Goodbye and good riddance to 2020. The global pandemic had an impact on every business. From a digital marketing standpoint, what will 2021 bring? Several digital marketing leaders shared their thoughts on coming trends.
Teddy Heidt, Founder of The Gauge Collective, offered this prediction:
Digital business pivots may become permanent.
“Virtual Events and Experiences for audiences to engage outside of your traditional sales messaging. We helped Mariano’s launch Mariano’s Meet-Ups, Virtual Events spanning Chef Demos, Mixology Classes, and Live Music, and Tricoci market Virtual Consultations for at home treatments. Diversify your social media activity to connect with more engaged users. To that point, enrich the user experience on your social profiles by leveraging shop and other features that break down barriers towards purchasing from you. We helped Tricoci launch Instagram shop to complement their new ecommerce program.”
Social media will become a top channel for purchase, instead of just discovery.
“Social media platforms like Facebook are making it easier for consumers to go from discovery to purchase without ever having to leave the platform, creating a simple and seamless path to purchase. With social commerce continuing to grow into 2021, retail brands will have to adapt to these platforms with new rules, similar to what many did with Amazon.”
Sherene Hilal, SVP, product marketing and business operations, Bluecore, predicts:
Informed buyers want to buy from informed brands.
“This means evolving even beyond the age of personalization and entering an age of personal commerce, where consumers co-curate their experiences with brands to reflect their preferences at any given moment. They expect for brands to understand what they’ve bought in the past and help them to determine what they should buy next, based on all the data that they’ve consciously shared with them by engaging with their sites and channels. This is not just a matter of brands meeting consumers where they are; it’s about brands telling them what they want, when they want it. If brands and retailers are going to continue collecting first-party shopper data, they will need to begin actioning it in meaningful ways, predicting what their shoppers want to see next, and understanding where shoppers are in their buying cycles to predict when they’ll want to buy.”
Jim Kruger, Chief Marketing Officer, Veeam, offers the following:
Virtual events started out of necessity, but are here to stay because of ROI and accessibility.
“In the face of the COVID pandemic, events became virtual out of necessity. As we move into 2021 and beyond, many events will stay virtual not only because of continued safety concerns, but also as a result of lessons learned in 2020. Companies found that by going virtual, they opened up their event to an entirely new audience as virtual events are more accessible than in-person events. For virtual events, visa issues, travel restrictions and costs aren’t as much of a concern as with in-person events, and many companies have found that this allows for higher attendance and more participation. That means lower cost for more people and a higher ROI. The key is to get creative and drive engagement through great speakers, rich content and some fun of course. In 2021 and beyond, virtual events will continue to be a popular route to engage with a broad set of customers as companies see the many benefits of online events.”
Lisa Apolinski, president of 3 Dog Write Inc, who I met when I helped her edit a book, offers these insights:
Culling social media channels.
“Many companies are starting to reduce the number of social media channels they are using to share and influence, and rightly so. With so many channels available, and many companies having tried to stay relevant on all of them, the need to declutter is almost pervasive. Reducing social media channels to only the most relevant will be not only popular but necessary.”
Live interactions with virtual events.
“Virtual events have great power but not if there is only one-way communication. There is a mistake among many associations and companies that virtual events should be broadcast versus being live. Yes, there are complications that can happen with live events, but the reward is so much greater than the risk. This is what attendees are looking for, something that can substitute, even in part, for a live event.”
Using AR in digital engagement.
“With Facebook owning Oculus and dozens of augmented reality patents, it is only a matter of time before digital growth experts have to learn and incorporate AR into digital engagement. This is still on the periphery but now is the time to research, learn and consider how AR could be used in current digital assets.”