10 Marketing Trends for 2021
10 up and coming marketing trends to watch out for.
After the world-changing pandemic of COVID-19 struck in 2020, it almost seems trivial to discuss “trends” in 2021. Rather than simply initiating trends, the pandemic actually launched an awakening.
That awakening is all about the customer.
From digital transformation and content creation to AI and video marketing, everything brands do is focused on attracting, engaging with, and enabling customers to succeed. We would have watched these tools and initiatives develop eventually. But thanks to COVID-19, we’re seeing the change much sooner.
Here are 10 trends we’ll see in 2021:
While innovation was humming along at its rapid pace, 2020 injected it with rocket fuel. The urgency for brands to upgrade their digital environment quickly raced to the forefront. Data is at the centerpiece.
Brands will leverage their data insights to create new levels of personalization. They’ll offer more personal shopping experiences that consumers are looking for. They’ll depend on all of their digital platforms and tools to capture and measure data to translate it into processes and content to optimize their customers’ experience.
2020 launched a new era of remote work. During the health crisis, many brands including tech giants like Facebook and Google enabled more of their teams to work from home. In 2021, the movement toward remote work is continuing.
Businesses can win with less real estate and infrastructure expenses, while workers win with increased flexibility and eliminated commutes. Leaders will have to leverage communication and employee engagement tools to ensure their remote teams are equipped, motivated, and rowing in the same direction.
As a necessity, most events have moved from in-person to virtual. While online events can’t replace the dynamic of live events, they offer a greater ROI for event holders and increased accessibility for attendees.
The key to success is designing these events for two-way engagement. One-way webinars or talks won’t cut it. Attendees are looking for live interaction. Expect virtual events to stay for the long haul. Those with the most engaging communities will win.
Content is king and will continue to reign. Content is also a brand’s best friend for SEO. Brands that produce great content that helps their customers will grow their revenue and build deep loyalty with their audience.
User-generated content helps brands connect with customers and enables brands to generate more content. With an ever-expanding pool of content absorbing the internet, only the brands producing the best content will leverage its power.
Social & Political Environment
The social and political movements that exploded last year will continue to shape brands’ communication for the foreseeable future. Customers want to engage with brands who not only talk about inclusivity, sustainability, and the environment, but advance real solutions that bring change.
Companies will have to carefully navigate their positions on certain political and social issues to avoid alienating segments of their markets.
Artificial Intelligence will continue to advance and help brands deliver better customer experiences. Brands will need to employ AI to keep up with competitors, reduce their costs, and discover new markets to enter.
The technology will take customization to a new level. Brands will no longer be required to A/B test their digital campaigns. Ad platforms will take care of that - as they deliver ads, they’ll learn what works best and what doesn’t.
Customers hold the cards in the brand-customer relationship. They have access to all of the information they need as well as a vast sea of competing brands to choose from. To win them over, brands must be authentic - and show customers who and what they stand for.
They must put their customers first in all that they do. While some consider customer-centricity a trend, it’s actually the mindset that should always define everything a brand does. The brands that invest in their customers and communicate their value will come out on top.
Video content is the gold standard and will continue to grow in popularity and practice. Video is the most popular way that customers want to learn about products. Consumers crave video content for information, education, entertainment, and inspiration. Brands will increase their usage of video content. Video is highly valued by search engines, as well as consumers, and it serves as ideal anchor content that can be repurposed in podcasts, written copy, images, and more.
Voice & Visual Search
Both voice and visual search enable consumers to find the information they need with the convenience they’re looking for. Brands will create and optimize content for these search methods. Top brands offer tools like Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, CamFind app, Bing visual search, and more. Plus, one in four US adults have a smart speaker in their home.
Adoption of these conveniences will grow. Brands can’t depend on traditional search methods to deliver the same past results. Fortunately, customer experience, not the search format, reigns supreme. By optimizing content for the consumer, your search results in voice and visual will reflect it.
It will be exciting to see what additional new developments arise in 2021. Regardless - marketers have to stay on their toes. Innovation is only accelerating.
Head of Marketing, Emory Solutions
Clint has been growing brands for over 20 years. He's worked with ecommerce startups, educational institutions, nonprofits, manufacturers and a variety of professional service organizations to build an identity that resonates with their audience. Clint is the head of marketing for Emory Solutions. Emory provides data insights and digital marketing services - enabling companies to leverage technology to develop talent, grow revenue, optimize systems, and scale impact.
For over 20 years, I've worked with ecommerce startups, educational institutions, nonprofits, manufacturers and a variety of professional service organizations to help them build an identity that resonates with their audience. I'm currently on the leadership team of Emory Solutions.