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Top 10 Marketing Trends To Watch for in 2021 | How Covid Changed Marketing

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

As I began researching for this article, I never thought I would be writing what you're about to read. What is trending in marketing this year? Well, I don't need to say too much -- 2020 will remain a one-of-a-kind year... The pandemic has not spared any sector, forcing profound changes in the way we work, communicate and even consume. Covid and its consequences have significantly changed the relationship between businesses and consumers.

The latter, who had begun a change to return to more proximity, authenticity and humanization, saw their convictions become evident.

Marketing must now live with the changes induced by the pandemic. Without realizing that, pandemic or not, marketing remains a highly scalable field due to the regular emergence of new technologies and communication tools.

1. Nostalgia

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.

During the confinements, many consumers are spending time reviewing their old favorite movies and series. What for? Studies show that nostalgia provides a sense of meaning and continuity.

How does nostalgia create appeal?

It's sad to say, but people are seeking that warm, fuzzy feeling right now more than ever. The fear that another variant or pandemic can happen at any moment, is far too deep to pull away from - for now? Who knows... One thing is certain; things have changed whether we accept it or not. Adapt or die, it's what humans are good at or we would never have made it this far.

This will reinforce the impact of nostalgia marketing (also called retro marketing).

In concrete terms, instead of anticipating the next big trend, retro marketing relies on past gains and uses the familiarity of the old to sell the innovation of the new.

Is this sad? I am not sure. Various studies have shown that nostalgia makes consumers more willing to spend money on consumer goods and services.

2. A Marketing Strategy Based on Trust

How do you build trust in advertising?

The reputation of a brand is determined by the link between what is promised (messages and advertising) and what is delivered (experience). As the gap between promises made and results widens, confidence crumbles and financial results suffer.

Even in the most uncertain times, when the service delivered meets expectations, brands can build trust.

In addition, when consumers believe that a brand has the capabilities to deliver on their promises, they are 2.4 times more likely to increase purchases, according to the latest Deloitte report.

The key is to segment your customer base based on values rather than factors like demographics. Values influence feelings and, therefore, actions.

In other words, when a brand connects on a human and empathetic level, consumers are more likely to trust and believe that their needs are actually taken into account.

3. Participation Marketing

Contest organizing & user generated content

Participatory marketing was already a trend in the 2010s, before falling into oblivion a little. But it is clear that the world today is bringing it up to date. Consumers want to become more involved in their consumption, helping companies produce services and products in accordance with their needs and values.

Whether it's writing reviews, posting content on a brand via social networks, collaborating on new product launches with a company, consumers want to play a role in brand development.

Publishing and sharing the content of the customers themselves becomes an interesting marketing technique for your company. What better publicity than giving voice to a satisfied customer? Ask for their opinion, get them to vote, solicit their opinions... These actions must find their place in your 2021 marketing strategy.

4. Humanizing Virtual Environments

While technology allows for ever more efficient business operations, companies run the risk of compromising the personal interactions that underpin human relationships. Today, in times of such grandiose uncertainty and loss of human touch, this universal need for connection is even more evident.

How to align distance selling with the need for proximity relationships?

Through the services and products offered. If not all brands are on the street, they can have a real human impact in the real world and indirectly humanize their virtual relationships with customers. I can't believe I am about to use this as an example, but here we go.

Take the example of Clear Mask, which has developed a transparent mask. More than just a business opportunity, the company has found a way to maintain a connection between people.

Transparency allows everyone to show their face and remove this "barrier" effect induced by a cloth mask. Facial expressions become visible again. In addition, these masks make it easier for the hearing impaired to communicate with the mask.

This innovation reconnects people with each other. As a result, consumers perceive Clear Mask as a close, humane company that helps them regain some closeness in a context of social distancing.

5. Aligning Authenticity and Objectives

58% of consumers remember at least one brand that changed its approach to better meet their needs during the pandemic. For 82% of them, this has led to a stronger pourcentage of their purchases from the brand. More than ever, the authenticity and honesty of a brand is appreciated by the customer. It helps to build confidence and facilitate the purchase.

Indeed, companies, able to align their objectives with the values of their customers can establish lasting relationships and react quickly and authentically in times of uncertainty.

As a result, in addition to the numerical objectives, you need to add qualitative goals and align them with your humanization methods.

This involves different interactions with your audience, whether online or in person. Communication must contribute positively to your brand, with the goal of attracting customers who want to stay with you to participate in the development of your business.

For example, during the first months of the pandemic, restaurateurs delivered meals to caregivers, perfume brands made hydroalcoholic gel to distribute free of charge to health facilities, supermarket signs offered to deliver shopping baskets to the elderly...

These initiatives allow companies to improve their image and reputation, while making themselves useful. A proven marketing technique that is all the more effective in times of health crisis.

6. Creating an Ecosystem of Influence

Influencer marketing has a bright future ahead of it, but in 2021, it's not about sending products to as many influencers as possible to win the hearts of consumers. Businesses will need to build strong, long-term partnerships, find ways to connect WITH influencers and not THROUGH them.

A few ways you can thing about this are to co-create a product or a collection, to offer them to produce regular content (blog articles, manage the Instagram account over a given period ...) or immerse them in your business (by showing them around your premises or production lines, for example).

Connecting with influencers allows you to create added value for their (your) audience and reinforce the authenticity of your brand.

7. Strengthen Marketing Processes and Skills

Collaboration goes to the next level, especially in the area of ​​marketing! The creation of a marketing ecosystem becomes necessary to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.

To do this, you have to get out of the corporate framework, go in search of talent to surround yourself with partners and consultants whose objective is to support and improve the skills of your employees.

In 2021, more and more companies will also call on freelancers to save time on certain tasks, build skills or set up projects for the future.

Artificial Intelligence already integrates the different spheres of the business. It will continue to grow to help companies automate time-consuming tasks. The goal? That marketing experts focus only on value-added missions.

8. An Omnichannel Buying Journey

The goal of setting up an omnichannel buying journey is to maximize and streamline the prospect's journey. While multichannel allowed multiple points of contact between a brand and a customer, omnichannel optimizes the customer experience. It allows physical points of sale and digital contact points to be combined to facilitate the purchasing journey.

Internet users use an average of 3 different devices to connect to the Internet. It is therefore a matter of improving the performance of commercial solicitations, whether by distributing newsletters, content on social networks or on websites.

9. First Party Data

First party data corresponds to data collected by advertisers and media agencies. This data has become a key element in providing a personalized relationship. Consumers are willing to give more personal information in exchange for extensive personalization of the service delivered by a company or brand. The data analysis will therefore become more and more complex to ensure an ever more personalized service.

10. Improved Visual Content


Dynamic and interactive photos are used more and more in communication. With increasingly popular platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Tiktok or Snapchat, the visuals will be more and more breathtaking.

Indeed, it is no coincidence that networks are constantly acquiring new functionalities to create ever more attractive visuals. New voice and visual technologies continue to emerge. My top 3 "get on it before you fall off it" : Tiktok, Triller & Clubhouse. Brands will have to be present on these platforms as we moved forward in 2021.

As the world goes through times of turbulence, marketing is adapting and seeking to be more human and closer to consumers. This is evidenced by the trends that are expected for the next year. Are you ready ? See you next week, same TL;DR channel, probably not at the same time.

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