We have never experienced such a huge scope of changes happening simultaneously in our lives as during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has forced us to re-examine strategies for our personal lives and for our businesses. One of these major changes has been how we have come to build relationships virtually, in times of social isolation. For many, home office has become essential and no longer a corporate perk. Video conferencing has come to mean human connection. We have reached a “new normal” and gradually found answers to the current crisis.
It was in this context that Deloitte, a company renowned for supporting CMOs and anticipating market trends, launched the report 2021 Global Marketing Trends: Find your focus, which includes seven marketing trends that can help drive brand growth in 2021. Deloitte believes that at this time, when there is a widespread need for human connection, it was possible to understand how brands and people dealt with the period of uncertainty and how human-focused solutions need to compose any marketing strategies for the coming year.
Check out the 7 marketing trends for 2021:
Deloitte’s research revealed that consumers are increasingly paying attention to the purpose of brands as a guide to their buying preferences. To maintain public trust, companies can’t simply pick and choose when to lean into a purpose, especially during the current crisis. Brands that know why they exist and for whom they were created come out ahead.
This becomes even more important if your company is in an industry that meets any of the essential needs that have gained importance in the pandemic. It is also important to sediment the purposes of the brand and the company internally, through internal marketing actions. Demonstrate the value of the company’s purpose to all stakeholders. Also analyze if there are opportunities to align your purpose with social responsibility.
Then marketers will be able to work clearly on how to communicate your purpose.
In the face of this new digital reality, with people spending much more time online, creating an agile marketing strategy is a must. Deloitte’s survey of over 2,400 global consumers also revealed that 58% of respondents could name a brand that was able to change nimbly in reaction to the “new normal” and two-thirds of consumers surveyed said that the pandemic also increased their appreciation for well-designed technologies.
It has never been more important for brands to respond quickly to customers’ digital needs, with presence and quality. Rapid prototyping, sensing technologies, and social CRM to bring new products and services to market are good options to meet this digital marketing trend.
In a previous Deloitte survey of 16,000 people, more than half of the respondents wanted a more “human” experience in their virtual environments. This is a time for companies to rethink their values, operations, and infrastructure to respond to human needs, while developing ways to improve the connection between employees and customers.
It is also a good time to identify whether your company has any issues to be addressed, either internally or externally, and how it will communicate these to the public. How does your company relate to the issues inherent in the ongoing pandemic or the most important social topics of the moment, such as the protests for racial equality?
From the consumer’s point of view, trust means how well brands keep their promises. It is important that the company’s branding, which has been built up hard and which its customers value, is consistent with its actions in this period of crisis.
In Deloitte’s survey of 2,447 people in eight countries, 66% of respondents could remember when brands acted out of self-interest, such as by raising the prices of essential items. This kind of action drives consumers away from the brand and ultimately doesn’t work for the bottom line either.
Find out what is important to your consumers in the context of COVID-19 and communicate with their values. For example, successful brands have given consumers more control over how they can use a product or service.
One of the most important marketing trends for the coming year will be to craft marketing strategies that are based on customer participation and engagement. And that participation is a step beyond writing an online product review or posting about a brand on social media. The new level of engagement to be achieved is one in which consumers can also participate as brand ambassadors, influencers, collaborators, and innovators.
People’s greatest motivation to engage with brands is to help others. Keep an eye on your digital branding and notice where your brand is embedded. It may be in forums and communities, on market blogs, or even customers may already be doing video tutorials about your products. These are all ways to stimulate the participation of your customers.
During the current pandemic some companies are already planning their investments for the future. But, unfortunately, some others are just reacting to the current scenario, with an absence of innovation projects. Among those seeking leadership in their markets, a key word has been “partnerships” (or mergers) in order to meet customer needs.
Many companies have not only accelerated their digital transformation, but have also established new partnerships to meet customer needs through digital. Another major, internal merger noted within marketing trends for 2021 is the partnership between marketing and sales teams.
In this context, one strategy that is considered smart is training marketing teams to keep up with the changes presented. Deloitte states that 77% of CMOs are preferring to automate repetitive work so that their employees can focus their productivity on strategies. Tasks such as graphic design and text production/editing can be left to outsourced services.
Some companies are also designing marketing “universities” to teach essential skills for this new moment, through workshops.
To learn more about these 7 marketing trends for 2021 access the full Deloitte report by clicking here.