The future of marketing and PR is always evolving. This year has proven this to be true. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders led to a great inflection for every marketer in all industries. The lesson learned was one of adaptation. Brands were able to reflect on their inbound marketing, strategy boards were revisited, and new marketing trends rose from this uncharted world. In the end, new paths for digital marketing during a crisis were forged.
The new year still holds uncertainties. Only one thing is certain — traditional marketing won’t cut it anymore. An unexpected year brought with it an abundance of insight to be gained and, most importantly, leveraged for next year’s marketing efforts.
Regroup your marketing team for the new year with key 2020 takeaways and 2021 marketing trends predictions from leaders in the industry.
Double Down on Purpose
Today’s customers expect the brand they buy from to be a reflection of their values. With this year’s social upheavals, global pandemic and divisive political culture, businesses are shifting their marketing strategies beyond simple product promotion. Now, customers are looking to a company’s ads, social media channels and web content to see if a brand’s values align with their own. Developing a CSR strategy is now top of mind for brand leaders. It’s refreshing to see CEOs and brands take a stand on important issues and leverage their marketing platform to shed light on those issues. This purpose-driven trend will continue well into the years ahead, touching every face of brand strategy, from social media marketing to content creation.
A Demand For Authentic Influencers
Whether on Facebook or Twitter, changing consumer behaviour on a social media platform could mean big news for your brand. 2020 showed us that consumers are deeply invested in who the influencers they follow are as people. Beyond fashion tips or new recipes, consumers want to know what that their favourite influencers are driven by, the causes they care about or even their political beliefs. This means businesses must be especially careful in identifying influencers to represent their brand, making sure they’re vetting beyond reach and demographics, and looking at their passions and how they connect with their followers, to ensure they’re the right brand fit .
Virtual Tradeshows Are Here To Stay
Although marketing event planning went virtual out of necessity during the pandemic, organisers and attendees discovered they offer a number of advantages over traditional in-person tradeshows. Less expensive event tickets, zero travel time, the flexibility to view presentations how and when you want — all resulted in greater attendance numbers this year. In this new realm of digital marketing, we can expect even more investment in online events in the year ahead.
Refine the Digital Customer Experience
Storefronts are now digital. From Facebook Shops and shoppable posts to conversational commerce, brand awareness in this digital era will require some creativity. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) need to remind their communities that they are open for business, even if that’s only online. Experimenting with new digital channels can be a great way to surprise your customer and generate engagement from your community. I’m also a fan of building brands of all sizes visually, but that requires businesses to take a more creative and targeted approach than they have in years past. Don’t be afraid to try new things – consumers are tired and won’t take notice if your brand is only offering more of the same.
Enter the Micro World of Influencer Marketing
Personalisation to the consumer experience has been a growing trend in the digital marketing domain — a customer’s content experience is no different. Brands are increasingly seeking niche influencers to deliver content that’s fine-tuned to their consumer. Because many of these influencers fall within the micro-category – a crocheting expert or robot builder – the success of the partnership is driven by the influencer’s authentic point-of-view in a very specific category, as well as their close connection with their target audience. And in many instances, these niche micro influencers can be more valuable than those with millions of followers but no specific message. Brands looking to build reach should then also consider amplifying influencer posts with paid media or incorporating the influencer’s content into their website or social feed, to capture their unique voice without sacrificing reach.
Back To Basics for a Return to Normal
A back-to-basics marketing approach is more critical than ever. As the economy is still in recovery and marketing budgets remain tight, every dollar has to count. In order to have effective creative, you need a great marketing strategy — one that starts with specificity. That means revisiting your objectives, refreshing your understanding of your audiences and making sure you are pressure-testing every step in your marketing funnel. Now is the time.
Expect to see a cautious increase in marketing budgets leading into 2021. Holiday budgets will be focused on eCommerce channels, social selling and tons of discounts. Early next year, these budgets will begin to increase again across B2B and B2C brands as companies relax fiscal constraints following the influx of holiday revenue and the promise of a return to normal.”
Looking for more ways to keep your marketing efforts informed? Get the rest of the top marketing trends to include in your 2021 planning:
- 2021 Trends: Market Research
- 2021 Trends: Digital Marketing
- 2021 Trends: Social Media
- 2021 Trends: Design
- 2021 Trends: Communications