6 Marketing Trends To Watch in 2021

Intuition Marketing
  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog
  • Reading Time 5-Minute Read

Marketing never sleeps, and neither do sharp brands.

The pool of marketing tools, channels, and strategies available to companies of all sizes continues to grow, and some matter more than others. While the six trends I discuss here already have their roots, they will see explosive growth in 2021.

 1. Getting Authentic With A Socially Conscious Audience

This is one of 2021’s biggest trends. Younger buyers want to buy from brands they connect with. But simply promoting a product won’t connect them to a brand. Companies and influencers have to start engaging with buyers on topics that may still exist outside their comfort zone. Issues like mental health, diversity and inclusion, and social justice will remain relevant in 2021 and beyond. Socially conscious audiences will also expect more than hollow words. They’ll want to see brands become truly committed to an issue.

Marketers are going to have to create a more socially conscious strategy than in the past. It doesn’t mean brands need to get active on every hot issue, but it does mean they need to find ways to show their authenticity on the issues they do highlight.

2. Massive Growth In Social Commerce

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to e-commerce. In response, power players like Facebook and Instagram introduced “Shops,” which enables anyone to set up an online e-commerce shop. TikTok, which has seen skyrocketing growth since the pandemic began, is about to launch a limited beta version of an in-video shopping feature. Expect social commerce to be huge in 2021 as these social media sites, along with others, will continue to roll out new shoppable features.

Companies will have to adapt quickly as more social media platforms devise ways for brands, influencers and creators to sell from within their own content. They’ll need to think about what platforms they sell from and how their influencer marketing program fits in. They’ll have to stay on the pulse of where their market is and what new features work for them, without getting caught up in the hype of each new opportunity.

3. The Rise Of Voice Tech

Voice-centric channels are growing as marketing tools. Take podcasts, which have tripled since 2018 and now exceed 1.75 million. Or Clubhouse and TikTok, two of the trendiest social media platforms, which rely on voice communication. Twitter and LinkedIn have also rolled out voice messaging within their apps.

The increased use of voice – including the human voice, not simply AI-powered voice bots – raises interesting questions for brands. Where social media interns could write a tweet or post, it doesn’t always make sense for those same people to be a literal voice for a brand. The ideal way for companies to dip their toes into voice-based marketing is to partner with influencers who are already in that space. This more reserved approach will help brands determine which voice channels will generate the returns that justify investing in building their own voice channels.

4. Getting More Conversational With The Audience

I believe the rise of voice is part of the audience’s wish to connect with brands on a more human level. Whether it’s about some of the more socially conscious issues or the lifestyle issues related to a brand, people want conversations that go beyond the sale. They want brands to use conversations to build relationships with them. Audiences are looking for information and value-added engagement from companies that enrich their lives.

These conversations will be critical for creating a tribe of loyal customers, as customer retention and lifetime customer value will drive sales growth over the long term.

5. New Social Media Platforms Will Gain More Relevance

I continue to mention Clubhouse and TikTok because of their explosive growth in the social media space. Live stream social media sites, such as Twitch and Caffeine, will also grow to new levels of maturity. We’ll continue to see established sites introduce features that mimic what makes some of these new sites exciting, like Instagram Reels as a TikTok alternative.

Brand marketers can’t be everywhere, and it doesn’t make sense for them to be anyway. Brands should test the waters with established influencers before making a large financial commitment to building a native presence on any given platform.

6. Staying Alert Yet Strategic

The pandemic has sped up certain e-commerce and marketing trends. This means we should expect changes we can’t yet foresee that will impact digital marketing and sales.

Companies need to stay alert as to where their markets are heading and move with them, yet they also have to be mindful of staying on-brand and not letting every new site or trend dictate how they present to and connect with their audience.

One marketing truth that withstands any trend: Don’t confuse your audience. Whatever trends you lean into, make sure you’re staying true to the brand.