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Marketing Trends To Watch For In 2021

In today’s post, we’ll break down the 10 hottest marketing trends of 2021. These marketing trends are based on emerging tech or the refinement of existing tech. You can employ these tactics right away, taking your marketing efforts from ho-hum to zoom. In this post, we’ll be exploring:

• The future of cookies

• Facebook, TikTok and short videos

• The power of programmatic advertising

• How chatbots can take your customer service to the next level

• Much more!

Ready? Let’s get started

10 Marketing Trends for 2021

The following marketing trends are each powerful in their own right. But for best results, look for unique ways to combine them.

#1 Digital Transformation Marches On

Digital transformation will continue unabated in 2021. Digital transformation is, of course, the application of digital technologies to analog and offline processes. COVID-19 has increased the pressure to adapt, and many companies are realizing that there’s no going back.

This has a couple of startling implications:

• If your product or service aids in digital transformation or increases a company’s agility, you should probably invest more heavily in marketing this year

• Companies across the board, including your competitors, will become more agile than ever before in the coming years, starting right now

#2 Companies Will Continue to Focus on Core Values

Meaning, purpose, mission.

These concepts mean a lot of Millennials. In a post COVID world—or indeed any time immediately following a major catastrophe—these young consumers want to know that the companies they buy from have heart. Consequently, it’s becoming trendy for companies to put their meaning and purpose on display.

Emotional advertising that targets millennials can backfire. But some companies are stellar at it. Here are a few brands that have mastered the art. Study their campaigns:

  • Netflix

  • Always

  • Nike

  • Doritos

  • 5 Pound Apparel

  • PBR Beer

  • Best Western

When creating messaging that is designed to convey your meaning and purpose, lean into authenticity. Young consumers are great at sniffing out disingenuous advertising campaigns.

#3 Companies Will Continue to Embrace Automation

One of the largest projected marketing trends of 2021 is the accelerated pace of automation. 2020 brought unique challenges, such as:

  • An increased reliance on remote work

  • A glut of remote work options, such as webinar platforms, to choose from

  • Consumers who were leading disrupted lives and dealing with high amounts of fear and stress

Combined, these factors can lead to frustration and choice paralysis in marketers. There’s no denying that automation represents higher costs. However, it also provides staggering benefits. Plus, you can’t expect your competitors to drop these wondrous tools just because their budgets return to normal. Instead, you can expect to be out competed if you don’t embrace these tools yourself.

Automation allows you to:

  • Save time

  • Spend more effectively

  • Scale your campaigns

  • Strengthen sales

  • Build effortless partnerships

  • More easily measure success

Don’t ignore these tools just because they represent an upfront cost. They can pay big dividends.

#4 LinkedIn Will Become More Relevant

The platform was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. Since then, Microsoft has worked hard to ensure the platform remains relevant. The company has been building its social selling capabilities, and this effort paid dividends in 2020. You can expect this trend to continue, and the platform will likely become more relevant than ever.

With LinkedIn, you can:

  • Build your brand with social selling

  • Net leads and sales with paid ads

While CPCs are high on LinkedIn compared to, say, Facebook, you’re paying a premium for a reason. The quality of leads on LinkedIn is exceptionally high. The platform’s incredibly tight focus ensures this. Make sure that your product or service is relevant to that audience, though.

#5 Influencer Marketing Will Become More Relevant

People trust people. It’s a basic tenet of human psychology.

Influencers have, well, influence. Influencer marketing has been growing since 2010, and it shows no signs of slowing. From vegan activists to keto advocates, influencers abound. Many of them will promote your product or service—for a fee.

When dipping your toes into influencer marketing, keep a few things in mind:

• Audience targeting is paramount. It’s easy to get this wrong. Just because your audience is vegan doesn’t mean they’ll buy your organic honey. Many vegans don’t eat honey as they believe that its production exploits bees. Know your influencer, and you’ll know their audience. Once in the negotiation phase, ask specific questions to gauge whether your product will jive with their followers.

• Content quality is extremely important. If you’re not providing your own content or guidelines, carefully review the influencer’s videos, blog posts, etc. Place content quality over looks or audience size. Low quality content, be it video or written, will lower the income potential of your campaign. Note how well they segue into product placement or how smoothly they integrate sponsored links into blog posts, too.

Brand ambassadors will become more important going forward. But the brand ambassador is different. You can think of a brand ambassador as a mega-fan. They’re happy to promote your product or service because they use it, love it and believe in it. Sometimes, it’s enough to keep these happy customers stocked and they’ll sing your praises all over social media. Not surprisingly, then, you can look for brand ambassadors on…social media. Reach out when you identify them.

Just be careful to keep the relationship on the up and up. If money changes hands, then you’re altering the relationship. Be aware of any potential legal obligations or liabilities this may expose you to.

#6 Cookies Will Start to Crumble

The long-standing cookie may be relegated to the annals of Internet history. Last year, Google announced that it’s looking for alternatives to third-party cookies. This has far-reaching implications for marketers. After all, cookies have always been how we target consumers.

Google will remove cookie support from its flagship browser Chrome shortly, and other browsers are likely to follow suit. Google’s alternative process, which it refers to as the ‘Federated Learning of Cohorts,’ is said to be 95 percent as effective as cookies. Time will tell.

According to Google, the initiative is about protecting consumers while allowing content to ‘remain free on the open Web.’

Other proposed solutions, like Single Sign-On authentication are in the works by companies like Facebook.

Possible implication: you may have to become familiar with a few different tracking methodologies until a clear winner emerges. But herein lies opportunity. If you can identify which system allows superior tracking once cookies are phased out, you can come out on top.

#7 Short Videos Last

Short videos, such as those that are under 60 seconds, will gain in popularity. These videos are often funny, and they fit the hectic lifestyle of the modern consumer. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram make these videos widely available and easy to digest. While the growth of these platforms is being driven by young consumers, their popularity among older demographics is growing.

Content marketing via short video may seem an odd ball concept, but think about it. You can, even in a 10 second video, achieve some stellar product placement. You could, if your product fits the time frame, demonstrate your product working at record speed. You could invite TikTok influencers to cross post on their profile, massively benefiting from their existing audience. Meanwhile, TikTok Effects make videos pop and add value, keeping users engaged with your profile.

The key here is quantity.

With only 60 seconds to work with, you’ll need to create a lot of videos to keep people interested in your content. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can skimp on quality. Hiring a professional to come up with engaging video content is always a good idea.

#8 Programmatic Advertising is The Future

Programmatic advertising is the marriage of digital advertising and artificial intelligence. It’s a big deal, and it’s rapidly replacing traditional display ads. According to data from eMarketer, around 85 percent of digital display ads are programmatic. That’s staggering.

If you haven’t embraced this ad type yet, doing so should be your main marketing priority in 2021.

Programmatic ads use AI to automate the buying and selling of ad space. One simple application of this technology is real-time bidding. But the technology also allows real-time reporting, more targeting options, enhanced budget spending optimization and fraud protection.

Just imagine the advantage your competitors have if they’ve already switched to this new way of spending.

#9 The Rise of The Chat bots

According to some estimates, chatbots will power up to 90 percent of customer service by 2022. There’s good reason for this. Smart chatbots—those powered by predictive AI—can save your customers time without forcing them to interact with a human agent. When the system works right, the interaction is smooth and frictionless. Your customer finds an answer to their question by communicating with a system that:

  1. Is always helpful

  2. Never interrupts

  3. Is never rude

What’s more, chatbots don’t need sleep. They’re always on and always connected. If chatbot technology allows you to thin your customer service department a bit, you can pour that extra revenue directly into the other marketing strategies you’ve learned in this post.

Many chatbot services offer easy integration with your website. This allows your customers to easily find information about your product or service. Or if the bot can’t answer a specific question, the potential customer can use the service to leave you a message.

Then you can respond to them at your leisure. In this way, a good chatbot solution can act as a lead capture system. This helps you milk every last drop of marketing budget out of ads designed to attract leads from elsewhere online.

#10 Conversational Marketing Goes Viral

Finally, we have conversational marketing. Conversational marketing is similar to the use of chatbots, except it’s more of an interactive FAQ. The popularity of chatbots points to a shift in consumer preferences: modern consumers want to talk to companies they like. They want to interact with you. They want to see your human side. So take advantage of that.

Conversational AI dialog allows you to create pre-written answers to customer questions, giving you the opportunity to inject personality into your messaging. Consumers can access these answers wherever they are, like on their mobile phone. If you use this type of pseudo-interactive system, make sure to include many calls to action in your pre-written responses. Especially if you’re a business to business operation. While it’s nice that potential customers are reading about you, always encourage them to reach out to you personally for a one-on-one chat.

There you have it, 10 powerful marketing trends you can use right now to set your year up for success. Which of these appeals to you the most? Let us know in the comments section below!


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