Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times

Build Your Marketing and Advertising Strategy Amidst a Pandemic

To say 2020 has been interesting is an understatement. But as much as we look back at the challenges we’ve faced this year and sit patiently in the present doing our best to continue to work, live, and thrive, perhaps the most difficult challenges lie ahead of us. In the future.

What does the future hold for your business? For your industry? For your culture?

These are questions few of us can answer with confidence but all of us seek answers for. As we launch into strategic planning season for the year ahead, the Ampersand team is teaming up with our clients to find clarity amidst the chaos.

So, how are we approaching our strategic conversations? How are we formulating plans for marketing in an uncharted world? Our team has found that the answer lies in five key methods: Open-mindedness. An Opportunistic Mindset. Agility. Patience. And a fair amount of Fortune Telling.
Breaking these down further, we hope to not just ease your concerns about strategic planning amidst a pandemic, but to excite you. 2021 offers plenty of excellent opportunities to explore!


It’s time to leave our preconceived notions at the door. We typically start every Strategy Session with what we call “Group Therapy.” It’s essentially a big picture conversation surrounding two questions. What’s worked? What hasn’t? We laugh about simple mistakes made, celebrate the successes, and sympathize when good time and money were wasted.

2020 poses a unique opportunity though…to be more open-minded than typical. To re-evaluate those past efforts and think critically, could that work in this new world? The things we’ve shed and the things that we’ve relied upon may not look the same moving forward, so we must be open-minded to adapting to the changing marketplace we find ourselves in.

An Opportunistic Mindset

Seize what is in front of you. Spend critical time thinking about your product and service offering. Evaluating your bandwidth. Redirecting your business model. Our best clients have not looked at 2020 with hesitation, they have looked at it as an opportunity to collaborate and excel. New markets. New ways to deliver your product or service. While some may view this as a time for “cutbacks” or “business as usual,” the truly opportunistic are finding ways to enhance their model and aggressively communicate that to the marketplace.

Keep in mind, reworking your go-to-market approach is not enough on its own. Communication with your past, present, and future customers is critical. Your ongoing communication efforts must demonstrate how your business has found a way to successfully innovate in these unusual times.


Big picture thinking. Long-range plans. Short-term sprints. We’ve taken this approach with our marketing and advertising strategies, choosing flexible and agile channels that allow us to adjust and refine as we execute.

Agility in the marketing world means taking phased approaches to projects, getting them off the ground sooner before life as we know it changes once again. Agility means employing digital strategies that can be measured, monitored, and updated in real-time. And agility means making decisions swiftly so as not to lose out on something.


Despite agility, we must be patient. Advertising does not work overnight. A pandemic does not mean we need to touch our prospects less frequently. It does not change the basic principles of brand awareness, the buyer journey, moving prospects through the sales funnel, or nurturing referrals. Establishing key metrics with realistic goals is more critical than ever…helping you patiently watch the performance of your marketing and advertising strategy in a world that keeps spinning faster and faster.

Patience can also be about making smart choices. Setting drop-dead dates for key business decisions, especially as it relates to event planning, traditional advertising media, or more static tactics such as print collateral. These channels are not dead. They just require a patient outlook, a smart analysis, and sometimes a “just in time” approach to execution. You won’t necessarily have the luxury of time on your hands in the New Year, so reserve your budget and bandwidth for quick turnarounds on traditional media when it is called for. Talk with your marketing agency about what is realistic, and find a balance.

Fortune Telling

You laugh, but this isn’t meant to be a joke. Good business leaders do in fact have a crystal ball. They keep their ears and eyes open. They stay abreast of industry news. They consistently ask customers and vendors for feedback. They know the state of the union.

Marketing moves fast. Especially in the digital realm. It is easier to foresee the future when you stand with your toes on the leading edge today. Choose partners who are on the forefront and don’t let yourself get too complacent. Because in today’s world, that crystal ball is more important than ever.

In Conclusion

Will strategic planning for the next 12-24 months be easy? No. Few of us know what today holds, let alone the next quarter. Outside perspective can help. Let Ampersand help you Fuel & Simplify Business Growth, (pandemic or not). It’s what we’re good at. It’s what we’re here for.

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