytics
The importance of data has been prominent across a range of industries for some years now, bringing opportunities and risks alike, but fast becoming recognized as the backbone of many critical operations. Using this data to improve practices, develop understanding and show expertise will be essential for all businesses, and sharing insight from data within thought leadership content will also be key.
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