After diving into some online articles about ‘2021 trends in marketing’ to deliver you this big 5 list it was reassuring to discover that not only was there a lot of consistent thinking out there, but the findings also support what I would have guessed. The single most significant factor driving these trends has been the impact of Covid-19 on lifestyle, attitudes, and behaviour – all critical considerations in marketing. In no order, here are the big 5…
1. Growth in digital marketing
From innovative virtual events with an emphasis on more interaction through to using technology to boost online functionality and automation capabilities across various platforms; there are plenty of reasons why digital marketers across all industries plan to spend on average 25% more on digital marketing.
2. People and community
Covid-19 has created a huge need for meaningful connections with humans and this has had far-reaching marketing implications. The political and social climates have caused marketers to tread delicately and not always get it right from a consumers’ point of view. Some of the brand horror stories have left marketers thinking hard and fast about who they are, what they stand for and how they can best create alignment with their customers. Many businesses have found their true north by focusing on customer-centricity and valuing its own people (employees)…putting them at the heart of every decision. They are also finding new ways of building communities, especially online.
3. Technological transformation
Technology has been the glue that held things together when the Covid pandemic struck and those that were already ahead of the curve on a technology front had a massive advantage in terms of being closest to ‘business as usual’ even during the first wave. This has resulted in technology focused businesses further embedding this ‘cutting edge’ philosophy into their culture and surely some who lacked that technological advantage in 2020 are looking at how they can turn that around in 2021 and beyond. Whether that is simply better contingency planning or leveraging smart data, now is the time to go from ‘pivot’ to ‘purposeful’ transformation.
4. Riding the momentum of change
Noticed those sneaky little price changes in your café coffees recently? There has been so much change from all angles that businesses are using the momentum of change around them to change the way they operate. Whether that is price increases justified by the “minimum wage increase” (as one café owner explained to me when I queried whether I’d been overcharged for my coffee!) or revised terms of trade, there is certainly a lot of movement in the way things are done. This has created both challenges and opportunities for marketers to employ their best communication skills to ensure their customers are on board. Marketers that try to apply the same ‘game plan’ they used pre-Covid may find they get left behind in the dust as the world has moved on in the way it works, plays, shops, eats etc.
5. Immediacy and responsiveness
Powered by technology, it is becoming easier to provide the immediacy and responsiveness demanded in crisis situations, such as those presented by Covid-19. Automation, deep data insights and AI, all made possible by sophisticated software, are being used to deliver your marketing content at an even more right time, right place and personalised manner that will shorten the gap between identification and conversion. You may have barely left the store after making one purchase when you get lured straight back to make another with time-sensitive marketing messages sent via your mobile phone to shape your behaviour.
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