Guest Post: 8 Marketing Trends for 2021: What's In and What's Out?

Our lives were transformed in myriad ways in 2020. In this guide, we'll look at the ways the global pandemic has shaken up the world of business and share some helpful marketing tips for staying relevant in the new year.
Samantha Rupp
March 29, 2023

2020 was a year full of surprises and changes in the face of the global pandemic. Besides healthcare, the pandemic has revolutionized the marketing industry and has permanently changed the way companies are doing business. If you want to make sure your company stays relevant in the new year, keep reading to learn more about the marketing trends you should know about for 2021.

Trend #1: Wellness and health marketing

In this uncertain year, many shoppers have realized that health, exercise, and wellness are integral parts of their lives. Companies like Objective Wellness focus on offering products designed to target people who want to take extra steps to boost their health. Check out the example of their wellness-based copy below:

Going into 2021, wellness will still be a huge part of marketing as shoppers try to find the balance between their health, working from home, and other obligations.

Trend #2: Brand politics and activism

Traditionally, brands have stayed away from causes that could be construed as too political, but these days, the opposite is true. If a brand doesn’t stand up for something, the brand could be vulnerable to a boycott. Brands are much more likely to be involved in activist causes, especially in 2020. For example, many larger companies like Netflix and Reebok made a point to start initiatives based around the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Consumers often expect their favorite brands to act with a certain level of social responsibility. Experts believe that this kind of brand activism will carry over into the new year. In general, people like to see the companies they buy from speak up about the causes they believe in. 

Trend #3: Social buying

With sweeping social media platform changes like Instagram bringing shopping posts to the forefront, it’s no surprise that social media is continuing to lead the charge for online marketing. Facebook shops, Pinterest Shopping Ads, and Instagram shops are helping to push a new era of social commerce. 

Around three-quarters of consumers use social media as shopping inspiration. For businesses, that means it’s incredibly important to ensure that your company’s social media presence makes it easy for people to buy your products. 

Trend #4: More user-generated content

User-generated content is anything created by the customers, instead of the brands or companies themselves. Influencer marketing has become a staple in the online marketing world, and it remains strong. In fact, user-generated content consistently outperforms brand-created content. 

Although influencers and user-generated content aren’t concepts that are new to anyone, there’s been a huge influx of interest in these marketing channels as more businesses transition to heavier digital marketing. You’ll continue to see more authentic, relatable content from consumers themselves going into 2021. 

Trend #5: A world without cookies

No, we’re not talking about chocolate chip cookies, we’re talking about cookies that track and target consumer spending and browsing behavior. In 2022, Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies which will significantly change the digital marketing world. 2021 will see marketing experts figure out how to survive in a world without cookies and work around any of the limitations caused by its impact.

Trend #6: Personalization continues to grow

Although there’s evidence that shoppers are concerned about privacy, shoppers tend to only engage with ads and marketing that’s targeted to them based on their interests. Consumers are mass unsubscribing to generic email campaigns and choosing personable web pages instead. 

In 2021, these patterns will continue. Marketers and companies should expect to fine tune their communications to their customers. 

Trend #7: Increased automated marketing

Why should you do everything manually when there’s software out there that can do it more effectively? Automated marketing technology is a huge industry that can be leveraged in many different ways. Here are a few of our favorite automated marketing ideas to implement in 2021:

  • Engagement emails: Did a customer abandon their shopping cart and click out of your website? Send them a follow-up email with a special discount and a note about their abandoned cart. That discount could be the difference between a purchase and no purchase. Engagement emails are automatically sent out based on certain consumer behavior. You can use them to effectively target shoppers who might be persuaded to purchase with a well-timed discount code.

  • Automated chatbots: Chatbots have become very sophisticated. If you want to ensure your customers are knowledgeable about your product without dedicating real people to field all the questions you might get, a chatbot is a great investment. You can help consumers make the right product choice or help them narrow down their options. You can also use a chatbot to answer commonly asked questions like, “What are the dimensions?” and “Is there a warranty?”

  • Automatic social posting: As we mentioned earlier, social media is huge. To leverage it properly, your company needs to post regularly and at the right times. To take advantage of the times when people are the most “digitally active” during the day, consider using automated social media posting software. This allows you to plan out a social media content calendar so you can stay organized and on track with all of your platforms. 

Trend #8: Short videos and going “live”

TikTok and its ilk are here to stay. In order to keep up, businesses are putting more money into short-form video marketing. TikTok for Business launched in early 2020 and it’s expected to expand its services going into 2021. For businesses who have relevant services and products to offer on this particular platform, it makes sense to invest time and money into it. 

Video is here to stay in a huge way. Anyone who takes advantage of video marketing on their website and social media sites will have a huge advantage in 2020. Giving users a choice in different ways to consume the information about a product/service is key to the future of marketing. Take My SmartMove for example, who not only uses written copy on their website, but also video to make it more inclusive to all users.

Takeaways: Marketing in 2021 and beyond

Although it’s true that nobody can predict the future, the trends that began in 2020 seem like they’re here to stay. Thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic, companies are focusing on building their digital marketing strategies and streamlining their eCommerce platforms. For brands and companies that want to stay relevant, it’s important to incorporate a few of these trends into your business operations to get the most bang for your buck going into 2021.

About the Author:

Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365 Business Tips as well as runs a personal blog, Mixed Bits Media. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.

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