As we have now entered the new year, we are reflecting on one of the most unpredictable years in history. From a changing economy, to products and services moving online at a rapid speed, and forcing masses of employees to work remotely, this year can undoubtedly be labelled as unprecedented.
Whilst the future as we know it seems unsettled, it’s not all bad news, and whilst a complete recovery might take some time, it is still important for brands to equip themselves with a robust marketing strategy for 2021, based on data-driven insights and consumer trends.
With our crystal ball at the ready, these are our top marketing predictions for 2021 and beyond.
As the name suggests, User-Generated Content (UGC) is any content created by customers or users, rather than by the brands themselves.
This isn’t exactly a new trend, but since the rise of influencer marketing back in 2016, UGC has become the cornerstone of many brands’ marketing strategies. And as we move into a digital-first world it is one of the most authentic forms of word-of-mouth marketing, and a great way for brands to make themselves more accessible and relatable to their audience. In fact, according to Tint by Filestack, more than 86 per cent of companies employ user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy, and ads that use UGC receive four times higher click-through rate.
(Don’t forget to download your ‘Marketing Strategy’ template in Accelerate to add in your targets and budget for the year).
Brand marketing is a long game. It works best when your goal is to create repeat buyers connect with buyers making long-term, expensive purchases. This is because a clear brand creates recognition and incites a distinct feeling that will stay with your audience forever.
In July this year, Apple released a video called ‘The whole working-from-home thing’ to promote how their products could be used to ease the stress of working from home throughout the pandemic. It’s actually a sequel to the company’s “Underdogs” spot from last year, which was widely hailed as one of the best ads of 2019.
Why did it work?
It was relatable, funny, and captured the general feeling of everyone across the globe. Adding this type of branded content instantly helps you connect with your audience making your brand stand out.
Brand activism is when a brand takes a stand to help drive change towards the most urgent problems facing society, based on its own beliefs. With the social and political climate of 2020, many brands and businesses have begun to express their core values and beliefs openly, as opposed to remaining tight-lipped over the injustices they see.
Brand activism is not about what you say, but what you do. It’s very easy to point out brands that are just being opportunistic and following certain trends. If you are going to incorporate new social or environmentally focused practices to your brand, they need to be measurable. To do this, you must give time, thought, and resources to develop impactful initiatives.
Aligning marketing strategies with emotion has already proven to be successful but tapping into fond memories can be an invaluable tactic, especially if you consider we live in an age of impersonal digital media.
Building connectedness through nostalgia is an easy way to leverage optimistic feelings that humanise brands, forging meaningful connections between the past, present, and future.
In order to succeed, nostalgia marketing has to come across as authentic and align with the brand’s identity and values. Failing to do so can do more harm than good and cause the brand to be seen as irrelevant and out of touch.
It’s reported by 2021, more than 50 per cent of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development. (Source: Gartner)
With the growth of e-commerce and online transactions, chatbots are fast becoming a must-have for businesses. Chatbots provide instant gratification, instead of making a phone call or writing an email, people now have a quicker way of getting their issues resolved through prompt responses from chatbots.
Did you know 64 per cent of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video during the pandemic, according to a newly released report from Google, and a staggering 88 per cent increase in the usage of digital marketing overall.
Now, video marketing is practically a standard across the field of digital marketing strategies, with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
HubSpot says that incorporating a video into an email boosts the click-through rate by 300 per cent and having it on a landing page increases conversion rate by 80 per cent. In times when the average attention span of viewers is getting shorter, video marketing has become the most anticipated forms of digital marketing.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It’s no longer an option to not have a voice content strategy in place, as such content opens a whole new channel for more engagement with consumers. Voice search is currently not part of Google’s algorithm; however, it is still dictating current search results. Voice search queries often yield different results than if the user had typed in a text-based search.
According to experts in voice search, content must be specifically optimised for voice. It needs to be more direct and conversational so that it will accurately sync with search queries. This will help boost traffic by staying relevant and more visible to consumers.
Nobody can predict the future, not even with our crystal ball. To make a solid plan for the short term, it’s important to keep an eye on where you’re heading in the long term.
Nobody can say with 100 per cent certainty what the future of marketing will look like. Whilst marketing trends come and go, the basics of success remain the same: understand the needs of your audience and communicate with them clearly and consistently. But make sure there is plenty of room to adapt and change in your marketing strategy for the bumps in the road ahead.
Don’t forget to make use of the resources available to you
To help get you started with your own 2021 marketing strategy, we have created a guide on the 2021 trends that can be accessed via the Gamma Portal. Simply go to >> Help & Support >> Gamma Accelerate >> Collateral and search ‘Marketing Trends 2021.’
Every Gamma Channel Partner has free access to Accelerate, our online partner marketing portal; a simple and secure platform that’s designed to make it easy for you to customise white-label marketing material, generate new leads and engage with prospects and customers.
To access Accelerate go to the Gamma Portal >> Help and Support >> Gamma Accelerate