Global trends shaping marketing in 2021

It’s been one hell of a period for marketers. 2020 was a year of complete unpredictability that forced many brands to adapt their marketing strategies in order to keep up with the newly emerged trends propelled by the pandemic.

Video conferencing and live streaming became the new face-to-face, online sales went through the roof, and Tiktok and Clubhouse emerged as two big players in the world of social.

As we venture further into the new year and further out of lockdown 3.0, we take a look at which marketing trends will become more prevalent.

Virtual events will become integrated into the marketing funnel beyond lockdown

The past year saw many in-person events replaced by an explosion of online, virtual events by brands. Our screens transformed into both our window to the outside world and our stage for workplace meetings, social gatherings and live entertainment.

Virtual burnout is very real for many of us right now. “Please no, not another Zoom quiz”, I hear you cry…

While many of us would rather see the back of virtual socialising, the value of virtual events in marketing cannot be underestimated. Even after in-person events are able to safely resume, we should totally expect virtual events to still have a place in one’s marketing strategy.

Brands now have a major opportunity to engage consumers by blending live performances, built-in social environments and audience participation across platforms. Consumer demand for immersive digital experiences is at an all-time high, with investment in interactive technology skyrocketing of recent. Facebook launched its Watch Together feature last year which enables users to enjoy and engage with videos remotely in Messenger with friends, and streaming platforms such as Twitch have reached new levels of popularity.

The positive environmental impact of virtual events will also play a major factor in this trend staying put. According to research, a 1,000-person conference over two days can produce more CO2 emissions than over 200 average American homes per year. In comparison, virtual events reduce carbon impact due to reducing air travel, ground transportation and accommodation. With consumers becoming increasingly earth conscious, virtual events will prove to be an attractive alternative to the in-person event when possible.


Digital marketing spend will continue to grow

Digitalisation has truly been the lifeline for businesses across varying industries throughout the pandemic; from bakeries to book shops. Social distancing measures forced many businesses to buck up their digital strategies in order to continue reaching their audiences from behind closed doors.

Consumers are expecting more and more from brands delivering a digital experience, and those businesses that aren’t scaling up their digital spending are likely to be outpaced by competitors.

This year, we should expect brands to increase their spend on digital marketing in order to keep up with the competition and remain at the forefront of consumers minds.

Despite a decline in ad spend last year due to the impact of Covid-19, Global ad spend is forecast to rebound and grow by 5.8 percent globally in 2021, according to the recently released Dentu Ad Spend Report. The report combines data from 59 markets and anticipates that £424bn will be spent globally, with all regions enjoying positive growth to offset a fall of 8.8 percent in 2020.

We will no doubt witness the tech giants pocketing big profit as brands increase their digital spending, as well as the rise of social media and influencer marketing as businesses recognise the need to incorporate user-generated content to add authenticity to campaigns.


Brands must humanise in order to build trust

Our next trend follows nicely from the need to add authenticity to campaigns. 2020 highlighted the need for brands to be empathetic and build trust with their customers. When a brand connects on a humane, empathic level, people are more open to trusting its intentions and believing that their needs are truly being addressed

In a 2021 Deloitte study, 82 percent of respondents said they would do more business with a brand that pivoted quickly to meet their needs – and more than one-fourth of customers walked away from a brand they perceived as acting in their own self-interest. In the same study, 5 out of the top 7 global marketing trends focused squarely on people.

This year, we should expect marketers to work more on aligning their intentions with their actions, delivering their promises and meeting customers’ value-based needs.


Marketers will rely more on machine learning and deep data insights  to engage  customers

We’re already well into the era of Big Data, but this year it’s truly going big. The colossal amount of data we are collecting is increasing at a rapid speed and shows no sign of slowing down. 2021 will be the year we really put this data to use with machine learning and personalisation.

We humans don’t have the capacity to process this huge amount of data, but fortunately for us, advancements in AI technology and machine learning algorithms will enable us to uncover valuable insights to drive growth.

An example of just one of the uses that machine learning will offer marketers is the hyper-personalisation of marketing campaigns. This refers to everything from delivering the right form of content, connecting on the most effective channel, to the sequence of events that will lead to a successful path of conversion.

If brands aren’t starting to ramp up their personalisation efforts this year they really do risk losing out to competitors who are providing their audience with value exactly at the right time with the help of advanced technology.

After the unpredictable year we’ve had, many marketers are going back to the drawing board and thinking long and hard about the best ways they can connect with their audiences. It’s clear to see that the next 12 months will revolve predominantly around brands connecting with customers on a more human-centric level, using data insights to predict the right time for this.

Get in touch with us today for a no-obligation chat about how we can work with your brand to ensure prosperous growth in 2021 and beyond.