150+ Marketers Share Their Marketing Predictions for 2021- Part 11
2020 was a tough year, we all hope that 2021 will be better.
As 2021 begins this is a good time to reflect on what we learned so far and how the future might look like.
In this comprehensive roundup from 162 marketers you’ll find diverse perspectives from a wide range of marketing professionals, founders, and CMOs. The predictions are sorted by categories to make them easier to browse.
You’ll notice that a few clear patterns emerge across categories, a number of themes repeat like video marketing, Clubhouse, community, regulation, customer experience, data, and work-from-home.
Happy learning from the collective wisdom.
Brand Marketing and Social Media
Lori is Founder at Brand + Design + Create, she’s a brand strategist, designer, and content marketer that provides creative marketing solutions for small business owners.
Lori’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“2020 gave digital marketing the opportunity to shine and now that so many people have seen how effective it can be we can only expect the focus on digital marketing to increase. With a more competitive digital landscape, finding innovative solutions to cut through the clutter will be increasingly important.
Many businesses also learned the importance of having a powerful online presence driven by a cohesive and attractive brand identity. With more people encountering brands for the first time digitally, it’s become necessary to have a website, social media, and digital advertising that tell a cohesive story with a visually appealing aesthetic that creates the same ambiance as an in-person experience.”
Follow Lori on Linkedin Lori Kendall
Laura is Content Creator and Strategist at Four Course Media, they do photography and strategy for CPG brands in the food & beverage industry.
Laura’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“In 2020, life really shifted online. We saw a frantic rush to update company websites, get online POS systems up and running, and upgrade shipping capabilities. And it’s a good thing that rush happened, a year later, we’re still living life from inside our homes.
Instead of idly reading the paper menu of your favorite restaurant while enjoying a cocktail from the bar, you’re scrolling through an Instagram post to see what the restaurant is offering for delivery that week. Instead of browsing through the supermarket aisles, you’re browsing an online cart from your grocery delivery company. At Four Course, we were surprised when we noticed our food and beverage clients continuing to book shoots and ask for content, even as many businesses were cutting down on marketing budgets. That is, until we realized that they were just meeting a need. Even as restaurants sat empty and supermarkets were functioning with reduced capacity, buyers turned to social media, spending time and money shopping online. Companies needed (and still need) content for social media to keep loyal customers and engage with new ones — all through their phones.
In 2021, we’re predicting a renewed focus on social-first branding. We’ll see companies that have a smart, fresh social presence take the spotlight away from brands still doing things the old-fashioned way. Companies that are able to balance in-store and online marketing will dominate the market, so watch for young brands to get creative as they tackle the challenge of marketing to a world that’s changing (again).”
Christopher is Founder and CEO at Woorise, they help small businesses to connect with an audience, collect leads and grow online without technical skills or a big budget.
Christopher‘s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“Marketing trends are always changing but one thing is constant: Social Media is always focusing on building relationships with your audience. Human connections are built through interaction and personalization, just shouting your messages into the void isn’t enough to build a relationship with your audience. A big part of creating a human experience depends on building authentic connections with your customer base to increase loyalty and awareness for your brand.
In 2021, business owners and brands need to focus on being authentic, users are seeking authenticity in content and brand voice rather than polished professionally edited content. People want to know the people behind the brands they interact with. Create content that shows them what happens behind the scenes and let them get to know you and your people. In 2021, engagement and connecting with the stories that matter to your audience will be key.”
Follow Christopher on Linkedin Christopher Vasilis
Sandra is Digital Marketing Strategist and Marketing Manager at Nibble Video, a UK-based animation studio specialising in production of bespoke animated explainer videos, to complement business communications.
Sandra’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“2021 is going to be a difficult year. Many businesses will continue recovering from 2020, so the marketing game will become ever more competitive.
To stand out, brands must be more creative than ever. What was a big trend in recent years (big data and technology) will mean a little if your marketing strategy isn’t compelling enough to attract potential clients in the first place.
To gain a competitive edge and win their audience’s attention, I expect that many marketers will go back to the roots, where creativity played a huge part. Allocating marketing budgets towards original, out-of-box marketing activities such as producing a branded animation video will become more important than ever before to attract the right customers and diminish skyrocketing advertising costs (which are already higher than a couple of years ago). 2021 will be the year of fighting for customers, and only those brands that are creative enough to stand out will be in a position to win.”
Chloe is the Founder of Bovia & Co., she specializes in brand identity and digital marketing for small businesses in their early stages. She works with all kinds of small businesses, most commonly black entrepreneurs introducing new products and services.
Chloe’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“In 2021 people’s appetites for authenticity, sincerity, and human connection with brands is going to grow, especially because so many people feel restricted from human connection during this pandemic.
With smaller brands, I highly recommend leveraging that ability to build personal connections with customers, but to be aware that boundaries still exist. The relationship is still largely transactional, so you have to be wary of the line between relatable and “too familiar.”
Younger customers – I’m talking millennials and gen z, seem to really value a personable brand, but are growingly aware of a brand that’s trying too hard. For marketers, this means recognizing your own bias and limitations. What a leap, right? But in my experience, I’ve learned that marketers as a whole tend to think we can objectively target an audience. The reality is that we bring our whole worldview to the table and that’s fine. If we’re going to truly leverage authenticity in marketing, we need to first acknowledge that we bring personal bias to the table and unpack the ways this affects our interpretations of data and people.
This isn’t to suggest that being authentic means we can only market to people who look, think, or act like us, it means being self aware enough to question your assumptions about a particular target market and challenging how you arrived at your conclusion. It means diving into how that market perceives your brand and understanding the boundaries of your particular business-to-customer relationships. What I see in practice is a lot of marketers and small businesses going out there 1) hopping on any and every trend and it makes no sense for their brand and 2) trying to relate to audiences based on assumptions and they end up sounding like bots.
If businesses want to successfully center human voice and authenticity in 2021, then they’ll need to go back to the basics and define the brand more clearly AND understand the gaps that may exist between their marketing knowledge and their actual market. Without doing that, brands run the costly risk of excluding potential customers and confusing their current ones.”
Follow Instagram boviaco_marketing
Shanee is the Founder and Growth Marketing Strategist at Growth Academy, she helps successful entrepreneurs build powerful personal brands on LinkedIn to increase their impact and make a bigger difference.
Shanee’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“Live video and audio are going to reign for creating and nurturing authentic connections with your online network in 2021. Clubhouse has shown just how much people are craving real conversations. I also predict many thought leaders monetizing their followings by offering exclusive membership communities.
The successful business owners & entrepreneurs who neglected their personal brands until now have realized just how imperative having a personal brand is to their social capital – so we will see more people investing in developing their personal brands.”
Jennifer is Founder and CEO at The Freed Agency, she specializes in holistic brand social and content marketing, strategy and storytelling, helping brands gain clarity and own their overall story and purpose. She loves working with lifestyle brands and music artists.
Jennifer 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“In light of the pandemic, It gave people the opportunity to work from home, and reimagine the lives they actually want to live both professionally and personally.
Losing jobs and the commutes gave people the opportunity to work on their dreams. This included passion projects, from working on their own businesses and brands, to having the time to work on themselves, reflecting on who they want to be, and what they want out of life.
It also gave perspective on what’s really important in life – happiness, joy, connection. It became less about material things, because let’s face it those things didn’t matter as much when we were locked in our homes with nowhere to go and no one to see (except virtually of course)
Every person, business and brand has a unique story to tell, a purpose, their why, which drives them to get up every day. Every individual has something to offer, a unique perspective that they can only bring to light because it’s their perspective, seen only from their eyes.
So my prediction – with a flood of new brands, businesses and people craving more than just material things, it’s important for brands to cut through the noise and really own their story. Focus on attracting, cultivating and nurturing their ideal customers, partners and employees that further build their brand and carry out their mission. Focus on the quality because the quantity will follow. Here’s my advice on how they could do this:
- At the forefront, authentic storytelling and solidifying brand values to build genuine connections. Brands need to own their “why” and story to cultivate customers through campaigns that drive emotion, connection and further cement their authentic voice to build lasting brand loyalty.
- Brands should look at themselves holistically, ensuring employees, customers, partners and business practices align with their brand values, mission and messaging. It’s important that they are who they say they are; transparency will be key. People buy from people, and the minute people sense or see inauthenticity, they could lose their most loyal customers because they will seek out someone else.
- Who does your brand serve outside of its bottom line? Consumers are expecting more from brands today, meaning how are they improving the lives of others. Their mission, who they serve, what they stand for, will all be important aspects of how they attract and retain customers in the future.
Linda is Director of Social Marketing and Public Relations at Dr. BRANDT Skincare, they specialize in safe, clinical skincare products that mirror results of in-office treatments. As a brand, they believe in an integrative approach to skincare by fostering wellbeing and healthy aging. Their target is any person who wants to take the action of caring for their skin, body and mind!
Linda’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“2021 is going to be all about intention and transparency. Labels have become popular in the beauty industry (especially skincare) and the misinformation surrounding these self-proclaimed “labels” is forcing consumers to educate themselves more than ever before.
It’s going to be less about statements, claims or pledges a company makes and more about actions and intentions.”
Follow Linda on Linkedin Linda Popowytsch
Jessica is Digital Marketing Manager at White Label Studio, which is a boutique marketing agency that specializes in brand strategy, creative, social media, public relations, web design, and content marketing. Their expertise is in the home and flooring industry as well as a variety of companies including apparel and entertainment.
Jessica’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“Social media marketers had big shoes to fill in 2020 with the Coronavirus Pandemic and unprecedented political unrest. This time of change has put social media in the spotlight for better or worse in an ever-changing climate. I predict we will continue to see consumers favor brands who are listening and giving back to their communities during this time of uncertainty.
Relevant and realistic social content with an empathic tone will trump the perfectly curated grids we saw a few years back. Perfection is out and attainability is in! Consumers are looking to really relate with brands and influencers beyond a pretty filter. To achieve this, marketers will need to listen, adjust their content accordingly, and simplify. Less really is more right now!
Throughout the pandemic, marketers have seen a huge increase in engagement within the home and flooring industries. This trend towards home improvement and home-centered hobbies like cooking, gardening, etc. will most likely continue in 2021. I predict Pinterest and YouTube will be huge platforms for all sorts of DIY projects. I also think it’s important for marketers to include light-hearted, and even nostalgic content to bring comfort, familiarity, and laughter during these times. Yes, Instagram Reels and TikToks will continue to be popular but never underestimate the power of a basic and funny meme!”
Corinne is an Instagram Marketing Coach at Hone Your Social, she targets service-based entrepreneurs and other coaches who are looking to attract, nurture, and sell to their dream clients on the ‘gram.
Corinne’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“While we’ve seen the rise of storytelling on social media in recent years, I feel like it will really take off in 2021. Whether it’s through video content (e.g. TikTok, Instagram Stories, or IGTV) or long-form copy (e.g. Instagram Posts/ Guides), storytelling is a fantastic tool to use if you want to sell your products/ services in an authentic and engaging way.
Using storytelling in your marketing allows you to engage with your audience and immerse them in your brand. If you want to build your relationship and connection with your Dream Client while boosting sales, consider including the story of your brand in all your marketing efforts this year.”
Jessy is Founder and President at Women In Influencer Marketing, which is a networking organization for women on the industry side of influencer marketing. They have a membership collective that shares castings, job listings, hosts virtual events and cultivates an online community of supportive female practitioners.
Jessy’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“Clubhouse is an interesting platform but will not be a place for brands. Instead, it’s a great place for networking and education.
TikTok and Instagram are still the place to be for brand partnerships. I also predict that brands will explore partnerships that are about hard hitting topics.”
Tina is Co-founder and CEO at SocialWebSuite, which is a social media tool deeply integrated with WordPress and recommended by the biggest hosting companies. They are helping small businesses as well as large corporations with their social media marketing.
Tina’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“I believe that LinkedIn marketing will be on the rise in 2021. They made a lot of nice features in 2020 that will help small businesses better market to their customers.
However, Facebook will probably still be the #1 platform for marketers, but it will be interesting to see what will happen in 2022.
The one thing that I would like to suggest to all brands is to make interactions with their customers more humane. Be empathetic, transparent, and even vulnerable. Due to everything that happened to us, now is more than ever, important to show you care. In simple terms – be yourself when posting to social networks. You can use Social Web Suite for posting, of course :-).”
Follow Tina on Linkedin Tina Todorovic
Carmen is Digital Marketing Strategist at SmartBill. SmartBill is a FinTech company from Romania, providing SaaS-based services to small and medium-sized businesses for invoicing, inventory management and accounting. The cloud-based platform is used by more than 50, 000 companies, which establishes it as the market leader in its home country.
Carmen’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“As cliché as this may sound, I think that in 2021, perhaps more than ever, marketing is going to revolve around empathy. Most of what we have learned throughout 2020 will still be applicable: community involvement, building trust, user generated content, brands that come across as understanding better realities that their customers are facing and even show a bit of vulnerability. Furthermore, brand activism is going to be a hot topic in a polarized society.
Since the beginning, SmartBill has aimed to be the Romanian entrepreneur’s best friend and as we all know it, a friend in need is a friend indeed. With the current situation, some of our SMBs friends could use a bit of support, so we tried to provide that by both developing specific product features to assist them in navigating uncertainty and by offering users a series of #crisisresources, such as educational videos (webinars and conferences for the entrepreneurs) and business tools like the SMEs Barometer. We also adjusted our tone of voice and we adapted the messages across all channels. For example words like ‘whenever’ ‘from wherever” became ‘from home’, ‘safely’ during the lockdown.
Cookie-less marketing – Facebook’s limit for the number of ads a page can run and Apple’s iOS 14 update are some of the challenges that us marketers are going to face in 2021. As a result, we will most likely have to get more accurate tracking and better content.”
Follow Carmen on Linkedin Carmen Meculescu
Alicia is a Chief Creative Officer and Marketer at Bran Marketing, they specialize in the flow control industry and work with a variety of clients.
Alicia’s 2021 marketing predictions & trends:
“2020 was a great year for Bran and it wasn’t because of COVID. Strategic planning on targeted clients paid off for us.
The commercial valve market is holding strong through 2020, and 2021 does not show any signs of slowing down.
The industrial side of our industry, the oil field side did take a huge hit in 2020 and is barely getting a pulse back in 2021. That industry still has many challenges and is unpredictable at the moment.
I think overall we will see more companies realizing that they can no longer put off spending money on their brand and online presence if they want to compete in today’s new marketplace.”
**continue reading: General Marketing
Originally published at AllFactors.com on January 28, 2021.