April 14, 2021

5 Mega-Trends Transforming the Future of Digital Marketing in 2021

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2020 didn’t go the way many digital marketers were expecting. However, challenges often present new opportunities and ways of approaching strategies and campaigns. 2021 saw many pivots and shifts and the acceleration of various trends that were already transforming the world of digital marketing

Let’s examine five mega-trende affecting the world around us and both B2B and B2C marketing teams. 

1) COVID-19 and its aftermath

The global pandemic sent seismic shocks throughout the world and significantly affected digital marketing. 

Marketers saw events get canceled, their teams work remotely, and their strategies, messaging, and campaigns shift. Their focus pivoted to how they can provide helpful information and solutions to customers during a difficult time. They became concerned with having the proper voice and tone as well striving to be more relevant than ever. 

Hope is on the horizon. Pfizer and Biontech and Moderna have both developed vaccines. At the time of this writing, Johnson & Johnson was working on a vaccine of its own. In October of 2020, about half of the CFOs surveyed by PWC expect a return to growth in 2021, with the help of investments in data analytics and marketing automation

Matt Heinz, B2B marketing and sales expert, pointed out back in May of 2020 that this wasn’t the new normal. However, some of the pivots marketers have made will become a part of the new normal. A new emphasis on deepening customer relationships as well as customer loyalty and engagement will continue. 

More importantly, empathy has come to the forefront of marketing more than ever before, with marketers putting themselves in their customers’ place and asking how they can help. 

2) The acceleration of digital

With in-person events not an option, marketers turned to virtual events, videos, and digital marketing channels to connect with customers. Due to lockdowns and other restrictions, many consumers were spending even more of their time online. In March of last year, Forbes found that internet use had gone up 70% and streaming more than 12% with the onset of the pandemic. 

Naturally, marketers go to the channels that customers are congregating to connect with them. Social media, email marketing, mobile, websites, landing pages, blogs, webinars, and more offer a myriad of chances to engage with customers. 

According to the CMO Survey from June 2020, 85% of marketers surveyed observed an openness among customers to new digital offerings during the pandemic, and 84% placed an increased value on digital experiences. 

Marketers now must utilize a digital-first focus in order to keep up with their audiences. 

3) Use of big data

The world has more data than it ever has before, and the amount looks to be increasing more and more. NodeGraph states that by 2025 world data is estimated to reach 175ZB, which would take someone 1.8 billion years to download at current internet speeds.  

Also according to NodeGraph, in 2020, one minute online saw:

  • 480,000 tweets constructed

  • 4.7 million videos viewed on YouTube

  • 4.2 million search queries on Google

  • 200 million emails sent

  • 60,000 images uploaded

All that information can tell brands just how to best serve you. Big data helps forecast the weather, suggest movies, songs, and books for consumers, and can tell marketers what channels and content a customer prefers. 

Of course, big data can offer huge competitive advantages to marketers, so long as they are able to properly capture, manage, and use that data. It helps them better understand their customers and gain more insights into how to solve their problems. 

4) Anyone can be a content creator and publisher

The world’s 3.7 billion social media users create content every time they post something. TikTok and Snapchat users are putting up short video content. Instagram features pictures and visuals about people’s lives, careers, and brands. 

There are more than 500 billion blogs in the world, and the number of self-published books cracked 1 million back in 2017 for the first time. 

Multiple publishing platforms exist, and people take advantage of them to share their insights, product knowledge, fiction, poetry, and more. 

What does this mean for content marketing

Content creators must strive to be more relevant than ever and catch people’s attention. The content must be informative and helpful but also delivered on the channel a customer performs and in a format they find easily digestible. 

Videos, webinars, blogs, thought leadership, interactive content, infographics—content marketers won’t ever run out of options to use. However, they are competing with almost the whole world for someone’s attention. To win, they must strive for clarity and substance.

5) Global connectivity

About 4.66 billion people are online, encompassing 59% of the global population, according to Statista. For 2020, NodeGraph found that there were

  • 5.1 billion mobile phone owners

  • 2 billion online shoppers

  • 3.7 billion social media users

As the numbers show, people are more connected across the world than ever before. You can network with someone who lives on different continents, attend online concerts with them, play online chess with them, attend online book clubs, and more. The possibilities are endless. 

Nowadays, marketers must consider their audiences. Who is visiting their website and blog and where are they from? Can they expand their audience due to global connectivity? How do they have to adjust their marketing to do so? 

An email sent to a North American audience might not perform as well if sent to Europe due to lingual and cultural differences. Is the thought leadership you’re publishing available in a different language since you have an audience in another country? Do you have webinars and online events for different countries and regions? 

Pay attention to your audience and how it grows. You might find much untapped potentials in expanding it or accommodating for different regions and cultures. Doing so can make your brand stand out as more of a leader. 

The future of digital marketing is now

As 2020 showed, what trends we think will impact us can change rather quickly. The key is to remain agile, flexible, and adaptable. A good attitude can also toward a long way toward helping you handle difficult times. 

                                                                                                  

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