Review of 2020 marketing changes and trends for 2021

min read

2020 has confirmed that change is inevitable and nothing stays the same forever. What does 2021 have in store for us?


The challenges and opportunities for a post-2020 world

If nothing else, 2020 has confirmed that change is inevitable, and nothing stays the same forever. Many of us had got comfortable working in our old, traditional ways. Then suddenly we were forced to do something different. Those that have adapted the quickest will survive, and those that continue to cling to their old ways and approaches will fail.

Knowing this, perhaps we will be less resistant to change and adapt to situations with a little more ease than before. In marketing, adjusting and driving toward specific goals will be critical elements in becoming successful and maintaining that success in the current global climate.

What does 2021 have in store for us?

We are probably ready for anything after this year, but sometimes all we need is some guidance. Marketing trends are evolving rapidly, and that means that marketers need to understand how to keep up.

What follows are a few of the results of 2020 and our expectations as to what, as digital marketers, we will see in 2021.

Companies will be forced to embrace digital marketing

Face-to-face events, in-person meetings and personal demonstrations are no longer possible and are likely to remain that way for most of the coming year. However, this trend may have further-reaching implications.

Many people are shifting their expectations and no longer want to travel to events or the office. Companies are beginning to discover that remote working is not only viable but sometimes even desirable.

Traditional sales and marketing tactics like trade-shows, events, cold calls and direct mails will give way to digital approaches. Digital marketing, like marketing automation, email marketing, and SEO can reach people wherever they are working and offer the benefit of taking in-person contact and the hassle of travel out of the picture.

In short, companies will have to invest in their digital marketing if they wish to continue to grow past 2020.

Digital / virtual selling will become the norm

In a similar fashion to how companies will have to change how they gain leads, they will also have to change how they nurture them. The days of salespeople heading out to meet clients every day are over - at least for the foreseeable future.

In 2021 and beyond, companies will use social media to identify possible targets and use digital channels to engage with them. Through email, content and webinars, salespeople will nurture prospects digitally. They will increasingly use virtual meeting applications to touch-base and service clients, entirely remotely.

However, this is not to say that in-person meetings will completely disappear. We expect that many clients will still appreciate in-person meetings - but the frequency of these meetings will decrease.

Video is no longer an option, it's essential

According to Optinmonster, video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year than those with no video in their strategy. Optinmonster also concluded that video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness. Additionally, 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer thanks to a social media video.

In other words, video is effective - and your competitors are using it.

Simple, short-form, personal videos will provide a way for businesses to convey their personality and expertise without the expense of more lavish productions. If you’re not using video marketing, chances are you’re falling behind. With digital channels being widely used as social distancing continues into 2021, video will play an essential role for companies.

Blocking of 3rd party cookies

Things are becoming a lot less sweet for marketers who rely on 3rd party cookies.

More and more browsers are blocking 3rd party cookies and tracking. One such example is Apple's upcoming change to iOS, but in fact, 82% of browsers will block cookies by default by the end of 2021. The main reason behind this move is the general need to show the practical steps providers are taking to protect the privacy of their users. While this may put some people at ease, it will make things a lot harder for digital marketers. Personalised adverts and ROI reporting on PPC campaigns will become significantly more complicated and involve more skill to achieve effectively.

It seems that marketers will need to look for ways to engage more directly and openly. Channels such as social media and strategies like inbound marketing will thus be essential for digital marketing efforts.

Account-based marketing for B2B

B2B marketers are beginning to lean towards the few big fish in a small pond. This means that identifying good customers and taking care of those customers will be all the more important moving forward.

Thus, account-based marketing will become the standard approach for B2B companies. More tools, applications and solutions will support this as a marketing approach, helping to provide better ways in identifying leads and account engagement.

Events will go hybrid

This year, businesses experimented with virtual events out of necessity and government mandate. Some companies found success, while others needed to work out a few kinks. The attendance for these events varied depending on the industry, type of event, and brand. However, every organisation discovered that this approach does work.

As lockdowns slowly start to ease up around the world, physical events will begin to make a come-back. However, companies will soon realise that their audiences could be far greater if they offered a hybrid online-physical format. By allowing some attendees to visit in person, whilst providing online streams and virtual visitor booths for others, they can appeal to people who won’t be able to or won't want to travel as well as the local attendees who would like to join in person.

Customer retention

The market conditions, as well as how businesses and customers react to them, will make finding new customers continue to be problematic in the days to come. Having a customer base that already supports your initiatives will be precious for organisations in 2021.

Due to this, customer retention marketing and initiatives will take centre-stage over customer acquisition. Marketers would do well to focus on onboarding, cross-selling and upselling campaigns rather than exclusive lead generation activities.

The slow death of Facebook

The first social media titan seems to be in its final stages. Facebook is becoming less and less relevant. Millennials are still onboard, but usage by older and younger generations is dropping significantly. We're also seeing more pressure on Facebook's business model with current threats to break up the company from the US and EU governments.

What this means is that users are increasingly drawn to more specific content and platform offerings. LinkedIn is growing and offering a more professional, B2B environment while Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok are taking a more visual approach, bringing in a younger, more informal audience.

Digital marketers will have to vary their social media outreach initiatives and offer specific content suited to each platform if they wish to remain relevant.

Interactive content will continue to grow in use

Customer expectations are growing, and their demand for fast, quick and efficient ways to solve their problems are too. Keeping customers interested while seeking solutions to their problems will help companies retain and satisfy their customers.

This is where interactive content will shine, now and in the future. Short videos that can be replied to online, chatbots, interactive assessments and calculators, or tools that help people to solve a small problem quickly will reign in 2021 and beyond.

Integrated, cross channel campaigns are essential

Single send emails may have worked in the past - but that was over 30 years ago. Today, there is no more place for single tactic campaigns that rely on one channel and type of content. Audiences will have access to a wide variety of options, content and companies all vying for their attention. Only the most relevant and interesting content will earn their attention.

This means that marketers will have to engage their leads with consistent messages that offer relevant information across various channels. They will have to do the leg-work and go to where their customers go to get their attention. Whether it be social media, the websites they frequent or their email addresses, marketers will have to carefully select the channels their customers use and utilise them effectively moving forward.

Use this as guidance

Marketing is ever-evolving, and to keep up and stay ahead it’s essential to educate yourself on how that might be possible. 2020 might have been a tough year to plan for the future, but with some fine-tuning, you can now move into 2021 with more confidence in how to engage your customers - no matter the circumstances that present themselves in the future.

If you are looking for a new way to engage with and appeal to your audience, consider Demodia. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses just like yours to boost their marketing, generate more revenue and reinvigorate their brands. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From all of us here at Demodia, we would like to wish you success for 2021 and a happy, prosperous new year.