Last year, marketers were on a roller coaster as the pandemic rapidly shifted what people needed, how they were getting it, and the most appropriate ways to advertise without looking insensitive. It’s understandable if you’re craving a little more predictability from 2021.
No one can truly predict if this year is going to see people heading back into brick-and-mortar stores, spending more on luxury goods, or traveling away from home more often. We can only watch the news and remain hopeful, just like everyone else.
But there are some trends already emerging and likely to continue evolving in the months ahead. We’ve rounded up three of the biggest trends that we believe are going to shape marketing no matter what happens with politics or the pandemic, giving you the best chance to create a year-long plan that isn’t overly susceptible to the winds of change.
Top 3 Marketing Trends of 2021:
1) Virtual Events –
Last year forced many companies that typically marketed themselves at conferences, workshops, and industry events to change courses and bring that content online. It brought a lot of growing pains, but also a huge opportunity to expand those companies into new territories by introducing them to new markets, all over the world, and beyond cost-bound audiences who previously needed to pay full ticket, flight, and hotel expenses. Now, those companies have the tools and experience to continue participating in remote events (without having their own staff travel away) or hosting their own in-house events, so it’s likely companies will continue to leverage this knowledge base and find out how it will serve them long after it’s once again safe and common to bring together hundreds of people in a convention center or auditorium again.
2) Local Advertising –
Many people started shopping more locally out of need or convenience in 2020. This allowed them to order online and pick up products in-store or curbside, but still access them same-day (the way they were used to shopping for items like everyday home goods, groceries, and other as-needed items). Because shipping slowed down and it got expensive when you were having everything delivered to your door, this meant a great opportunity for local stores to compete with bigger international chains. People have now opened their minds to trying new companies and finding better prices, more ethical brands, and more accessible products; therefore, community-targeted ads and locally positioned placements will continue to serve smaller businesses in 2021.
3) Concentrated Digital Engagement –
A lot of companies had to cut back on resources in the past year, or they were working with a smaller number of staff than they were used to. This meant it was vital to focus on what was important and let the less-productive work fall to the wayside. The pattern definitely hit digital marketing and social media verticals, as companies found themselves without the bandwidth to maintain consistent messaging and strong brand management on dozens of channels at the same time. Therefore, many companies audited their online presence and decided to really focus on where they found their best engagement, delivering the messaging there that resonated. By whittling down their output, they were able to deepen that engagement with greater discussions online, forming more personal relationships, and customizing content. Doing more with less, and aiming for quality over quantity, will continue to impact how brands engage online in 2021.
We’re not saying you need to follow this advice just because it’s trendy; in fact, sometimes it’s useful to stand out from the crowd. But it’s useful to think about why marketers are pursuing these avenues and whether or not that reasoning also applies to your business model. It’s also important to consider how this will change the “competitive edge” in your industry. For example, will you fall behind if you’re not focusing on digital video content and hosting online workshops? Take what you need, and leave the rest behind.
For a truly customized annual marketing plan based on your brand strategy and customer behavior, reach out to us anytime.