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Taking a look back on a year to be remembered.

It has been our great privilege to be your marketing partner for many years and especially this year. Thank you for being a valued member of our B2B financial marketing network. You, your ideas, your personalities, and your expertise are what make CFG the most trusted source for B2B financial marketing intelligence. I wish you a very happy welcome to the new year and look forward to successfully sharing 2021 with you.

Please take a moment to review the critical marketing intelligence and personal advice we all shared during tis year of disruption and uncertainty. Your resilience and willingness to pivot quickly proved marketing's strength once again!

We learned a lot about ourselves and our work this year. For those not accustomed to it, working from home (remember #WFH?) presented challenges, especially for those with little ones, pets and spouses! While video communication was a tool on the rise used for remote teams, who would have thought it be our primary form of communication, even with clients? Managing people and personalities at a distance was a little uncomfortable but taught us valuable leadership lessons.


Yet, through any personal and office challenges, the #1 focus remained on your clients. We went into overdrive and helped them manage both a virus and their business, all virtually! While we couldn’t have imagined a crisis of this magnitude, the story of this year will be that, as skilled marketers, we were able to PIVOT* to a new marketing paradigm.


*According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the word of 2020 is PIVOT. And, by the way, in our year-end review of 2019, I actually posed the question, Could Marketing be the pivotal force for growth? Little did I know at the time!

At CFG, you were our priority.  I talked to you on a regular basis to learn how you and your team were adapting and operating and staying healthy. Your stories were told in our new newsletter called Staying ‘n Touch. I heard of marketers being promoted, teams expanding their responsibilities, specialty and executive level hiring, collaboration between marketing groups, and real personal pride in how adeptly you were able to pivot to a fully digital world. Throughout the year, you came together virtually with experts to learn how to listen, cope and adapt with agility. You met in small groups (CFG Specialty Groups) to share stories of content, events, research, leadership, CRE and Treasury programs that were working.
Congratulations! Maybe it’s the unique spirit of a marketer, but you and your teams took a giant leap into the future adopting so many of the new digital technologies quickly so you could add a heightened value internally. So, as we move into 2021, it’s important to remember the lessons and stories of 2020 but, it’s also important to take a moment to celebrate you and give yourself a "high-five".
What will define 2021? Hmmm…I predict it will be HYBRID Marketing – the blend of traditional and digital marketing. Digital marketing now firmly defines the role of marketing. In our B2B financial world, traditional marketing will hold on for a while as we continue to evolve to a new model of selling and brand promotion. As a result, 2021 will challenge us to balance the two modes and create hybrid models. Together, we will march forward to integrate the traditional with the digital in our marketing programs, events, technologies, and even our working environments.
As a CFG member, you can expect 2021 to bring you fresh, innovative perspectives on:
  • Agile planning
  • Account-based marketing at the next level
  • Virtual event innovation
  • New advertising platforms
  • Experiential marketing
  • Content, selling and social marketing
To kick off the year, our specialty groups will be diving deep into technology platforms. Our Leaders/Content Marketers group shared content marketing platforms recently and we’ll host a discussion on this January. Plus, our new Events Group is surveying its members on the platforms they’ve engaged in for proprietary events as well as those they’ve worked with at industry events. Great debate is waiting just around the corner!

Let’s take a look back at what we learned from YOU and our expert friends…

About the story of 2020…
Thomas Barta on Writing your Story about 2020
It all started in 2020. This was the advent of …, a completely new way of …, by … What does your story say?

About us as human beings…
Robert Rose on Emotional Safety
Emotional safety, whether it’s for ourselves, friends, family, colleagues, or customers, doesn’t start with what we’re good at, what we do, or what we sell. It starts from within us. Providing emotional safety requires the awareness to know what others are feeling and the ability to feel it with them. 

Stephanie Klein on Emotional Intelligence
EI builds from this simple yet profound insight:  when we shift from autopilot to aware, we can make more effective choices in each moment.

Trudy Frection on Embracing the Unknown
“We just don’t know, what we don’t know” the ‘Unknown Unknown’ is a place of huge possibility. The resiliency, courage and resourcefulness of people around the globe as they solve problems that they didn’t know they were going to face a few weeks ago proves that when we encounter the unknow we find possibility and solutions.
Trudy Frection on Listening
Although there isn’t a magic cure or secret technique to leading when times are challenging, there is one thing that we can all do better. Communicate. And by communicate, I mean LISTEN BETTER not talk more.

About marketing process…
Andrea Fryrear on AGILITY
Real agility is built for times like these. The value of “responding to change over following a plan” is at the heart of a strong agile system, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a plan in place. That delicate balance between planning and responsiveness it’s what’s making some marketing teams nimble and effective, while others slog through molasses as they try to adjust. 

About the financial industry…
Dan Simon on the Rebirth of Finance following crisis
Large organizations who thrive during high markets suddenly find themselves in triage mode. Concerns about shareholders, stock prices and overhead dominate the model and subsequently stifle innovation. Business leaders in these organizations can’t think about how consumers may interact with new products in 3-4 years when they’re trying to keep the lights on.

About approaching the ‘next’ normal…
Laura Patterson on the value of DEBRIEFS now!
Processes matter. Debriefs can be your post-game analysis providing you with an opportunity to define, document, and refine your processes to stay competitive and optimize performance. Marc Hafner, CEO of Revionics nicely sums up the value of the debrief: “business organizations are successful because they’re willing to accept that they’re not perfect, go back and review what happened, make changes as necessary, and move on.“

Why this is the time for Marketing
Katharyn White on why ‘this phase is ours’
Believe that this moment represents an opportunity to accelerate the shifts we have been pushing for the last decade. Listen through new questions and new techniques to create a deeper connection for more personalization and more championing of our clients’ success. Create a reason to act at a time when there is a blurring of time.
EI’s Go-To-Market Barometer
Ei-Global B2B Media Intelligence’s Go-to-market Strategy Barometer canvases major B2B and financial brands to understand how marketers are coping and reacting to this current crisis. The firm’s May 20 report illustrates how B2B marketers are moving to a content and proprietary events approach since Covid-19. 
CONTENT as a Business Model Robert Rose, The Content Advisory (Feb 18)
ADAPTIVE RESILIENCE Stephanie Klein, Leadership Coach (Jun 17)
BRAVE Marketers Your Time is Now! Thomas Barta, Marketing Leadership Expert (Jul 9)
Benchmarking Evolving Best Practice in the Virtual Conference, Space Tony Jarvis, EI Advisory (Jul 30)
Making your Virtual Events Engaging, Fun & Informative!, Billy Boughey, Elevate Experiences (Aug 13)
Let’s Talk Virtual Event PLATFORMS! Tony Jarvis, EI Advisory (Sept 15)
Marketing as a Strategic Asset Stephanie Meyer, HSA Bank (Oct. 1)
How to Make Marketing Memorable: Separating Science from Science Fiction Carmen Simon, Corporate Visions Inc. (Oct. 15)
In addition to our own CFG Webinars, you were invited to attend several high-profile industry events because you’re a member of CFG!

Best of 2020 B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange (Oct 26-28)

B2B SMX Financial Services Roundtable (hosted by CFG!)
Fall20 EI Advisory Go-To-Market Barometer Report (Dec20)
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Corporate Financial Group, Inc. · 13537 US Highway 1 · Suite 122 · Sebastian, FL 32958 · USA

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