In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, trends are always changing. In order to stay on top of your marketing game, it’s crucial for business owners and marketers to keep with the latest trends. It’s also important to look to the future and see what trends could take off. This way, you can start taking advantage of them before everyone else does. Here are 5 trends in digital marketing that we expect to define 2021:
1. Engagement Strategies that Lean into Customer Participation:
Customer participation represents both passive and active ways in which people interact to influence brands.
- Passive participation: Includes low-touch, low-effort activities in which people provide feedback or discuss a brand.
- Active participation: Represents the more purposeful and involved ways people interact with brands.
Customer engagement is quickly becoming a two-way street where customers participate as brand ambassadors, influencers, collaborators, and innovators. As a result, marketers can gain the upper hand over their competition if they lean into customer participation when crafting their engagement strategy. Here are some of the ways you can make customer participation part of your digital marketing strategy:
- Create a Holistic Participation Plan: The process of holistic marketing takes into account the considerations of the community as a whole when creating and implementing marketing strategies. For example, building awareness and consideration requires brands to promote community forums and/or relevant blogs too.
- Be Conversational in Your Content: The importance of conversational marketing cannot be understated. When content is thrown onto multiple channels without a goal and is just pushing information at your audience, it doesn’t encourage them to engage. Talk to your audience, ask questions, get their opinion, and share helpful information that helps build trust and grows your relationship with your audience.
- Polls and Giveaways: While it might be on the lower end of the spectrum, a poll or a giveaway is a starting place for brands to get their audience engaged and participating, especially on social media.
2. Brands Developing a Personalized Omnichannel Strategy:
Traditionally, brands adopt an omnichannel mindset which in layman’s terms means treating each channel equally. In 2021, we expect brands to start breaking away from executing the same across all channels and instead start heading towards omnichannel personalization.
What is omnichannel personalization?
Simply put, it’s where brands recognize which channels are most important and strategically optimize their content where it matters most as opposed to using the same content strategy across all channels.
Why is it important?
Companies that successfully adopt omnichannel personalization and focus on the two or three most important channels can create significant value. An omnichannel effort targeted to the top interaction channels can dramatically increase customer satisfaction and engagement.
Steps to get started:
- Identify your most important channels: Live Chat, Email, SMS/Messaging, Social media, Knowledge base, and Chatbots are all potential options.
- Design for the channels that matter: When you are able to decide what your most important channels are, you are able to shift your focus to building out functionalities in line with the channels of customer choice and making sure information flows freely across those channels. This begins to enable the start of a personalized omnichannel experience.
- Develop a customer-centric mindset: Unless you are focused entirely on customer journeys, you are likely to expend their resources in the wrong places and inevitably fall behind the competition. Have a customer-centric mindset by focussing completely on understanding what customers want and need by segment.
3. User-generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content describes marketing through any of the following forms of content: testimonials, reviews, videos, photos, discussions, blogs, and more. The only difference is that UGC is created by your current customers and is available to the public, as opposed to content created and made public by your brand itself.
The prominence of UGC:
It is estimated that almost 90% of businesses utilize UGC in some form. UGC has seen a large increase in usage this year because people enjoy seeing content from normal people. Whether it be a review, blog, picture, video, or testimonial, all these types of UGC can be shared by the brand on all their channels. This form of marketing has been increasingly more common due to the fact that the content writes itself and all marketers have to do is share it with their audience.
Why use UGC?
- It’s the most effective form of advertising: UGC has shown that it outperforms content created by the brands themselves. The idea of having customers generate content that you can use to market your brand is a foolproof strategy.
- Authenticity and Reliability: With paid advertising from big brands showing lifestyles that are unattainable, there’s been an emerging want for a more authentic representation of ordinary people, lifestyles, and experiences in advertising which UGC provides.
- Trustworthy: Research shows that UGC is considered to be 50% more trustworthy than traditional marketing.
4. Nostalgia Marketing
Just like your favorite meal that reminds you of home, marketing seeks to do the same thing. With how fast-paced and technological the world has become, people are looking for comfort which is what nostalgia marketing seeks to accomplish. Studies have found that nostalgia is so powerful that it’s actually proven to make us more willing to spend money on consumer goods and services.
Why does it work?
Nostalgia works so well in marketing because it has a strong effect on our mental wellbeing. Nostalgia also helps bring relief from the feelings of anxiety and instability that the future brings. Instead of anticipating the next great thing, nostalgia marketing urges us to focus on things we already know, and use the familiarity of the old to sell the innovation of the new.
Nostalgia marketing happens so many times during the day that it’s difficult to notice, let alone count. With the holiday season being in full swing, nostalgia marketing is going to be in full swing. The next time you sit down to watch TV, pay attention to the commercials, and see how many examples of nostalgia marketing you discover!
5. Improvement of AI to use Chat Boxes for more than Customer Service
For most businesses, chat boxes have been used to improve customer service. This is an effective use as they improve accessibility, speed of response, and allow 24/7 availability for customers. This, however, is only the tip of the spear when it comes to all the ways chatboxes can be used. AI unlocks the potential for chat boxes to be utilized for more than customer service and can be used to connect on a deeper level with your audience.
How does improved AI make chat boxes more effective?
Chat Boxes and AI have typically been used at a low level of development and don’t individualize the experience for customers. We expect chat boxes to start being designed with personas that are designed to match each individual customer’s tone, words, and attitude. This change will make chat boxes extremely effective in marketing cases as it will allow chat boxes to change from pushing customers in one direction to a customer experience that is predictive and personalized.
The improved use of AI for chat boxes will result in a better customer experience, shorter sales cycles, and higher quality leads, paired with the already present customer service aspect.
2021 will see the continuation of the trend towards personalized engagement with your customers and prospects. Companies will need to be prepared to make effective use of their digital marketing tools as well as adopting AI into their processes to make this possible.
What are your digital marketing predictions for 2021? We’d love to hear them!
If you have any questions regarding your marketing strategy in 2021, Contact us, and we would be happy to help!