Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers

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Planning out the best move./Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

What is your next move?

The second quarter of the year is fast approaching. We already see brands gear up for a spectacular summer season with new marketing campaigns and strategic ad placements. The ones knocking it out of the park have infused their branding efforts with high-scoring digital marketing trends in 2021.

Before I list known trends, let me ask an all-important question: Is content still the king of digital marketing trends in 2021?

Every big brand and small business wants to rank well on SERPs (search engine result pages). As a result, compelling content has become one of the deal-breakers to reach this coveted spot.

Consumers are investing in high-quality content through easy-to-follow tutorials, fun listicles, or social media stories snippets. If you have something meaningful or exciting to offer, you will find an attentive audience.

That is why you (and I) can’t deny the power of well-written content.

What do statistics say?

These relevant statistics from Content Marketing Institute reaffirm this idea:

It’s cost-effective — Getting a high ROI can be challenging for many small businesses post-pandemic. However, you can save almost 62% on ad spend than outbound marketing with content marketing and generate 3x more leads.

Maximum conversion rates — Content marketing generates 6x more leads than other marketing methods. In addition, some small businesses have acquired 126% more tips via blogs than their blog-less competitors.

More brand visibility — Almost 615 million users have placed adblockers to avoid blatant marketing placements. Unfortunately, this practice limits your reach to a broader audience. Blogs, social media engagement strategies, and other subtle consumer-centric techniques let you break the ice and score more brownie points. Moreover, 88% of content marketers agree that good content boosts consumer trust and brand credibility.

Nevertheless, the evolving landscape requires marketers to switch things around and adapt to changing consumer behaviors. In the light of recent events, adapting to the new normal has become the first step forward.



Introducing a new age of marketing

Micro-moments before and after the purchase are one of the top digital marketing trends of 2021. These strategies show target consumers that your relationship goes beyond a sales pitch. You can prove that by leveraging personalization, championing diversity, and crafting a data-driven omnichannel marketing campaign.

Let’s take a closer look at what this entails.

Inclusive & diverse marketing

A retail report by Accenture highlighted the cultural shift in customer perspectives. More than 40% of shoppers from ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community are willing to switch brands based on representation. They have no qualms about ditching brands that do not value I & D marketing.

The beauty industry has already seen this come into play with the launch of Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s all-inclusive foundation line forced the competitors to rethink their approach. Catering to WOC became an essential part of new product launches. We saw a repetition of this reaction when Savage Fenty X overshadowed crowd sweetheart Victoria Secret by introducing a lingerie line designed specifically for plus-sized women.

Last year’s events have pushed this narrative forward. Consumers who are ready to fight for representation rights and do not hesitate to call out halfhearted gestures. According to Forbes, “consumers are not taking your word at face value.”

That means:

  • Brands must hold themselves accountable for culturally insensitive misdeeds in the past and present.
  • Companies should support diverse voices by hiring creators, leaders, and marketers from marginalized groups.
  • Inclusive marketing should be integrated into the corporate culture instead of becoming a one-time advertising stunt.

In short, brands have to align their marketing plans with the cultural shift. Otherwise, they miss the opportunity of making a difference for people that matter — their target audiences.

The power of personalization

Let’s admit it.

Netflix holds a piece of our heart even if we have succumbed to signing up for Disney+ to watch the latest Marvel installments. The former has become the prime example of personalization done right.

The consumer journey starts from the moment you subscribe to the streaming service. First, you tick a few of your favorite movies/TV shows. Then, in few clicks, Netflix’s interactive database presents a recommended list of titles you’d enjoy. After that, you become part of the binge-loving community of media consumers.

The story does not end here.

Consumer interest is always part of the equation, from choosing which shows to green-lit to partnering with regional content creators.

Elsewhere, 70% of companies observed that AI-powered personalized marketing strategies generated around 200% ROI. In addition, 86% of brands noticed a spike in business after integration.

What’s more? Personalization works across marketing channels and platforms. My favorite strategies include:

  • Direct emails — I send emails that mention clients by name instead of generic labels. I slip in personal details by utilizing shopping behaviors and purchase history. These practices double click-through rates and spark consumer interest.
  • Customer segmentation — I have started developing ads according to niche audience interest and consumer insights instead of addressing the masses. I share content my consumers will like instead of churning marketing content for the sake of delivery. These gestures are appreciated more than generic newsletters.
  • Chatbots — Living in the new normal has spiked the number of midnight browsing and impulse purchases. So naturally, you can’t expect your customer support team to put in those extra hours. Luckily, chatbots can take over nighttime duties. Using these virtual assistants helps you keep interested buyers engaged and active during these splurging sprees. They also collect CRM data that can make interactions more meaningful. Your AI-powered bot can use saved data to make relevant recommendations and encourage users to head to the cart.

Omnichannel marketing & video advertising

A few years back, Harvard Business Review reported that at least 73% of customers use multiple intelligent devices during their shopping journeys. Post-pandemic has led to an uptick in numbers (almost 43%) as online shopping becomes the safest way to purchase goods.

These shoppers have become accustomed to bouncing from one device to another in the quest to find the perfect product. That is, digital marketing trends in 2021 are about developing immersive experiences.

Play & purchase

85% of customers will try a new brand or buy a product after watching a video ad. Additionally, 70% of YouTube users hit online shops watching an advertisement on the popular streaming channel. These statistics display the impact of visualization.

Brands are rapidly turning shoppable videos on social media channels into the new storefront for socially distanced interactions. These videos enable users to interact with brands without stepping outside. They are also much more detailed and engaging than 2-D product photos. Plus, you can use AI integration to ensure that these videos often pop up at the right moment.

Influencer marketing

Influencers have taken over celebrity brand ambassadors because of their relatable personas and avid social following. In addition, new people participated in their hangout events and live sessions to fill the social void during the quarantine.

Statistically, experts anticipate influencer marketing to generate a whopping $13.8 billion by the end of this year. Leveraging this digital marketing trend in 2021 involves detailed market research and social listening skills. That is because you can’t select a random influencer to promote your brand.

You need to find a person that already holds a prominent position within your target community. Then, working with them would help you infiltrate niche audiences and build your consumer base in a single swoop.

How to make it work?

Sometimes it can mean collaborating with micro-influencers. These individuals might be on the lower chain of popularity. Yet, their involvement can ensure that your word-to-mouth strategy reaches the right audience.

There are various ways to approach this marketing strategy. The most successful ones involve promo codes and limited edition collections (often designed by the influencer).

Social media FTW

What if you don’t have the budget to produce videos or recruit influencers?

Don’t fret.

You can still amp your ad strategy with mixed marketing tactics. It includes capitalizing on social media networks and built-in marketing features. For instance, I have seen brands increase engagement after they created social target-specific social media profiles. So you can converse with Gen Z on TikTok and Snapchat while keeping up with boomers on Facebook.

Moreover, geo-filters, direct messaging, and social media stories pave the way for interactive marketing. You can use these platforms to eliminate barriers and share inside scoops with an active audience.

The Bottom line

On the whole, digital marketing trends in 2021 are all about striking a balance between meaningful interactions, social awareness, and AI-backed ventures. Brands that can weave these aspects into their content marketing campaigns are all set to win big. In addition, adding personalized elements and unique branding stories into the mix improves ROI performance.

These techniques make your customer journeys more captivating.

So what are you waiting on? Use these words of wisdom to conquer the ad world, one interaction at a time. Let’s go!

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I am a Licensed Community Association Manager for the State of Florida and a published author. My top articles are about Florida RE, property management, and the many beautiful venues and activities available in the Sunshine State. Thank you for reading my work and joining me on the journey.

Kissimmee, FL
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