Top 10 Marketing Trends in 2021  

by Guest Author on April 6, 2021

in Guest Posts

Are you in sync with the global marketing trends that your business needs to be on the high  and high in 2021? 

With technology accelerating faster than the expansion of the Universe, Marketing  perennially keeps on changing every time. And, this year is no different.  

As Marketers, we have to adapt to newer technologies, processes and tools that will improve  your productivity and efficiency, thus providing your business with considerable competitive  advantage.  

Ultimately, adopting the new-fangled trends will have a direct impact on your top line and  bottom line.  

Whether your firm’s firm rise or demise is solely hinged on the incontrovertible fact that you  embrace the latest trends at the earliest that helps you to be ahead of the curve in this cut throat competition 

Of course. 

You don’t and must not chase behind all the marketing trends which doesn’t suit your precise  business requirements 

That goes without saying. 

Therefore, take your time and carefully select that particular trend(s) that will add more value  to your customers which increases your customer base and reduces your customer churn. 

Without further ado, 

Let’s dive into the Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2021. 

  1. Brand Authenticity 
  2. Hyper-Automation 
  3. eCommerce on a Roll 
  4. AI & ML for more value 
  5. UGC is the New Normal 
  6. Extended Reality 
  7. Neuro Marketing 
  8. Videos, Videos and More Videos 
  9. Socially Responsible Brand 
  10. Data Security & Privacy

1. Brand Authenticity

Will you do business with a dishonest person who uses duplicitous and Machiavellian ruses  to cheat you in broad daylight?  

The answer is a short and big NO.  

The same is applicable even to a brand.  

Brands are living entities with unique personalities and identities. The moment you feel that  Brands take you for granted and stomped all over you like an angry bull, the trust factor  quickly evaporates than all the water in an ocean!  

Isn’t Trust the binding glue that holds relationships together?  

You may have an incredible product, amazing Marketing team, and Sales Rock stars but when  the cornerstone of trust is lost, everything else is meaningless. 

Brands need to constantly remember themselves that we are living in the Information Era  where savvy customers know anything and everything at the tap of a button. Gone are the  days where Brands obfuscate and be nebulous in their communications.  

Today’s customers want their Brands to be more open and transparent in their dealings – the  real McCoy, sincere and truthful in how they approach and engage with their customers. 

According to History Factory, an astonishing 90% Millennials are on the same frequency that  Brand Authenticity is a must. 

Stackla Report establishes Brand Authenticity as an indispensable parameter as an incredible  86% consumers have voiced that they would like to deal with Brand who share similar values  and beliefs 

Hence, the bottom-line is don’t try to be artificially or fraudulently create Brand Authenticity  to your consumers. 

Treat them as discerning and real human beings with genuine feelings, thoughts and emotions  as they can smell a charlatan and confidence trickster from a mile.

2. Hyper Automation

Everything in this world has got to have a logical next step, Right?  

The same is happening in the field of Automation. 

Everyone knows what Marketing Automation is and how they help businesses benefit by  providing quality leads, improving efficiency, actionable future-centric decision making by  data driven analysis, and most importantly enhance the customer experience at every touch  point by personalizing the buyer journeys.

Hyper Automation takes one step further by incorporating a smorgasbord of technologies as  Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Digital Twins of an Organization (DTO),  Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and chatbots that will significantly boost the revenue of  organizations by decreasing their operating expenditure (OpEx) and at the same time, it gives  us more elbow room to Change-the-business than Run-the-business. 

Eventually, Hyper Automation drives better ROI for your business. 

According to Gartner Technology Trends 2021

Hyper automation is the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization  should be automated. Hyper automation is driven by organizations having legacy  business processes that are not streamlined, creating immensely expensive and  extensive issues for organizations. 

Emergen Research categorically states that Hyper Automation is a whopping great USD 22.84  Billion by 2027 

A simple use case in Marketing will be to identify anonymous visitors as only 2% website  visitors fill out their forms which makes it drastically difficult for Marketing Professionals to  track down potential leads and convert them into loyal customers. 

This is where Hyper Automation flies in to save the day for you by identifying anonymous  visitors thus resulting in better utilization of your Marketing Budgets. 

3. eCommerce On A Roll

Life is unpredictable and sated with uncertainties. Howmuchever, you and I try to ensure that  we have complete control over our destinies, life throws a curve ball at us with immaculate  speed and accuracy. 

One such curve ball that no one ever saw coming and that has had significant economic  ramifications across the globe is Corona Virus.  

From Masks to Social Distancing to Lockdown Restrictions to Quarantines and what nots’ have  happened in the last one year that has tremendously impacted every facet of human life  including our behaviour and attitude towards shopping thus shifting our allegiance to digital  transactions for the fear of our safety due to the dreaded Covid and physical shops being  closed due to lockdowns and in worst case, several being out of business. 

In 2020, e-commerce saw an astronomical shift in shopping behaviour by consumers.  Euromonitor International predicts that sales from e-commerce will leapfrog by 25% in 2021  and that 17% of goods will be bought online with a 9% CAGR over the 2020-2025 period. 

With the vaccine being rolled out worldwide, Statista pegs the global digital ad spending at  $389 Billion in 2021. 

Spending on digital media with search and social media by Brands is also witnessing a  quantum jump up by 8% and 14% respectively. 

Zenith forecasts that digital advertising will account for 58% of global ad spend by 2023.

The data points at an apodictic surety that eCommerce will be the resplendent dominant and  preferred mode of shopping for consumers. 

At least for the foreseeable future until normalcy and sanity prevails once again.

4. AI & ML for More Value

Without Data, can you make an informed decision? 

But when you have a titanic explosion of data at your disposal, it’s a herculean ask for any  person to sift through the voluminous tomes of data, Right? 

Enter AI & ML. 

I’m not going to discuss what is AI and ML as you are already in the know about these industry  buzz words that’s been creating a stir for quite a while. 

We shall see how AI & ML can add more value in Marketing 

You can do magic with data which even Harry Potter will find it difficult to accomplish.  Agreed?  

That’s precisely what AI & ML does in the field of Marketing. 

Analysing customer profiles for a hyper-personalized experience, RPA, providing product  recommendations, voice-search, adaptive personalization, chatbots and using AR/VR/MR for  immersive experience are few use cases where AI & ML are playing a vital part in substantially  increasing the engagement and providing more value to the customers 

Statista unequivocally forecasts that the global AI market is bound to reach $126 Billion by  2025 and that 16% ML adoption rate by Sales & Marketing is in the offing.  

Also, 87% Companies plan to use AI in their Sales Forecasting & Email Marketing 

Statista have also come up with an estimate that there will be 8.4 Billion Units Digital Voice  Assistants (DVA) by 2024 which provides a plethora of opportunities for Marketing personnel  to tap into this market  

According to FirstSiteGuide, 43% customers shop online through voice enabled devices and  this makes it all the more crucial to optimize content for Voice SEO. 

Linchpinseo offers valuable insights how Chatbots are creating ripples in the Customer Service  because as many as 47% organizations are ready to implement Chatbots for business  communications with customers who prefer quick responses for their hassles 

Likewise, Netflix has saved more than $1 Billion in revenue through personalized  recommendations for users by ML algorithms and have reduced their customer churn through  cancelled subscriptions.  

AI is not an ominous nightmare as featured in many of our Sci-Fi movies. Rather, AI  complements human beings and is a boon to astute marketers when used properly.

5. UGC is the New Normal

User-Generated Content is not an alien concept. It has been around since 1857 when feelers  were put forth to the general public to create the first edition of the Oxford Dictionary.  

But its prominence has grown leaps and bounds in the recent times particularly during the  Covid times as we craved for the lost connection and engagement that we used to have pre Covid period. 

Many Brands like KFC, Deliveroo, edX, Made.com, Buffalo Wild Wings etc had smartly tapped  into the potency of UGC to ensure that they humanize their content to be relatable, relevant,  uplifting and provide the much-needed hope for the people to wade through the dark hours  of Covid. 

So, is it only during the Covid that people and brands woke up one fine day to have the  fantastic idea that UGC is the new normal? 

Wrong. 

Stackla Survey reveals plenty of insights between the disconnect between the Marketers’  content and the perception of consumers – the deep gorge that’s created between Branded  Contents and User-Generated Contents. 

The numbers are irrefutable to be not looked the other way by the Brands as consumers have  become very wary of ads, mistrust and distrust them due to their blatant use of marketing  spiels and the availability of sophisticated and suave photo shop softwares in the market. 

According to Inc, an astounding 96% customers do not trust ads which Brands heavily invest  in their time, money and effort to overcome this tenebrous atmosphere of distrust existing  amongst the customers. 

This is where UGC assists and forms the bedrock of a Marketer’s strategy to make their Brands  copper-bottomed and authentic so that customers have a genuine and long-lasting  relationship with them.  

As per Coschedule, 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care  about and potentially change opinions or encourage action while 84% share because it is a  way to support causes or issues, they care about. 

End of the day, it boils down to one simple fact – Make your customers feel that they are  valued rather than merely seeing them as a money-grabbing entity. 

UGC is here to stay for a long time and the Brands must burn their midnight oil to come up  with creative ideas to ensure that they are unimpeachable and above suspicion in the eyes of  their true-blue customers.

6. Extended Reality

Extended Reality (ER) is an all-inclusive term for enveloping and riveting technologies as  Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and any other reality that  might crop up in the future. 

ER provides the perfect marriage between the real world and virtual world that takes  immense advantage of our burning desire to experience new things through Artificial  Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IOT).  

Mordor Intelligence values the ER industry to reach $463.7 Billion in 2026 with a strong CAGR  exceeding 62.67% during the 2021-2026 period. 

ER has a myriad application in several verticals like BFSI, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Military,  Consumer Goods & Retail, Manufacturing, Media & Entertainment, IT, Gaming, Travel et al.  

With 5G on the horizon and the unfettered explosion of smartphones, data, VR headsets and  AR Glasses, it is sure-fire that the demand for immersive technologies must be highly  embraced by organizations so that they drive more customer engagements and conversion  rates mainly AR. 

ARtillry projects worldwide AR revenues to hit $27.4 Billion in 2023 from $1.96 Billion in 2018. 

Thanks to the pandemic, customers are taking enormous safety and hygiene in trying out  apparels, beauty products etc in physical retail outlets. Brands have ensured that the ship  doesn’t sail and secured a strong foothold by adopting AR in their premises to help their  customers in their buying decisions. 

According to Date from Vertebrae, AR engagement is close to 20% with conversion rates up  ticking by 90% for consumers engaging with AR than those that don’t.  

Online furniture and lifestyle retailer CB2 found that product pages featuring 3D and AR  experiences drove 21% higher revenue per visit and a 13% lift in average order size 

Virtual Fitting Rooms (VFR) and Smart Mirrors are playing a significant part in fashion and retail  outfits as customers are still averse and hesitant to avoid body contact.  

As per the data collated by First Sight, almost 54% are disinclined and uncomfortable to use the  fitting rooms even after the reopening of shops.  

In fact, Fortune Business Insights nails down the market size of VFRs to be $10 Billion by 2027  with a CAGR of 20.1% in this timeframe.  

The unintended consequence of this pandemic is that it has open the doors for businesses to  take good stock of their situation, no pun intended, and incorporate technologies as XR to be a  prime driving force in their strategy to be heads and shoulders above their competition.

7. Neuro Marketing

No. 

This is not the new theme of another confounding and mind-boggling Christopher Nolan’s new  movie. 

But who knows? 

He may use this concept also! 

The essential thing is that Neuro Marketing is gaining significant traction in the last few years as  the need for more empirical data to accurately gauge consumer behaviour is on the upswing for  organizations to take better decisions and park their investments in Marketing based on sound  data. 

Neuro Marketing delivers just that. 

So, what is Neuro Marketing? 

In simple terms, Neuro Marketing is a scientific discipline and a practical extension of Neuro  Science that analyses our brain processes to gain invaluable nuggets of data by the use of  technologies as Eye-Tracking, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),  electroencephalography (EEG), Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and magneto  encephalography (MEG). 

In short, whatever responses that are missed out by respondents during traditional Marketing  Research (MR) and Focus Groups, they are precisely captured by exactly measuring the cognitive  and affective responses to marketing campaigns, advertising messages, images, colours and other  visual and audio stimuli. 

The consumer’s hidden feelings, attitudes, perceptions and their drives in their purchase decision making are demystified and discovered in this process. 

This enable Marketers to capitalize on the rigorous data to improve their Branding and Customer  Satisfaction by exceeding the expectations of the customers through the divulged data that was  privy only to the consumers earlier. 

What can you do with such a data? 

Well.  

It’s a diamond mine of inch-perfect information that can be used in all aspects of Marketing – Product Development, Segmentation, Positioning, Pricing, Packaging, Advertising to create  personalized and effective marketing strategies by meticulously predicting the behaviour of the  customers.

According to the Infinium Global Research the worldwide market of Neuromarketing solutions is projected to be over $2,000 million by 2024 with a CAGR of 9.1% in the forecast period from 2018 to 2024. 

Real World Takeaways shows how Neuro Marketing is being implemented in reality and the  ways it has tremendously benefitted the organizations. 

Neuro Marketing is a must-have Marketing Trend of 2021 in your business. If you have the suitable wherewithal for it.

8. Videos, Videos and More Videos

A Marketing strategy without video content is like a pizza without cheese! Unfathomable even to imagine. 

We have all heard the ho-hum adage “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” 

However, it is not the case for this person who has re-written this aphorism in his own style as  “All play and only play make Ryan Kaji a multi-millionaire” 

Yes. 

The very same Ryan Kaji. 

YouTube’s highest earner in 2020. 

By only unboxing and reviewing toys in his channel, he has amassed $29.5 Million. Let that sink in than the fastest quicksand! 

The power of visual story-telling is not new to brands connecting with their target audience by making the videos more enticing and memorable and at the same time, engaging and  entertaining them in the process. 

12 times more share for videos than images and text combined together – Small Business  Trends. 

I’m not going to provide gyan on how video marketing is pivotal to your strategy, how to make  awesome videos, platforms like Tiktok, Facebook Live, Insta Reels, Stories and IGTV are going to  be the cynosure of consumers’ eyes etc.  

That’s totally out of scope. 

For this blog. 

But what we will see is how pandemic has transmogrified Video Content into a ginormous  money-spinner post the Covid era. 

According to Zenith, the outlay for online video is hammered down at $61 Billion in 2021 from  $45 Billion in 2020. 

What this pandemic has done is that it has brought brands and their customers close together  like Wanda & Vision! 

According to Hubspot, 68% of consumers say that this tempestuous pandemic has impacted  the amount of online video content with a mind-blowing majority of 96% saying their  viewing has significantly increased 

Likewise, Users spend a staggering 88% more time browsing on websites that have videos besides the average Joe and Jane gobbling up 100 minutes every day by watching videos online  in 2021. 

Don’t you think these are God-sent (If you are not an Atheist!) numbers wrapped up in excellent  package for Marketers? 

Wait. 

There’s more. 

Cisco projects that a staggering 82% of video content will be created in 2022. 

That can be crystal-clearly seen from the indisputable fact that Netflix had an astonishing 16  million new subscribers globally during the pandemic. 

According to Startupnation,  

  • 78% watch videos every week. 
  • 55% watch videos every day. 
  • 72% of customers prefer learning about a product or service by watching videos.

An incredible 82% prefer live video from brands to social posts and 80% of audience would  love to watch live video from a brand than read a blog as per Livestream 

Does this mean that blogs are obliterated by videos? 

So, Blogging is not murdered by Video. At least for now. 

Blogs and Videos are an essential part of strategy that complements each other in the short-term  and long-run.

Summing it up, Marketers are finding unique ways to make their videos fun, funny and educating  the users at the same time as a remarkable 99% of video marketers will be creating more videos  in 2021 with 96% of them planning to upswing their ad budget (Hubspot).  

9. Socially Responsible Brand

Savvy customers expect more from the brands today. 

They want the companies to take a hard stand on social issues that resonate with their  feelings, beliefs, and principles. 

In fact, during the Covid pandemic, 53% have responded that ‘Purpose-driven’ companies  have done better. Porter Novelli 2020 

This is where Cause Marketing comes into the picture. 

Brand can no longer look the other way around when it comes to social responsibility. 

It has become an apodictic fact that Cause marketing must be a part and parcel of an  organization’s overall marketing strategy. 

According to Forrester Research, more than 50% – 52% to be precise – of U.S. consumers take  into consideration their own values into their buying decisions when seeking out brands that  proactively promote beliefs and values aligned with theirs. 

Likewise, Nielsen survey put forth a remarkable finding that 66% of consumers were inclined to shell out a higher price for products/services from brands that championed social  commitment and sustainability. 

The numbers are so intriguing that companies ought to make CSR their priority else face the  wrath of their loyal customers to have their trust and favourability eroded in the twinkling of  an eye. 

The crucial question why consumers seek out brands displaying a higher purpose is that  Millennials and Gen-Z want their actions to have a net positive impact at a local and global  scale. 

As per digital media solutions, brands displaying sincerity and genuineness in their social  messaging and campaigns will strongly connect with the Gen-Z who want to have a  meaningful purpose in their lives. 

10-csr-trends-to-watch-in-2021 according to Forbes gives us a clear-cut insight as where  brands need to park their resources to enhance their brand image and brand reputation in  the minds of the consumer.

Take for example. 

In the recently concluded CES, Samsung introduced a solar-powered TV remote control  designed with 77% recycled plastic. 

Also, the tech behemoth, Google, had committed to $1 Billion to Covid related support to  developing countries and SMBs. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  

Everyone makes mistakes and we know that it’s an undeniable fact of life. 

But, a staggering 88% of Americans are more than ready to provide another chance to a  company for making a mistake if it genuinely tries to turn a new leaf and 73% have  categorically stated they are less likely for them to disavow a company if they are Purpose driven. Porter Novelli’s 2021 Business of Cancel Culture Study 

In a nutshell, a Unilever Consumer Study predicts that a whopping great $1.2 Trillion diamond  mine exists for brand who make their sustainability goals explicit and that consumer trust  4.1X times more and throng to brands who have a formidable purpose as per Zeno’s 2020  Strength of Purpose 

10. Data Security and Privacy 

You want to show the right message to the right person at the right time on the right platform  for the right location? 

Of course, right? 

It will grow our business like anything if we can achieve this level of personalization. 

According to invespcro, the ROI is 5 to 8 times for businesses on their marketing outlays when  they are using data-centric personalization. 

This is further bolstered by the hardened fact by inc that 61% of Americans are more than  inclined to share their data with brands for receiving personalized marketing  communications. 

What does this mean? 

In layman terms, it requires data, more data and astronomical amount of data to deliver this  level of bespoke promotional messages. 

This is why it brings us to the paramount question of data security and privacy.

With the pandemic forcing many organizations to ask their employees to work remotely  without any proper checks and balances for data security and many businesses made a digital  presence to cater to their audience needs, 2020 is deemed as the worst year for a record  number of data breaches to as many as 36 Billion confidential records disclosed to the world. 

As per a CyberEdge Study sponsored by MicroFocus, more than 40% of the respondents  stated that there was a drastic uptick in risks from unmanaged devices belonging to remote  users. 

Additionally, a Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey 2019 reported that a thumping 84% of the  respondents care about their privacy, their own data, other people’s data in the society, and  want more control in how their data is being used by companies besides 48% citing that they  have already switched companies due to their data policies and data sharing practices. 

These numbers point us to one indispensable fact that customers value and have significant  concern over their data and the usage. 

In fact, 84% of users shelve their buying decision if the online portal is not secured. 

This makes data security and privacy as one of the top marketing trends in 2021 because it  has direct correlation with brand’s relationship and trust besides companies can gain  significant upper hand over the competitors who do not have their websites secured. 

But, as Marketers, we have a lot of regulations to follow like GDPR, CCPA etc so that we earn  the confidence and credibility from our steadfast and loyal customers. 

Every. Single. Time. 

It requires a lot of effort from our side like investing in the right technologies, reskilling our  employees to comply with the new regulations et al. 

Not only for our customers but for our own business as well. 

However, the effort is worth is every penny as customers will sure-shot see us in a favourable  light and thus, it boosts our brand reputation in their minds which will aid in top-of-the-mind awareness and brand recall for your organization. 

Summing it up, 

There’s definitely no one-size fit all approach when it comes for you to select the correct trend  for your business. 

Brutally analyse your business model.

Choose with enough care and meticulousness the appropriate the trend(s) that will serve your  customers effectively rather than merely jumping into the bandwagon and shooting the  works that doesn’t produce any positive result.  

In the end, it boils down to this, 

The bottom line is the bottom line.  

Guest article written by: Vignesh V is an avid Blogger and a Marketer. He has done his MBA (Marketing) and has  worked extensively in IT & Retail. Loves to explore new cuisines and places. Cares about how  technology can be affordably implemented for environment sustainability.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Digital Blocs June 17, 2021 at 08:38

This article is very helpful to learn about Digital Marketing concepts.

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