A Project Manager’s Grand Predictions for the Grand Reopening

Megan Godwin

by Megan Godwin

Project Management Supervisor

Step right up and look into my post-lockdown crystal ball. You’ll see causes for celebration, new ways of collaboration and one big takeaway.

As we slowly get back to “normal” (seriously, what is normal anymore?!), something that is becoming crystal clear in this project manager’s crystal ball is that the work is coming. In many areas of the country, consumers are starting to feel giddy and spendy, leading to full flights, packed restaurants, “No Vacancy” signs, and pixel-free shopping carts rolling through aisles.

According to Deloitte, “consumers saved about $1.6 trillion more than what they would have saved had there been no pandemic. Consequently, personal consumption expenditure is likely to increase by 7.6% in 2021 and by 3.9% in 2022, a sharp change from the 3.9% contraction last year.” This means that for many businesses, the competition is heating up and their marketing efforts will be following suit. As brands start battling for a new surge of customers and marketers prepare to help clients win out, it’s important for everyone involved to be ready for what will likely be an intense and rewarding stretch of good old-fashioned hard work.

Taking stock of all the best practices, mantras and buzzwords we’ve all gotten cozy with over the years (“scope creep” is my personal favorite), one of the simplest ones feels especially crucial as we emerge from lockdown.


Why will prioritizing be so vital in the very near future? Over the next few months, there will undoubtedly be a blitz of marketing asks. It will be easy for marketers to succumb to the excitement and try to do everything they’ve been waiting to do for the past year, all at once. But we are all, in many ways, staging grand reopenings. To be successful, we must be purposeful in deciding what will be the most effective and efficient marketing tactics for today, while also envisioning the best stage-gate approach to expanding those efforts in the long term.

The sooner collaborators can create and align on a list of goals, tasks, to-dos or all of the above in descending order of importance, the sooner they can get to work in a uniform and productive way. Might it involve some tough decisions? Absolutely. Can it create tension? 100%. Will it lead to deeper, more honest and trust-fueled relationships? Without a doubt. From the largest jobs to the smallest tickets, the best way to organize is to prioritize. As Benjamin Franklin so sharply put it, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

An annual plan is perhaps the ultimate example of a list of priorities, and also a great place to start. Forecasting measurable goals and milestones for a full 365 days encourages all sides to shake hands (or fist bumps) on the correct strategic initiatives for the short and long term. Sure, there will be some extra meetings and lots of back-and-forth. But these small costs will be heavily outweighed by the benefit of having a marketing activation plan road map that cleanly navigates the team through today and tomorrow.

Of course, when prioritizing together, we will be doing it a little differently than before the pandemic, thanks to the wonders of remote work. According to a study by flexjobs.com, 78% of CEOs agree that remote collaboration is here to stay. Though many of us have had over a year’s worth of experience doing everything remotely, we haven’t had to do so with the volume of work coming as part of the Grand Reopening. With work flowing in, deadlines to meet, and integrated teams executing complex projects, resource management will be critical to not only the success of the work, but continued and sustained client satisfaction. As business starts booming and some of us are still remote at least part of the time, over-communicating will be huge. Because it’s a little trickier to tell when a remote colleague may be overwhelmed or struggling, frequent check-ins will help everyone feel seen, heard and solution minded.

Finally, and this is perhaps the toughest piece of advice to remember in the busiest moments, but we will need to be prepared to prioritize in the face of failure. A Batman quote I frequently use when “project managing” my two young sons at home holds just as true in the workplace: “What happens when you fall down? You get back up.” Strategic pivots from senior leaders will happen, campaigns will underperform unexpectedly, unforeseen cultural events will shift buying habits and the list goes on. Plan for deadlines to get bumped, acknowledge the possibility of negative outcomes and become intimate with the worst-case scenario. When these things do happen, you’ll have a gameplan for overcoming the challenge and your team will quickly emerge more battle-tested than ever before. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that there’s immense power in perseverance.

At the end of the day, we are all here to deliver strategic work that we should be proud to promote. All the prioritizations, communications and even frustrations are part of the process, and will serve to make us even stronger for these roaring 20s.

Trying to figure out which of your marketing priorities should take priority? Marriner can help with that. Get in touch with David Melnick, VP of Strategic Partnerships, at 410.336.1000 or davidm@marriner.com.


Barua, Akrur. A spring in consumers’ steps: Americans prepare to get back to their spending ways, Deloitte, June 2021.

Courtney, Emily. Remote Work Statistics: Navigating the New Normal, FlexJobs, 2021.

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