Year in Review: The Biggest Marketing Trends of 2021

It was another unique year, with unpredictable pacing and creative challenges for marketers in every specialty and sector. Some people thrive on rising to those challenges, but we can understand teams who prefer a steady strategy and a well-planned road forward, as well.

Sometimes, everything makes a little more sense when you can look back at it in one frame. So we’ve compiled a list of the top trends we witnessed in marketing over the past year.

1- More Online Shopping. Obviously, this trend rocketed in 2020 and it absolutely never slowed down in 2021. More and more websites added online shopping and shipping options, or they broadened their ways to buy and pay. Contactless transactions, advance payment options, and other adjacent e-commerce strategies have also influenced how products and services are marketed and consumed.

2- Asking for Help. Between the pandemic and economic decline, as well as workers seeking better opportunities in what’s come to be known as “The Great Resignation,” companies have learned to retain specialists, contractors, and other outside help when needed. Conglomerates that used to think they could do it all and do it best have realized that having the flexibility to ask for, and accept, external help is actually an asset that can keep the gears moving at top speed no matter what internal changes might occur.

3- Embracing Automation. Companies are learning how to schedule emails in advance, plan ad runs to start and end surrounding certain events, and draft and automatically publish social media posts and blogs … sometimes for entire seasons at once! This lightens the day-to-day load significantly for workers, allowing them to focus on more emergent needs.

4- Data Audits. Society has collectively acknowledged the need for analytics in our marketing efforts, thankfully! But now, many companies are sitting on their data like dragons hoarding treasure. In 2021, corporations began planning regular audits of their data and looking for ways to either optimize or monetize it. More strategy is coming out as the result of those audits.

5- Single Source of Truth. In the past, companies might have grabbed some information from their internal specialists, other information from websites, and more data from software reports. Sometimes, all of this added up to great insights. Other times, there were contradictions. Or teams were citing different stats in different public places. Today, it’s better understood that companies look better, stand stronger, and sound smarter if they identify a “single source of truth” and use these sources, specialists, or documents for all agendas.

If we’ve left anything off this list that bears mentioning, let us know! And if there’s anything here that might benefit your company in the months ahead, let’s have a conversation about putting these techniques to work for you.

Next…check back for our predictions about the top marketing trends for 2022.

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