Recently, Frost & Sullivan, The Growth Partnership Company,™ conducted a timely webinar, Marketing in 2021: Uncertainty or Opportunity? Adam Kahn, Global Senior Director, Digital Strategy and Marketing Operations, hosted a diverse group of global marketing experts as they discussed the state of marketing today. All agreed that 2021 would be a year of opportunity for marketing, and shared predictions and insights about how to succeed during these challenging times.

The event was divided into three rapid fire discussion sessions on the topics of Events, Budgeting and Expectations for 2021. In this blog, we are going to share some key take-aways about budgeting in the year ahead:

The Budget Picture Has Changed Dramatically

Looking at the big budget picture, marketers need to examine where they want to invest in the current climate. What will have the biggest impact right now, in a business landscape that has changed dramatically? Be sure to build in budget flexibility that will allow you and your organization to move quickly and revise plans in real time if necessary.

Some suggestions: Consider the concept of “zero-based budgeting” — start at “zero base” for every budget period. Or, implement “small bite budgeting,” i.e. budgeting in pieces. It’s also important to budget for long-term, ongoing priorities like building your brand and community online.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has accelerated the transition to digital. That’s where you’ll find your current – and hopefully future customers — spending more and more of their time — and dollars. This fact, and its impact on marketing and sales, was not lost on our panel. Here are some key ways to plan and manage your digital spending, and the reasoning behind the thinking:

  • Consider the higher cost of building your online pipeline in the current “normal” and budget accordingly
  • To keep current customers and attract new ones, focus funds on optimally digitizing customer touchpoints
  • Grow your marketing technology budget


Overall, budgeting for technology and building in flexibility were strongly endorsed by our marketing experts. Additionally, some roles and old rules will shift, and marketers who can learn and pivot quickly are most likely to be rewarded. Participants were advised to be prepared to create and manage their budgets in new and less common ways in 2021. So, get ready for a marketing future where change is common, agility is key, and the ability to build your pipeline in new ways is paramount. 

For additional insights, click here to download our “Future of Marketing Spend” Infographic.