New year, who dis?
Ringing in the new year means a whole new set of 365 days to be filled with marketing campaigns, customer outreach, and brand development, and of course, new digital marketing trends. Last year was a year that demanded a pivot of not just marketing but life in general. Metrics that were cornerstone markers of success were suddenly not applicable anymore. Customer habits that have long been studied and monetized shifted overnight and continue to shift even still. It stands to reason that 2021 will be about embracing the pivot. Digital Marketing Trends in 2021 will focus on welcoming new, out of the box ideas and the experiences that come with them while circumventing the obstacles that will inevitably come from the ever-changing world we live in. From segmentation to shoppable posts, we’ve compiled five top digital marketing trends to watch for in 2021 below—how does your marketing plan match up!?
Digital Marketing Trends in 2021
Saying social media has become a major part of our society was an understatement pre-COVID. Of course, since, it’s become the way we stay connected to friends, family and a major way that we stay connected to brands and shop. Marketing Charts reports that “social media spending grew from 13.3% of marketing budgets in February to almost one-quarter (23.2%) of total marketing budgets in June.” That’s a massive increase in not a massive amount of time. Ensuring your brand is showing up to meet your audience is even more imperative as audiences are spending more time in a lot of the same places. With an increased spend on social media, your brand can be poised to reach new audiences and rekindle flames with current or previous customers. With customers looking for new brands and favouring local ones, it’s more imperative than ever to be showing up for current and potential clients where their attention is and where they’re engaging with brands.
Whether it’s through shoppable posts, chatbots on your website, quizzes, videos, or giveaways—interactive content will be key for most brands going into 2021. L’Oreal Paris has taken interactive content a step further with the first digital make-up line. Using AR tech, their digital make-up tool enables users to try out new products and post their looks to Snapchat and Instagram. Offering clients a way to interact with your brand online, of their own volition, and away from the public not only places you on the forefront of available technology, but it also positions your brand as in-the-know and one that cares about its customers. These interactions not only offer value to your customers, but your brand also gets valuable information that it can use to refine future promotions and concrete interests that can be used in subsequent consumer interactions.
2021 is going to usher in the age of the phygital. What is that? Well, it’s the best of e-commerce or online experiences and physical stores and experiences encompassed in one (slightly uncomfortable) word, phygital. In all seriousness, being able to give your customers a valuable phygital experience can go farther than you think. Take it from Secret Cinema and Häagen-Dazs. They’ve created a Christmas “Secret Sofa” event where viewers will receive a Häagen-Dazs discount code for a tub of ice cream to accompany the screening of Elf—right from the comfort of their own living rooms. Phygital experiences are unique in that they usually encompass multi-channel touchpoints giving customers a fluid and familiar experience but set in a different environment. While there may still be limitations on physical entertainment in the coming year(s), preparing for it with phygital events and experiences an opportunity for your brand to create an experience where customers can fully connect in a safe, positive way.
We all know that personalized ads work. But are they working so well that they’re starting to not work at all? With the changes in tracking that have taken place and the research on emotions surrounding excessive retargeting ads, it’s looking more and more like advertising is coming close to a full circle in that non-personalized ads are bringing more income and positive results. Depersonalized ads have the potential to expose current customers and prospective customers to stuff they may not have known existed but are still interested in.
Retention and Segmentation
It’s a balancing act of marketers: speaking to audience groups of potential clients while supporting later stages of their current customer’s journeys. Now more than ever, the customer purchase cycle has become a complex journey that is in no way linear. Customers are finding their way to new brands through various channels and products. It’s becoming more and more of a tall order to keep in contact with all clients or audience groups at various stages of their purchasing journey. The key for marketers going into 2021 will be to strike a balance between speaking to different customer segments based on consumer habits, traits, or behaviours, while still engaging their retained clients with applicable messaging and support.
It’s a strange time to be a marketer and pivoting in a constantly changing world that no one has any guidelines for. But in the midst of the chaos, it’s important to remember that no matter the Digital Marketing Trends in 2021, brands live because customers want them to. Consumers are getting savvier, choosing to support brands that align with their personal standards and offer value with their products. Regardless of the specific marketing tactics you employ, your brand’s relationship with its customer base should be at the front of your mind going into the new year.