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Marketing Sweats: Big Questions for 2021
Season 3 of our podcast Marketing Sweats is Now Available
It’s no doubt 2020 has been an interesting year. And, 2021 is peeking at us around the corner. If we’re honest, many of us are full of stress, anticipation, and yes – even quite a bit of anxiety.
The uncertainty of it all offers a pretty massive number of questions… especially if you’re in a role where you’re expected to create (or sustain) change that leads to positive outcomes.
For us at Simantel, it’s been the age-old debate – do we deal with the urgent issues of the day, or do we step back and also deal with the important questions that will impact us for the long-haul? Is it even possible to do both well, especially when trying to do them at the same time – with no roadmap as to how this has been done before during a global pandemic?
Perhaps you can empathize with this sentiment. Many-a-days, we joke we’re on an episode of leadership survivor, just waiting for the next challenge to be hurled our way.
Back in Season 2 of the podcast, we found ourselves recording episodes just as the pandemic was unfolding – and to our surprise, the theme, “Purpose, potential and endless possibilities” began to take shape. That super-odd, work-from-home period ended up becoming a great space of reflection for many of us to consider who we were at our core, and how we were “living out” our purpose in the world.
Yet, now that we’re well into Season 3 – many of us have come out of that pre-pandemic shell, and instead, we’re looking to figure out who we’re going to be in this new world where there isn’t a clear way to resurrect “normal”. Therefore, our Season 3 theme became, “Looking back, to look forward.” And, we made it a mission to ask our podcast interviewees what THEY were thinking about… in hopes we could all learn and grow from their experience.
At the end of each interview this season, we ask very simply: “What’s a question you have, (interviewee), that we can pass along to another?” And, in that spirit – we share their questions below (paraphrased, of course).
It’s no surprise, the questions they have are pretty thought-provoking. They all speak in their own way to the bridge – where have you been, and where are you going, and even – where are you right now?
We leave these questions here in hopes you’ll pick up a pen, jot down some thoughts, and maybe talk to a few folks about the ones that really stand out. Or, even better, comment below.
1. Jenne Fromm: Founder of JenneInk and Awesôme Climbs
“How will you resist the temptation to fill your life back up? COVID has given us space. It’s given us a lot of space. It makes me sad to see people waste that space. So, what will you do? What safeguards will you put in place to not just refill your life, but instead to look at the things that authentically are true for you and fill your life with those things and not the things that just kind of happened to fall into your lap along the way?”
Listen to the interview Creating a Life of Meaning with Jenne Fromm
2. Jack Klues: Publicis Group Retiree
“In the world that I grew up in you found mentors. You found people who cared about you professionally, as much as personally, and you made contact with clients on a human level. I don’t think the screen thing happening is too good. How do people progress their careers in an online environment?”
Listen to the interview Leading with Integrity with Jack Klues
3. Tracy O’Brien: CMO of Turning Mining Group
“I go back to this idea of changing the minds of customers as we grow and evolve. How do you fundamentally change an opinion or perspective of someone who really isn’t even looking for change? Such a hard thing to accomplish.”
Listen to the interview Building a Brand from the Inside Out with Tracy O’Brien
4. Dan Eizans: Principal Owner of Daniel Eizans Strategic Services
“How do you see your actions with customers changing as a result of so much more isolation, you know, especially in American culture. We’re so focused on these big social experiences and having the freedom to be out and roam. I’ve definitely seen changes in my own habits. I mean, this has forced us (as marketers) into thinking in a very different way across the board. And I think it’s going to forever change the way that we communicate with people and how we navigate our social experiences.”
Listen to the interview All Things Digital Media with Dan Eizans
5. Chris Kneeland: Co-Founder and CEO at Cult Collective
“One of the things I hope that comes out of COVID (as most companies have substantially downsized) is that as they rebuild, how do marketing and HR band together to build better companies and think differently about what kind of business they want to be and what kind of significance they want to have? I think we’re two islands right now, and we need to bridge them together.”
Listen to the interview The Mystery of the Cult Brand with Chris Kneeland
6. Esther Choy: President and Chief Story Facilitator at Leadership Story Lab
“I would like to use a question that I stole from a Freakonomics podcast. One of my favorite questions of all time was: What was one thing that you believed in… for a long time… and then later discovered that you were wrong or have changed your mind?”
Listen to the interview Personal Storytelling for Leaders with Ester Choy
7. Tim Williams: Co-Founder of Ignition Consulting Group
“I would invite your listeners to think about, to what extent have they aligned their personal interests with their business interests, and if their people are finding satisfaction in the work they do? Are they drawn by a deeper purpose than just making money? I think for companies, it’s a hard and eternally difficult question, and you can’t just manufacture it out of the air.”
Listen to the interview Become a Brand in Demand with Tim Williams
8. Emily Videtto: CMO at Pella Corporation
“You know… we listen, we learn, and we have this exhaustive process around strategy. Creating rigor in our strategic pillars, testing them out, role playing – ensuring they are relevant, even in this changing and evolving world. So, I guess the question I would ask is: how are you building up the capabilities, talents, governance and techniques that enable you to pivot quickly and be flexible and nimble as an organization? You know, those fundamentals are going to take you through all of this. Take a step back and make sure your foundation is right.”
Listen to the interview Cutting Edge Strategies for Better CX with Emily Videtto
9. Daniel Stillman: Conversation Designer at The Conversation Factory
“I think the question we all have to ask ourselves is: Am I making time for the things that matter most? Like…when I look at my calendar, does it actually represent my goals and my values? And the answer is a lot of the times… ‘Oooh… I gotta work on that.’”
Listen to the interview The Power of Conversation Design with Daniel Stillman
Yes, Daniel… time. It’s all we really have, isn’t it? How we spend it, matters a whole lot. And, COVID has been such a great reminder of that core truth.
And, with that… we want to thank each and every contributor to Season 3. Without them investing their time (with us), we wouldn’t get to experience one of our greatest joys – listening to others tell their stories. It helps us realize the world is a bit bigger than our brains would like us to believe, and there’s a whole host of insights & ideas out there beyond “us” in our tiny corner of the world.
In response to these questions – keep an eye out for part two where we will take on the challenge of answering these questions. We want to hear from you too. Drop us a comment if there’s a specific question that gets you thinking.
As 2020 comes to a close, question yourself, question others. And then really listen. You never know what you might learn. For more thought-provoking content, subscribe to Simantel’s blog.