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VP and Director Outlook 2021December - 2020


After a challenging year, what are Vice Presidents’ and Directors’ outlooks for 2021? Welcome to the 2nd Annual VP/Director Outlook Survey from AE Marketing Group.

We asked 100 Vice Presidents and Directors to share their 2021 outlook on marketing and sales challenges, product design, vendor partnerships, reporting to the c-suite, and more.


More Challenging Than Ever 

COVID-19 has radically shifted typical buying behavior and consumers’ new priorities will establish lasting patterns and habits. As a result of these shifts, do VP/Director-level employees anticipate an even greater challenge with marketing and sales in the year ahead?



2021 Marketing Budgets 

In our c-suite survey, we learned that 73% of executives are planning to design or launch new products, services, or business models in 2021 to meet the evolving needs of consumers in current market conditions. So, how likely are VPs and Directors to invest in external marketing efforts to educate and inform buyers about these changes?



Meeting Changing Buyer Needs

Drastic changes to consumers’ needs and financial priorities have forced marketing and sales teams to re-evaluate their buyer personas and customer journey maps to remain relevant. How confident do VPs and Directors feel in their team’s ability to speak to customers’ changing needs in their marketing materials?



Meeting C-Suite Needs 

It is not just buyer needs that VPs and Directors need to consider.  Managing expectations and ensuring that sales and marketing priorities are aligned with organizational goals is critical to establishing credibility with the C-suite. But, how confident are VPs and Directors in their ability to demonstrate the necessary value to the C-suite?



Sales + Marketing Integration

Organizations that can integrate marketing and sales teams effectively convert more leads to grow revenue. In our C-Suite survey, we asked executives how effective their companies are at achieving this critical integration. Do VPs and Directors agree with their C-suite leaders?



Managing Metrics Up the Ladder

Vanity metrics such as “likes,” “shares,” “views,”  and “clicks” are of no value to the c-suite. Executives are focused on growth, not impressions. How do VPs’ and Directors’ reporting metrics and frequency align with C-suite goals and expectations?



VP and Director Knowledge Sources  

To remain relevant in their roles, now more than ever, VPs and Directors must stay ahead of industry trends, competitors, emerging technology, and more. To do so, where do these individuals turn for information?



Filling the Knowledge Gaps with Remote Vendors

New skills and knowledge are required to navigate today’s evolving marketplace, but not every team currently has what it takes in-house.  If an organization’s existing team members do not possess the necessary skills or expertise, leaders may look to third-party vendors to fill in the gaps. But, would VPs/Directors be willing to work entirely remotely with these organizations?



Where to Find VPs/Directors on Social Media

Social media has become a convenient medium for individuals to keep up with brands’ and businesses’ latest news, deals, and more. What social media platform do VPs and Directors turn to for updates about their favorite brands?



When to Catch VPs/Directors on Social Media

70% of VPs and Directors turn to LinkedIn to keep up with their favorite brands and businesses. But, when are they most likely to check social media to find these updates?



Email Preferences 

VPs and Directors are constantly bombarded with a high volume of emails from peers, executives, customers, vendors, and more. While they may be inclined to sign up for a vendor’s email newsletter if it offers educational industry information, knowing how often to contact these individuals is vital to keeping them as subscribers.




Coronavirus has dramatically altered buyer behavior and as a result, VPs and Directors see a tough road ahead for marketing and sales in 2021.

VPs and Directors across industries are concerned by the prospect of flat marketing budgets, increased revenue pressure, category competition, long-term virtual operations, and more. However, employees at these levels are confident in their teams’ abilities to speak to evolving consumer needs and priorities, demonstrate value to the C-suite, and collaborate with third-party vendors to fill skill/knowledge gaps.

While the road ahead may be long and challenging, integrated and motivated teams are best equipped to adapt and thrive in our new reality.

We hope you enjoyed the 2021 VP and Director Outlook – thank you for reading.

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Methodology and Data

The 2021 VP and Director Outlook respondents to this survey are Vice Presidents or Directors with whom we have connected over the years, including customers, Brand Lab Series™ podcast guests, and more.

The data set includes Vice Presidents and Directors working in non-profit, healthcare, B2B, and B2C industries throughout the United States.

Responses were gathered in October – November 2020.

This is a survey of individuals, not companies. No individual was incentivized for his/her participation.

Data was captured using a 16-question survey created with Survey Monkey.

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