Dec 11, 2020
This year – 2020 – was a year we will never forget, with COVID-19 throwing a gigantic monkey wrench into our personal and professional lives. Whether we are on the business owners or marketers, there are some critical things we need to know as we head into 2021 to make sure we remain profitable. If you are not asking yourself this question you are overlooking a critical game
Which changes in consumer behaviors and associated marketing strategies will have a lasting impact?
The good news is this – There is reason to be optimistic about digital advertising future. While ad spend decreased overall in 2020 due to economic challenges, some ad channels (like podcasting) have already rebounded, while popular channels (like search) are actually estimated by eMarketer to benefit in the long-term from the pandemic. Other digital channels also have benefitted from coronavirus (see Zoom’s stock price as a reference point). It is estimated that in 2021 more than 2.1 billion shoppers are expected to purchase goods and service online by 2022 and that number will only increase over time.
So you may be asking yourself – what can I do to keep my business not just afloat, but take advantage of new opportunities in the digital space to gain competitive advantage and turn that into something we all love; the green stuff!
Here are some key take-aways we know will help you whether you are a small business or a well-established brand finding your old methodology no longer working it’s magic.
Consumer behavior will change permanently post-pandemic
COVID-19’s effect has been significant and, likely, enduring. Consumer behavior has changed and reset, at least to a degree. We predict smart marketers will make short- and long-term changes to messaging as well as products and services.
Specifically, successful brands will focus on value-based pricing and messaging. More and more brands will be conducting extensive research to better understand how the pandemic has specifically impacted its employees, customers and industry. Smart marketers and brands will utilize those insights to inform both 2021 marketing strategies as well as long-term shifts in media and messaging. For example, virtual events have seen explosive growth and are likely to become a mainstay of marketing’s “new normal” as traditional trade shows and conferences struggle and adapt.
Businesses will be forced to embrace the digital transformation
Coronavirus has forced brands to adopt digital channels for product and service delivery as well as marketing. “Digital transformation” has become a popular buzzword since March 2020, and companies of all sizes are investing significant dollars in the migration to digital platforms, including e-commerce, chatbots, email, apps, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, omnichannel marketing and augmented and virtual reality. Brands that embrace evolving technologies to create a more seamless customer experience will be in a leadership position post-pandemic.
One key element in a successful digital transformation is developing funnels through omnichannel marketing such as IG/FB, Google, TikTok to diversify as opposed to sticking with familiar platforms. Remember, more and more people are shopping online, diversification allows brands to reach new customers and demographics.
Brands focusing on social, environmental and ethically responsibility will flourish
This year with all of its challenges, resulted in not only people taking a deeper look “within”, but also companies to do the same. We predict brands will make significant efforts to clean up business practices and adjust messaging to appeal to enlightened consumers who care deeply about a company’s purpose and commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
Research has shown that ethical businesses will be more successful in the long term, so we expect to see many businesses to join in the movement in 2021. Most recently, more brands have taken an anti-consumerism approach to holiday marketing. Look for more planning around these positions in 2021.
Affiliate marketing will solidify its position as a key channel for consumer brands
Consumer brands have historically used social media influencers to present authentic unbiased advertising to appeal to prospects and customers. The pandemic amplified the impact influencers have on the purchase of products, due to a limited ability to shop at stores. Due to this, we have seen an emerging group of micro-influencers, often referred to as “affiliates” who
have partnered with brands in an authentic way to promote because they truly love the brand/product as oppose to promoting for a fee.
This change has made it easier for ever to brands to find true ambassadors with zero cost to engage with them and drive website traffic, both of which
provide a rich foundation for digital ads. Social media use dramatically increased during the pandemic and research firms believe this trend will belasting. A recent study found that 40% of people reported that they purchased a product online after seeing it used by a brand ambassador on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter. As a result, there is an opportunity for brands to utilize social media affiliates more now than ever. TikTok experienced explosive growth, surpassing Snapchat in usage with Generation Z, and brands have taken notice. Affiliates can speak on a more personal level and give their honest opinion that resonates more with their followers compared to normal brand advertising.
In sum 2021 is looking up for companies who understand and use these trends to drive revenue.
We feel optimistic that with a focus on performance across channels, empowered by improved tracking digital marketing will continue to drive revenue. The question remains which companies will remain agile, adopting best practices quickly and which companies will fail to understand the importance of cohesion across platforms and strategies and fall behind. How are you adapting your digital marketing to changing behaviors in 2021?