Colored blocks spelling out "new habits"

New habits from 2020 marketers plan to keep

The onset of COVID-19 left marketers around the world stuck working from their homes.  As a result, we all made changes. Changes to our work, family, and personal routines. Those changes and new routines led many marketers, including myself, to develop new habits, many of which we plan to continue.

A few weeks into the pandemic I thought I’d be happy with no commute. More time to get stuff done. Set the alarm a little later. But instead, I was cranky. I wasn’t feeling as creative and productive.

Then I realized that I was using my commute, specifically walking to the train from home and then from the train to the office, as productive thinking time. I planned my day and came up with new ideas. By the time I actually started working, I was ready to hit the ground running.

I knew I had to make a change. So I set my alarm back to my pre-pandemic time and started a new routine: walking with coffee. It didn’t take long for my morning magic to return. I now even keep a small notebook in my pocket to jot down ideas. I will admit to being a weather wimp and pacing in my basement when the weather’s bad. But I always walk. Every morning. And I have no plans of stopping once the pandemic ends.

This realization led me to ask other marketers if they created new habits during 2020 that they plan to keep. They had some inspiring ideas.

Improve the environment

Julie Crothers, head of communications, global insurance practice at McKinsey & Company, realized how much plastic she was using at home.

“Being at home ALL the time made me take a hard look at all the stuff I purchase in plastic containers. I’m trying to do better.

“I’m using bar soap and shampoo. And buying sparkling water in aluminum cans. I switched to laundry detergent in sheets, and I found concentrated dish soap in compostable wax tubes that you mix with water in your own container. Once you start searching for and buying these types of products online, Facebook and Instagram—helpfully—start feeding you ads for other products in plastic-free packaging. This gives me many additional ideas for ways to replace my current buying habits. I hope to continue to find ways to reduce my plastic habit in 2021.”

Make sending thoughtful communications a new habit

Tom Lynch, director of marketing communications at Allscripts plans to continue his new habit of ensuring a steady cadence of informative internal communications.

“When the pandemic struck and many people began working remotely from their homes, it became clear that more frequent communication to stakeholders would be necessary—especially from the company to its employees.

“A steady cadence of thoughtful, informative communications will continue to be essential as we move into 2021, to keep people connected to one another, engage teams and foster an environment of togetherness, even when we’re all apart.”

Create New Collaboration Opportunities 

Shannon Litalien, senior director of analyst relations & communications at Epsilon, worked with her team to find different ways to spark collaboration.

“As a part of a large team, located all over the country, we brainstormed and strategized new ways to collaborate virtually. We tried Teams, Zoom and different cadences of “huddles” and “scrums” for projects. We started texting during screen shares to replace being in the same room to offer suggestions or noting next steps.

“We’ve also encouraged team members to take walking meetings to get up and away from their desks – giving us the feeling of the coffee breaks we miss. Maybe most importantly, we set up purposeful ways to disconnect and take a break, including trying “no meeting days,” which gav e us the opportunity to focus without added distractions or meetings breaking up the day.”

New Habits to Recharge your creativity

Finally, find ways to keep your creative juices flowing.

“Keep recharging your creative engine,” advises George Stenitzer, my business partner at Crystal Clear Communications. “Build and rebuild your creative reserves to see you through.”

Hand placing blocks on top of each other that show images of a battery charging and the words "recharge yourself"
Stay creative by developing new habits to recharge yourself.

Before the pandemic, George recharged face-to-face with friends, travel, conferences, museums, and live music, including playing guitar in a local coffeehouse.

“Now one of my new habits is reading more books, including 11 novels by Walter Mosely, whom I met in February. I also sing with friends online, started online songwriting classes, and set up a home studio to write and record in. And I spend more time watching nature.”

Clearly, once the pandemic is over we aren’t going to revert back to all of our pre-pandemic habits. Smart marketers found silver linings in being stuck at home and working remotely and created new habits that will continue to have a positive impact.

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