In response to the chaos that 2020 brought with it, businesses of all types had to change their approach quickly and drastically to marketing.
While it definitely has not been the easiest time, certain trends have emerged from the coronavirus crisis and its ensuing restrictions that have changed the marketing game for the better. And, in some cases, the move simply accelerated shifts that were probably going to happen further down the line. That said, here are seven of the biggest trends that look set to continue into 2021.
One of the most notable changes to the marketing landscape was the shutdown of in-person events. With the risk of transmitting the coronavirus just too high, many were canceled at a moment’s notice.
The savvier marketers amongst us, though, moved their events online. Whether it was a virtual gallery opening, a live-streamed talk, or a virtual conference, many found ways to bring people to events without them having to leave their homes thanks to virtual events platforms.
Also notable about the last twelve months has been the emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Consumers want to know that the brands they buy into represent them and their interests, rather than just the interests of a select few.
But it’s not all that easy to hit the right marks when it comes to inclusion in marketing. And big-name brands are paying the price for getting it wrong, with some having had to issue apologies. So, it’s likely that 2021 will be the year that brands begin to fine-tune their inclusive marketing strategies.
In order to create trust amongst audiences and put a relatable, human face to the brand, many businesses have been working with influencers. It is generally seen as a more authentic way of interacting with consumers and is great for driving up engagement.
Live streams, social media takeovers, and product promotions are becoming more and more mainstream, and are likely to continue in the months ahead.
Convenience is another thing that consumers are keen on at the moment. This can be seen most plainly in the recent increase in voice search. At the moment, almost a third of the US population uses voice search on a regular basis — a number that is expected to rise by 9.7 percent in 2021. In a recent poll of over 1,000 Millennials, 45% said they use voice assistants when shopping online.
People also want to do more on their social media. With so much on the internet fighting for their attention, the more they can do in one place, the better. The result has been the introduction of shopping platforms to sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
The easy-to-use marketplaces that have been built into some of the most popular websites are making competition between sellers even tighter. So, marketers are going to have to learn to adapt to the new way of doing things, fast. Online stores, on the other hand, will have to implement advanced shipping rules if they plan to stay competitive in the market.
It’s becoming ever clearer that people prefer to invest their time and money with businesses that personalize their services. And not only that, but consumers are getting sick and tired of the generic marketing campaigns that constantly bombard them.
The last thing marketers want to do is fall foul of their loyal customers. As such, we are likely to see a rise in personalized experiences on websites and in advertising and graphic design. This could include product and title recommendations, as well as email newsletters; which have been tailored to people’s habits and preferences.
Human beings are starting to understand the role we play in the climate crisis. Because of this, more consumers than ever want to shop with brands that are doing their bit for the environment.
In 2020, there was a rise in people purchasing products that were made from sustainable materials, shipped in recyclable packaging, or produced by carbon-neutral companies. As pressure mounts for us to make greener choices, consumers will continue looking to brands that can provide sustainable options that are high quality and affordable, too.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.