February 17, 2021
As we move toward recovering from the pandemic, we’re seeing businesses opening again, business hiring again and marketing teams pivoting to adapt to the ever-changing needs of their customers. With a fresh mindset carrying us through the first fifty days of the 2021, let’s dive into some trends to keep an eye out for—and consider hopping on—this year.
Increasing marketing spend
Recent CMO Council research indicated that two-thirds of marketers are planning to increase their marketing spend this year. The only caveat is that they need to prioritize cross-functional alignment to really make these changes work. Agility is crucial right now, but make sure your teams are moving in sync. Regardless, upping investment into your marketing team isn’t a bad idea right now.
2020 was a landmark year for the public holding brands accountable for their actions, marketing and political leanings. We discussed this a few months back, but it’s worth bringing up again: what you say and what you do need to align in 2021. Uniformity with brand messaging is imperative, now more than ever. Pay attention to what your audience is talking about. How do they feel about what’s going on in the world? Come from a place of empathy and, most importantly: be genuine.
Redefining the influencer
Over the last year, TikTok has become an extremely powerful cross-generational marketing tool. With 69% of its 1 billion users representing the 13-24-year-old segment, there is insane potential with the app. There are rumors from some social media experts on the platform speculating Instagram will relinquish rule of the “Influencer Kingdom” to TikTok in coming years. Who’s to say? It’s highly unlikely that Instagram will go away, but the way influencers present themselves on the two platforms are vastly different. See what fits your brand best, but remember, due to the nature of the TikTok algorithm, anyone (or any brand) can go viral at any time…and that’s its power. Long story short: don’t miss the TikTok train.
In our report, How COVID is Changing the Channels of Engagement, we touched on the rise of chat boxes. With exponential growth over the last five years, it doesn’t look like this trend is slowing down. Due to the spike in popularity, emphasis on developing the conversational capabilities of these AI assistants has spiked as well. If you’ve been teetering on whether or not you should implement them, rest assured they’re becoming more and more accepted by customers and now is the time lay the groundwork for them. Make friends with AI and you will have a mutually beneficial relationship.
It goes without saying that the idea of large conferences right now sounds outlandish to folks in most parts of the world. But that doesn’t mean you need to put a halt to events altogether. Webinars have always been relevant, but brands like Workcast saw an 87% increase in webinar attendance last year. This trend is anticipated to carry over into this year and rightfully so: not only are virtual events pandemic-friendly, but digital, discounted (or free) events also make information more accessible regardless of geographic or socioeconomic factors, allowing brands to reach larger audiences at a much lower cost. Pandemic aside, digital events are likely here to stay.
The road to recovery is long, but things are looking up for marketers in 2021. With a new approach, fresh perspectives and the space to be creative with content, we have much to look forward to as the year goes on.
Kate serves as Senior Marketing Coordinator at the CMO Council where she drives the social media engagement strategy and content and creative development for the CMO Council’s biweekly newsletter, Required Reading and monthly e-journal, Marketing Magnified. She is a first point of contact for interviews featured in CMO Council reports as well. Kate holds a bachelors degree in Communication Studies and Foreign Affairs from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and currently resides in the Bay Area with her rescue dog, Archie. When she’s not writing for CMO Council, you can find her chipping away at her endless stack of novels on her bookshelf or writing her own.
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