The influence of marketing is involved in every purchasing decision, and the landscape of marketing is constantly changing. 2021 will inevitably see brand new marketing tactics, evolutions of existing ones, and a lot of creative ideas to make the most of the changes 2020 has put on the world. In this blog, we’re covering the biggest marketing trends you can expect to see next year.
What is the biggest marketing trend you expect to see in 2021? Cover photo by: Lilly Rum
1. Non-Linear Customer Journeys
As the years go by, it becomes harder and harder to map out the journey that a customer takes. Sure, marketers have an idea of a few common paths that customers may take. But those hardly encompass every possible way a customer can interact with a brand. The ways someone can learn about a brand are more numerous than ever. It’s difficult to map out every possible way that someone might go from being ignorant about the brand to finally making a purchase. Marketers need to get used to not knowing every possible customer journey and be more open than ever to a customer journey they didn’t even consider. This also means that marketers in 2021 will need to focus on making all stages of the customer journey accessible and less rigid.
2. Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager lets users share data from their site with Google Analytics and third-party ad paltforms. It allows you to update code across your website, known as tags, and Tag Manager lets you manage the manually-coded tags on your site. This free tool will come in handy so that technical marketers won’t have to work with their web developers in order to add a simple necessary code snippet to their website. Google Tag Manager is still fairly new. But many companies are picking up on it in order to streamline their data collection. Of all the marketing trends of 2021, this one may be the most impactful, yet the most invisible.
3. Voice Search
Photo: Chase Chappell
Voice search seemed almost like a novelty when it first launched. People would try to trick Siri and Alexa when the systems weren’t very advanced, and would fawn over the basic features. But now that nearly a decade has passed since Apple added Siri to iOS, it’s clear that voice search is here to stay. Smart devices with voice activation permeate many homes now, in the form of televisions, thermostats, lightbulbs, and of course digital assistants.
What this has meant for marketers is that they must adapt to Google’s changes in the search algorithm. Google searches work best now by searching in the from of a question, as you would say it out loud. So what used to be “best android camera apps” would now be “what are the best camera apps for android?“. Marketers will need to adapt to the changing landscape of how users search, and take advantage of it.
For those that don’t know, micro-influencers are just like regular social media influencers in that they can influence their audience by recommending products or services. The difference is that micro-influencers have a smaller audience, that generally has a higher percentage of dedicated and engaged fans. These influencers may be a better value for brands, as their posts can come across as more authentic. Their posts are more likely to look organic and like they belong in that influencer’s content feed. Brands have spent the last few years getting more comfortable working with influencers. But micro-influencers are still relatively unexplored territory that small and medium sized businesses can take advantage of.
5. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are search results that show up at the top of Google search results and allow searchers to get an answer to their question without actually clicking through to the website. This is bad news for the websites because they could see a drop in their traffic. But it’s also good news if they leverage it right. If you’re trying to get content to rank for featured snippets, you can make it more appealing for searchers to click on. You can make a list that is longer than what the snippet preview shows, or you can create an article that answers further questions that someone reading the snippet may want an answer to, and will click through to read.
It’s clear that Google thinks that featured snippets are working. So marketers can expect to continue trying to rank for them in 2021. If anything, trying to rank for snippets will be more valuable than ever, and is one of the most desired marketing trends.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been on the rise for several years. Marketing departments have prioritized these new tools to process through all of their data and move into new sectors. AI can increase the productivity of employees by having it handle certain tasks, while humans can focus on more creative and meaningful tasks. This includes chatbots, creating AI-generated content, qualifying sales leads, and targeting customers across platforms. AI is still in the early adoption stage, and the companies currently using it are seeing a lot of success. Personalization has been the primary theme of marketing in the last few years. And artificial intelligence can make personalization more accurate and highly automated.
Photo: Lisa Fotios
Livestreaming is only gaining more popularity, especially as Coronavirus lockdowns around the world force artists to broadcast shows online. Businesses are utilizing live events to promote their brands too. There are a number of successful examples to date including: full partnerships, sponsored streams, and featured ads or affiliate deals.
So how can your brand leverage livestreaming in 2020 and 2021?
Here are three ways any business can leverage livestreaming with their marketing efforts.
- Host fun live events on Instagram Live to share educational content, interviews, and other entertaining content for your fans. More ideas here: 10 Great Instagram Story Ideas for Marketers
- Livestream on Twitch or Youtube! This requires more effort and production work, but it can really help your brand go. You can stream a video game, sports event, just chatting for interviews/conversations, and more. You can also livestream a number of other fun concepts like cooking, music, house tours, reaction streams, and more.
- Sponsor successful streamers and influencers to reach a larger audience. Many large businesses are starting to break into this, specifically through esports sponsorships. As time progresses, more and more businesses will have the ability to sponsor streamers of various sizes.
Any brand can benefit from livestreaming! Have you tried it yet? Leave a comment below this article to share your experience using livestreaming to market your business.
8. Some Things Aren’t Going Anywhere
While many marketing trends are changing in 2021, there are plenty of aspects of marketing that are not changing significantly. Here are a few of the things that are here to stay.
- The impact of social media
- The effectiveness of video content
- Chatbots and CX focus
- Personalized email campaigns
- Mobile optimization and personalization (on the web)
- Apps for ordering online