Last year was indeed a hard hit on our expectations. All the good things that we had dreamt of turned out unexpected. But as we slipped into 2021, we started expecting things to get better.
And once again, we are under the shade of hope and positive affirmations. So taking advantage of this opportunity, I decided to invite the best marketing professionals around my network to come and share their prediction of marketing in 2021.
Dedicated to the latest trends, these professionals have shared their thoughts on what will shape the future of marketing and how these trends will influence businesses in the new year.
So without making any further ado, let’s get started on the predictions.
Jayden Szekely: Founder, Hello Simple
Hello Simple specializes in B2B Websites, Landing Pages, and SEO. We have a strong passion for Social Media.
Jayden’s Marketing Predictions:
1. Value-Based Marketing has been on the rise and I believe in 2021, we are going to see this go to a new level. With social algorithms rewarding you for using things like Carousels, Long Descriptions, Engagement etc. Value = Engagement = Winning Content.
2. Authentic Relationships with your customers have never been more important. In the .com boom, digital marketing lost its personal touch as marketers jumped on underpriced marketing methods to make a quick ROI. Unfortunately, keywords for Google Search or certain demographics with Facebook have become overpriced for many niches (especially lower profit-margin products or services). I still use these amazing platforms, they are amazing, but for some businesses’ it may not be the best solution. With the Rise of Clubhouse (which I am personally excited about), the name of the game is going to be a relationship. If you can genuinely engage your audience, give free advice on Facebook groups, DM your audience and add value, have a laugh, and build a bond, you are going to be ahead of the pack.
3. Influencers and Micro-Influencers.
I believe that influencers are the best-paid advertising out there especially for B2C. These influencers have already nailed my second prediction around Authentic Relationships, so why not piggyback off this? Sure you could target the same demographic through ads, but the person sharing adds a whole new level of trust to your product. If you saw an ad for a product and a recommendation from an influencer, who would you choose to buy from? People do business with those they Know, Like, and Trust. Influencers tick all these boxes. Micro-Influencers (under 20k followers) often are pumped to work with you, are often underpriced, and will give you a tonne of value than someone who does a tonne of brand promotions. You can get the ultimate influencer marketing toolkit here!
4. SEO & Keywords will be cool again.
Back in the day, everyone was all about SEO, but when social became a thing, people jumped ship instead of doing both. SEO is the best method of marketing HANDS DOWN. Through blog posts, landing pages, extra pages focussing on keywords, etc, you are exposing yourself to those HUNGRY TO BUY (those searching) so we are slamming our efforts into SEO This month and redoing our entire strategy. We use Google’s keyword research term to look for terms with low competition and good search volume to influence what language we are using in our copy, pages we are creating etc. SEO x Keyword Planning is a killer combo every business owner should be hopping on. These are some of the few SEO tools we recommend every agency to use and make the most out of business.
Beth Baxter: Marketer at Dux-soup.com
Dux-Soup is a LinkedIn automation tool that helps businesses scale their lead generation to accelerate growth. We have 70,000 users across the globe, a high proportion of which are sales & marketing professionals or business owners across all sectors.
Beth’s Marketing Predictions
Digital marketing will continue to be a central focus for marketers given the captive audience of home workers currently. Social platforms will play a larger element than ever in the marketer’s strategy. But with their changing algorithms resulting in less organic visibility, marketers will need to build a loyal follower base in order for their content to be seen or they will spend more on advertising to get traction on these competing platforms.
Advertising costs have been lower in the second half of 2020, but are expected to rise in 2021 as competition increases across digital platforms. Where businesses can really win is through the use of technology to automate the time-consuming processes that don’t yield high rewards. This offers the benefits of reduced cost across businesses whilst enabling them to scale faster.
Marketing automation adoption rates have been soaring and we expect them to continue to rise, however, automation needs to be used with caution and with a thought to personalisation. If too much of the marketing process is automated then we run the risk of driving people away from our social platforms. Companies that master the process of automation with the highest level of personalisation will win out as they will be the most engaging brands that can scale the fastest. We expect more technologies to evolve that help companies address personalisation and stand out from the crowd, interacting in new ways online.
Finally, we need to consider how consumers will want to access information and buy products. With smart technology developing quickly, aspects like searching and shopping via voice will affect our SEO and advertising tactics and make it easier for consumers to buy quickly and with ease. Creative and engaging content will continue to be the icing on the cake.
No doubt it will be a busy year for marketing!
Elton Kuah: Founder, Elton Kuah Consulting
My specialization is in B2B content marketing, Linkedin, and AI Marketing methodology. Our company targets SME companies who would like to have a data-driven digital marketing method to boost more profit for their business.
Better Integration Of Direct to Community (D2C) Model Business: It's the business model of finding groups of people with shared values and interests who either already love your brand or should target them with authentic tailored content.
Why is the D2C Business model will be a trend for 2021?
During the pandemic, small businesses such as retail survived the pandemic by a particular brand's loyal community trust coupled with the partnership with online influencers and like-minded brands, which contradicts a typical traditional retail business model advertising strategy. Below are two examples of D2C Business, Mejuri, and Nutty Nerds.
Example 1: A jewellery company in Mejuri, a D2C business that is in a very competitive industry. The strategy of D2C helps build its business boot-strapped during its early days and leads to raising seed funding of 28 million from an investor.
Example 2: Nerdy Nuts, a D2C peanut butter company in the year 2020 by a couple, utilizing marketing on TikTok and sales multiplied by 20x factor.
The famous D2C model can be enhanced better with integration to personalization-based social networks such as Clubhouse, created to offer a different messaging experience, more oriented towards the real conversation.
While the social network is less than a year old, it is claimed that it has 2 million users already, which potentially can be monetized if the followers have exclusivity to a particular brand/celebrity owner.
Parker Casio: Founder, DRBRAND AGENCY
Digital Marketing for B2C Company
Parker’s Marketing Predictions:
Social Media Shopping Marketplace will be huge in 2021. Instagram Shopping now open in most countries after 2 years of trial only in the US and some countries.
It will be followed by Whatsapp business shopping. I believe that other social media like Tiktok, Twitter and more such will follow this Shopping idea very soon.
Vijay Choudhary: Co-founder & CEO, IANUI
We help consumer brands to make social media influencer collaboration super easy and predictable.
Vijay’s Marketing Predictions
Today, our 8000+ creators have earned over $50,000 while working with us, and my job is to spend as much time as I can thinking about one question: What will be the future of the creator ecosystem! Here are trends which will shape marketing in this year and decade:
1. The creator economy is less than 1% of what it’ll be in my lifetime. The creator economy has grown a lot since I first joined in 2017, and after COVID-19, it’s been exploding with every passing month. In 2021, we can expect brands spending a significant pie in influencer collaborations.
2. The influencer tools are still under development. As Tiktok introduced a new wave of Indian creators, we'll see a similar trend once creator toolkits are able to make anyone a full-time creator.
3. We'll see an explosion of content houses and creator lead businesses. Influencers will grow from solopreneurs to a startup business and we'll see many creators lead businesses this year.
Christopher Vasilis: Founder & CEO, woorise
Building software that helps small businesses to grow online.
Christopher’s marketing predictions:
The accelerated growth of marketplaces has been widely reported on, and we can expect to see an even bigger expansion of marketplaces over the next years. We are likely to see a rise in the number of shoppable platforms, where users can buy direct from the search engine results or social media. Instagram’s updated layout change highlights a push towards this in-platform shopping, and we expect other platforms to follow suit.
Vaishali Badgujar: Content marketer, Time Doctor
Time tracking and employee productivity tool for remote teams and individuals.
Vaishali’s Marketing Predictions
At TimeDoctor, we believe that marketing in 2021 will be more people-focused. The marketing, sales, and support team will strive to deliver a better-integrated experience using AI and personalization. Their goal will be to help businesses find new ways to connect with customers. As a result, marketing will be more community-driven instead of event-driven.
Stuart Verschoyle: CEO, Digma
Digma's unique SAAS platform allows you to easily supercharge any video by offering engaging, relevant, and timely content via customizable interactive overlays.
We target any industry that uses video as their main web content. From drone footage to "how-to" videos.
Stuart’s Marketing Predictions
Social media will become the main gateway to purchasing products. Being able to purchase products straight from the platform without having to link to the original source. Digma is Integrating Shopify onto their interactive video platform so you can purchase products straight from the video.
The growth of the gig economy and entrepreneurs in 2021 will rise in abundance. Companies are on budgets now and there are going to be more freelancers than ever before, all working from home and at a low-cost price.
The event space will continue online due to accessibility and ROI. Digma attended Web Summit last year and got over 300 contacts in the space of 3 days. More online events will take place due to COVID-19, as it will enable people to attend the event who otherwise may have had visa, travel, or costs restrictions.
Interactive Video Resumes will become more common due to the current climate as described in my recent blog.
Brief overview of the blog -
UK unemployment is likely to reach 2.6 million in the middle of March and more people will be coming off furlough looking for work. With social distancing and uncertain lockdown dates, will Video Resumes become the norm?
As it stands, not being able to meet your employer for an interview will be normal for the next year or so. Therefore, the increase of online video interviews is inevitable.
Online interviews have lots of benefits, but the one main issue is that they are time-consuming for yourself, recruiters and employers. This brings us to Video Resumes.
Antonius Taufan: CEO, Usetada
Customer retention platform. We help brands to retain their customers better to increase their LTV. We also provide our services to digital agencies who need a white-label loyalty solution to offer their customers. Additionally, many brands use our platform to build their own social commerce to acquire new customers leveraging their existing customers.
Antonius’ Marketing Predictions:
In 2021, brands will focus on building a new distribution channel: the social commerce channel. A study by McKinsey confirms this (attached). This makes sense since current distribution channels are getting more and more expensive and brands can leverage their huge customer database to get them to sell and acquire new customers for them.
Simon Bronders: Founder, adsomojo
The best word-of-mouth marketing campaign doesn't just work for your business but spreads to others. At adsomojo, we specialize in contagious marketing campaigns that spread beyond your profit margins.
Simon’s Marketing Predictions:
In 2021, the winners in marketing will nail three things: being remarkable, leveraging word of mouth, and actively repelling customers that are not a perfect match for their company.
Marketing will be a powerful tool in the hands of those who use it for positive change. You’re not selling to people, you’re helping them.
Businesses need to tell and embody stories about the work they do in order to make a difference in people’s lives. This resonates with consumers who are tired of being sold to and want real value from brands they support.
Marketers who focus on trust and loyalty by creating authentic connections between will win. It doesn't matter if you're a small startup or large corporation, everybody in your target group is human.
One sentence to keep in mind when drawing the blueprint of your new marketing blueprint for 2021? “Artificial flowers might look pretty, but they’ll never feel or smell as good as the real ones.”
Leena Guha Roy: Marketing Manager, IOTomation
IoT enabled Building Automation Systems
Our Target Audience: Real Estate Builders, Facility Management Companies, Real Estate System Integrators
Leena’s Marketing Predictions:
Virtual event platforms: In 2020, virtual events were in their infant stage. Marketers were not sure about attendees’ engagement level in any event. But the year 2021 will see an explosion of virtual events. Even after we resume in-person ones, we will still see the virtual event running 24/7. We will see many event-tech companies rise. They will bring new platforms and tools to help marketers focus on visitor traffic patterns, and engagement levels and other statistics that can easily be translated into ROI. With that data, they can make personalized follow-up strategy to furnish high-value call-to-action. Marketers will plan for multi-session, multi-lingual, multi-locational events. This will surely lead to continued rise of on-demand content.
Brand tribalism: It is no more a hippy-dippy term. It will outdate social media very soon. Serious brands will create their own tribes. We will see many of them creating a culture in an effective way of earning authenticity, credibility, and meaningful differentiation, and not just advertising only. They will stop acting like a company and start behaving like a movement, where consumers will remain at the focal point; so that they can experience a sense of community in a fulfilling and value-adding way. Nay-sayers may call it “group narcissism”, but intelligent marketers will make it doomed to be exhibitionistic and self-indulgent.
Nostalgia marketing: Using nostalgic content and keywords in social media post has become of the popular social media trends since the pandemic lockdown. Report says mention of nostalgic keywords in the brand communication has increased by 88% in comparison to previous years. Brands are using optimistic emotions of the good old days to enhance current emotions. Netflix’s “Stranger Things”, Dorito’s “The Backstreet Boys”, KIA’s “Dream On” video with Steven Tyler – these are the proof that nostalgia marketing works incredibly well to create cross-generational appeal.
Audio blogging: It is time for audio chat-based social networking and podcasting. Clubhouse is already causing a stir. It will help marketers reach their customers and audience at greater scale than ever before. By the end of the year, we will see at least a few tech companies coming up with podcast adjacent tools to give marketers tracking analytics and performance metrics.
Personalization with conditional content: By 2025, customers will handle 85% of their interactions with brands without communicating with actual humans (MCKinsey). That is the power of personalization. In 2021 and beyond, we will see more brands to leverage powerful platforms to fuel personalization with context-sensitive widgets. Marketers will not hesitate to use this trick even in the regular and bulk campaigns.
Tanmay Guha Roy: Manager, Abt Associates India
I specialize in consumer behaviour change marketing.
Tanmay’s Marketing Trends:
The year will open up new opportunities and challenges. In the content space, the video will reign supreme, especially live streaming and short format. However, it will demand a significant amount of creativity to be able to cut through the clutter to grab customers’ eyeballs.
Marketers will need to tell hyper-personalized stories to their consumers across the decision journey to stay relevant and bypass ad blockers. However, with the death of third-party cookies on Chrome browser being on the cards (by 2022), a serious marketer will need to start working to implement alternative solutions for customer profiling.
With a strained economic outlook staring at us, Marketers will be under pressure to lower the cost of customer acquisition. Awareness building will be passe’. The focus will shift to conversion and retention more than ever before.
Given the fact that younger consumers turning away from older social platforms towards newer ones, consumer micro-moments will be further dispersed. While increased use of artificial intelligence will help a marketer preempt the conversion probabilities and optimize allocation, on the contrary, marketing spends distributed across platforms that don’t talk to each other will throw challenges in attribution and ROAS calculation.
Trained digital marketers with credible track records will see the highest demand. For many traditional marketers, COVID-19 has been a rude shock forcing them to adopt digital for customer outreach. With varying degrees of digital maturity, many traditional businesses continued to struggle for the past financial year. They will be keen to set their house in order in 2021 and face the future better prepared.
Abhik Shome: Founder, The Starting Idea
B2B SaaS Content Marketing, targeting B2B SaaS CMOs.
Abhik’s Marketing Predictions:
Blogs that focus on user experience will emerge as clear winners. So move away from broken links, unclear CTAs, and slow-loading websites. Instead, focus on delivering transformative experiences via your content. Focus on taking your prospect from point A of pain to point B of a solution via step-by-step strategies laid out in a streamlined manner.
What's the best way to deliver these transformative experiences? Being in the industry for 6+ years and working in some of the most competitive niches, I have found that creating 5000+ word articles using the Skyscraper strategy works every single time. The idea behind this is to craft the most comprehensive information pieces in your niche that covers every aspect of a given topic. Couple this up with unique data, angles, and examples. This content production strategy is the fastest way to start ranking on top of SERPs and get high-quality leads for your business.
Couple it up with tools like TextMetrics, ClearScope, Ahrefs, and MarketMuse, and you will start seeing some great results sooner than you know!
Gowri Krishnan: Head of Content, Eber.co
Helping businesses grow through customer engagement & customer retention
Gowri’s Marketing Predictions:
Empathy is key in delivering excellent customer experience in 2021
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another individual. If there's anything 2020 has taught us, it is that customers (and employees) respond well to empathy.
Businesses can no longer just push their products. They have to spend time understanding customers, identifying their pain points - and removing them. For example, during the pandemic, many businesses that taught they couldn't go online - did go online. Yoga teachers were doing online classes. Nail salons were delivering nail care kits to their customers. Some F&B stores started pushing "immunity boosters" instead of pushing their lunch promo. Food delivery services introduced "round-the-clock contactless delivery".
These patterns will continue well into 2021 - where business owners and marketers will have to empathize with their customers and create a seamless way for them to get the desired products and services.
Vikas Tiwari: Senior Consultant of AI Products - NDS Global
Vikas’ Marketing Predictions: Covid is here to stay, and WFH is something that's going to be our new way of life. Opportunity to bring more new customers in the funnel, most of the big brands will start investing in Conventional TV Advertising, as we saw with Cred and Lenskart
WhiteHatJr is in a lot of trouble due to various obvious reasons. A lot of Edtech will try to capitalize on this, so we can expect a lot more Children-Coding based startups with a better and transparent approach.
Content creation is one of the most empowering streams this year with a lot of people being at home. I think a lot more brands see Youtube as one of the direct Markets to channel their products through creators. It's already happening with niche brands like Mama Earth, Wow, etc., I am predicting a lot of Startups with start seeing this as a Growth aspects
Nadav Kaidar: COO, Systems of Disruption
In the last few years, we notice capital surpluses in global markets. In such a state, start-up investments have become a more acceptable and common channel of investment. Investing in disruptive companies is one of the riskiest but most profitable channels in existence yet it is complicated and chaotic.
Investors have many challenges with making effective investments in such start-ups and that is where Systems of Disruption (SYDI) comes in. At SYDI we assist and enhance investor skills on how they can minimize risk for their investments. This is done by changing mindsets and by presenting methodologies to turn investors to become more engaged with the teams and bringing their experience to support their investment portfolio.
We target angel investors, syndicates, investment funds, and tech entrepreneurs that build a new reality.
Nadav’s Marketing Predictions:
2021 is a year that will separate and elevate the brands that have invested in their audiences and have been there for them in the challenging time we are going through as a global society. 2021 is a year of authenticity, trust and transparency. Brands that will succeed in communicating and demonstrating those traits will grow exponentially. We will see brands never known before skyrocketing in demand when they succeed in these 3 pillars.
Julio Lavalle: CEO and Product Lead, MiBosillo
Consumer generated content for the late comers
As the world has leap-frogged into the digital landscape driven by the health crisis, big portions of the population, the digital excluded (47% of the population), are still skeptical to give it a try when talking about the digital offering. The not so new consumer-generated content (beyond influencers) becomes a powerful inclusiveness tool that speaks more relatedly to that woman who also has a food stall, uses cash as a means of transaction and speaks to her own pains.
As a bonus, although monthly mobile data used on average on a smartphone worldwide is at its highest 9,4GB, almost 72% of those mobile connections are still pre-paid, which means that your target user/client may run out of data when trying to download your mobile app or access your marketplace. A successful digital marketing campaign that aims to convert retail leads into clients should consider the whole user journey in this sense.
Sources: Statista, We are social, Hootsuite
Brands as platforms
A sub-product of brand activism and closely related to user-generated content is using your platform as a means to promote income-generation environments beyond communities. The growing trend to support social and environmentally purpose companies is here to stay. So, how does your brand position genuinely in that landscape?
More so in a context with increased uncertainty about financial stability (89 MN jobs were lost in 2020) and consumers are looking at side hustles to future-proof their career and their bank accounts in that matter (and the analogy for your corporate client).
How much are your clients/users saving $$$ when using your product/service over the competition against your added-value? How does your company showcase users and clients as a way to promote their own jobs. Is your offering making them better fit to make more money? Thinking about strategies that incorporate your clients financial health will definitely grow stronger in 2021.
Digital 2021: latest insights into the ‘state of digital’ - We Are Social
Simon Kemp shares the key findings from Digital 2021, our latest set of Global Digital reports.
Nandini Sharma, Assistant Marketing Manager, ProofHub
I consider myself an expert in inbound marketing, having led a number of successful digital marketing campaigns for our award-winning product, ProofHub. I am adept at planning and executing digital marketing campaigns that specifically target.
Our major target audience is businesses of all sizes since ProofHub solves the common project management and collaboration challenges for teams, and makes sure that the leaders and managers are always in ultimate control of their teams, projects and work.
Nandini’s Marketing Predictions:
2021 is going to be a lot more about user-generated content (UGC) i.e. reviews, user videos, social media mentions. As marketers, we’ve seen that this kind of content has become the new word of mouth. Since people are searching for everything online, UGC has become more important than ever. Besides, it also gives you an opportunity to motivate your buyers and thanking them by rewarding them for their efforts.
The second trend that is going to dominate in 2021 as far as marketing is concerned has to be ‘personalization of marketing efforts’. The focus of your marketing should be to build that personal connection with your customers.
I also believe that we are going to have to direct our marketing efforts a lot more towards voice search.
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