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If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of being agile. Almost overnight, many had to make major decisions about how to approach the future of their business. Throughout this, marketing budgets took a hit, in-person events and tradeshows had to halt and if you were not quick to pivot into providing safety and PPE promotional products and reaching customers through digital means – you could have quickly been left behind.

In previous years, you would be meeting in person and having planning meetings for upcoming events or projects with your clients right now. However, this year many of your clients are still dealing with the unknown left by COVID, which is putting a kink in the normal selling process. The end of 2020 seemed to be a rush to finish initiatives on a project-by-project basis, leaving little time to think about 2021. On the other hand, some clients are looking for help and ideas that fit within their smaller budgets for 2021.

If your clients are working with a much smaller budget and maybe even a reduced staff, that does not mean you should roll over and stop marketing to them in some way. Now more than ever, you can outdo any large online-only distributor by offering more than just products, being more than just an order taker, and establishing yourself as the expert, providing your clients with the full package and value-added services. Be the hero in showing them what you can put together for them even on a small budget!


What to consider as you plan for 2021

While it’s hard to know what the future will look like, there are ways to think about building your marketing plan now that can carry your business through 2021. Here are a few of our suggestions:

Embrace the digital world (at least for the time being). Times of uncertainty are also growth opportunities. In 2020 we saw just how critical technology is to all of our businesses and how reliant we are on it in our everyday lives. If you haven’t fully embraced the digital transformation, now may be the time to start thinking about leaning into digital efforts. One place to start is your website: 

Plan in increments. Instead of mapping out an entire year, consider planning a few months at a time. This allows you to be nimble and build some flexibility into your plan so you can change course easily if you need to. If you prefer to map out an entire year be vague and plan things you can adapt quickly to any change in the industry.

Focus on metrics. If reporting and analysis aren’t part of your current marketing plan, it should be. Being able to measure marketing campaign performance and make adjustments will be crucial in the coming year. Watch our marketing webinar series listed at the end of this post for more on evaluating your efforts. You can find our help doc on how to add Google Analytics to your website here: Adding Google Analytics to Your Website. Also, if you are not familiar with Google Analytics they have a beginners class that will help you get started: Google Analytics for Beginners.

Chance favors the prepared. Having a plan in place, even loosely, can help you capture the opportunities you see coming and navigate situations you don’t. Being stagnant and waiting may mean you miss out.

View this google calendar we put together with monthly marketing ideas that can help you get started with a plan – 2021 Marketing Planner

  • Monthly theme ideas
  • Monthly hashtags to use throughout the year
  • Holidays
  • Fun daily holidays with product ideas


More Help Specific to the Promo Industry

Watch our marketing webinar series that goes into more details on all the above and gives free digital resources, examples, and ideas to help you create a plan and execute it:

PPAI Expo Education: Technology to Stay In Front of Customers and Sell More Ideas 

Building Your 2021 Marketing Plan

Free Marketing Tools You Should Be Using in 2021

Integrating DistributorCentral with your Marketing Plan

Implementing Niche Websites & Pop-Up Shops Into Your Selling Strategy Using DistributorCentral’s Free Websites & Product Collection Tools

For any questions or technical support on using DistributorCentral’s free tools, you can reach out to our support team –

For any questions related to the marketing content and ideas presented, you can reach out to Natalie at