Digital Marketing 2021: 9 Trends Of The New Normal, Between MarTech And The Human Dimension

In addition to the natural evolution of online marketing strategies and technological advances, marketers will have to consider the greater sensitivity of people to value aspects. Social engagement, “personal” content, employer branding, and SEO activities will have to leap in quality

The trends for Digital Marketing 2021  revolve around the need to make the most of channels and messages to achieve greater effectiveness of their strategies. But, if in the last two years we have talked about nothing but data and how to collect, analyze and use them, today what strongly returns to the center of digital marketing is the human dimension. The user, of course, understood in his most personal sense of an individual, in his most real everyday life. How to intercept it authentically, in the right way, and at the right time, in the omnichannel customer journey?

Doing Online Marketing In The Era Of Covid-19

It is useless to deny it: throughout 2021, marketers all over the world will have to come to terms with the so-called new normal, with the consequences of the pandemic scenario we are experiencing.

The Covid-19 was not only an accelerator of digital transformation, but he made it inevitable and urgent, even if it was still at a very immature stage. Companies found themselves in the urgent need to digitize, fragment, and deconstruct processes that until a second before had been linear, centralized, and “physical”.

If all that is smart working and any other activity – from shopping to sports, from cooking to personal care – are carried out at home, remotely, then the touchpoints necessarily change and the touchpoints must change with the user. We cannot think of continuing to do digital communication as it was done pre-Covid nor of continuing on a botched and “emergency” line as has been done in recent months. 

Digital marketing 2021 will have to take the form of a structured plan based on the assumption that, in a new and different world, equally new and different strategies are needed.

As every year, several authoritative voices are pronouncing themselves on what will be the winning trends for digital marketing in 2021.

Among many, it is interesting an article by Forbes which confirms 5G, Artificial Intelligence and data as the essential technological base for the near future, arguing that they will become increasingly mainstream and used at all levels; not only that, it also talks about working remotely, underlining how smart working will become a consolidated habit, which will survive even after the end of the pandemic.

Gartner in its ” Marketing Predictions for 2021 and beyond ” focuses in particular on the key role of Brand Safety and Brand Reputation, which will require marketers to monitor more precisely all areas in which consumers express themselves directly through User Generated Content.

Also, Deloitte has released its Annual Report ” Global Marketing Trends 2021 “: according to them, everything will be played out on 7 keywords, pillars of any strategy that wants to take a step forward. These are purpose, human experience, fusion, trust, participation, talent, and agility: companies must have a purpose, guarantee a human experience, but also “fusion” in the most positive sense of comparison and positive dialogue between people, trust, active participation, focus on talents and work in an agile way. And this, as is evident from the terms themselves, must apply both externally – in the relationship between brands and their consumers – but also within companies – in the relationship between colleagues and the corporate hierarchy, made even more delicate by the need to work separately.

Also Read: Digital Marketing, What It Is Today And Why It Is The Key To Business Growth

The 9 Golden Rules For Digital Marketing In 2021

Doing digital marketing means keeping up to date with the latest Martech technological innovations, with new platforms, and, above all, with new user behaviors and trends in terms of purchases. How can we intercept them and even direct them? The 9 rules to do it right.

Customer Marketing And Message Personalization

Today the user is increasingly connected but less and less physically reachable. Consequently, it is necessary to reach him with targeted and personal messages. Personal means much more than “personalized”: an automatic personalized email simply by picking the recipient’s name in the incipit is not enough, the content needs to be sewn on the customer.

In this sense, exploiting the power of data and technology, as well as an increasingly accurate segmentation, is fundamental: you must be able to write to user X by proposing products related to his past, remembering recurrences and special dates, such as a birthday or first order, and directly involving him; for example by asking his opinion on the products, without trying to “sell” something to him at each contact.

It is, therefore, necessary to be able to establish a relationship between brand and consumer that is truly friendly, of mutual knowledge and dialogue.

This personal and human dimension of the advertising message must also be declined in the most automated forms of contact: an example is human-chatbots, automatic chats that, thanks to machine learning, manage to seem more and more real and natural, and less and less than cold bots with preset responses.

Even More Attention To Brand Safety

Social networks are teeming with polarizing contents, which generate debates that are also very open among users ready to support the reasons for opposing sides on particularly relevant and sensitive issues. In 2021, advertisers will have to deal with brand safety in an increasingly structured way. The reputational damage of combining a brand or product with inappropriate or unreliable content can be very serious. This is why content moderation applications and services are spreading, which allow social media managers and CMOs to timely monitor, manage the volume and frequency of content (posts, tweets, but not only) generated by users. Brands will have to worry, in particular, about extending the internal content moderation capabilities to all digital properties, therefore to sales sites and social media that allow users to publish reviews and comments. In addition to this, the company must undertake to provide customers with the ability to report offensive, suspicious or inappropriate content. In agreement with the other colleagues in the sector, CMOs and social media managers will have to propose discussion tables with colleagues in the sector to standardize the classification of the contents based on which to evaluate the safety of the brand. In managing brand reputation internally and externally, CMOs should remind customers and employees of the promise and purpose of the brand and clarify the possible involvement of the company on social and environmental issues.

Brand Activism: On Sustainability, Racism, And Inclusion We Need To Take Action

Closely connected to Brand Safety is the theme of Brand Activism. The separation between brand values ​​and company values ​​no longer exists and these two areas are now closely intertwined, especially if the goal is to conquer the younger consumer segment – Millennials and Generation Z. This is why companies can no longer avoid exposing themselves and take an active role in supporting causes of social or political interest dear to the consumer. An involvement that goes far beyond taking sides for or against an ideal. 

Today, the consumer demands concrete actions from companies, in the form of ad hoc projects, financing of initiatives, and communication campaigns that convey clear messages of rejection and opposition to decisions considered unfair or unfair or, on the contrary, of prompt and urgency with respect to initiatives considered more equitable or sustainable.

Data from the Futurecast study “ Getting to Know Gen Z: How The Pivotal Generation is Different from Millennials” show that 60% of Generation Z consumers expect their favorite brands to take a clear stance on social issues of interest to them. Furthermore, they expect brands and companies to share these values ​​by putting their profits and reputation on the line to demonstrate that they truly embrace the ideals that underpin them. And the market rewards this commitment: the evidence of “ Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 ” confirms that 37% of Millennials would be willing to buy a product or service to support a cause they believe in, even paying more for it. Brand activism is not, however, risk-free.

Brands, and the CMO in particular, will have to be very careful in selecting the battles to be fought and very clear on how they intend to translate their commitment into concrete actions. Superficial and superficial brand activism can easily turn out to be a boomerang, like a choice that is inconsistent with the true corporate values. According to a recent SproutSocial survey ” Social Media Activism in 2020: New Insights for Brands “42% of consumers say they are ready to buy from the competition if a brand does not keep its promised social commitment and 29% is willing to undertake a real boycott of the company guilty of not having respected the promise of concreteness.

Space For Hybrid Experiences

Gartner estimates that 55% of marketers in 2020 abandoned face-to-face events and turned them into digital events, getting a great response from consumers. Furthermore, 61% of marketers have increased investments in digital interfaces to meet the needs of consumers, who require more engaging and engaging online events ever in the scenario of the new post-pandemic normalcy. 

In 2021, the hope for everyone is to be able to resume a normal life as much as possible, however many think that the habits acquired in recent months will not completely disappear with the end of the health emergency. The task of marketers will therefore be to redesign online experiences to adapt them to new hybrid scenarios. 

Customer engagement will largely depend on marketers’ ability to deliver rich and engaging content while infusing online events with a real-life ‘touch’. The opportunity opens up for marketers to deliver relevant brand experiences which include elements in real-time – live streaming, synchronous or virtual simultaneity experiences – in combination with elements in a real place – use of position detection and monitoring functions to ensure respect for social distancing. It is also Gartner who hypothesizes that by 2023, 60% of companies that moved towards virtual events last year will be able to offer these hybrid experiences to customers.

Marketing Automation Gains Acclaim In B2B

Lead scoring, optimized content management, end-to-end supervision of the Customer Journey are now key processes for marketers. 

The pandemic has pushed even the most reluctant to go online by creating scalable and cost-effective processes to improve the omnichannel Customer Experience. Marketing Automation is therefore a central element of strategies to enhance the competitiveness of the company relying on a more solid relationship with ì consumers and greater agility of marketing processes.

 The use of software or services to implement, manage and automate repetitive tasks and manual processes through the different touchpoints ensures greater effectiveness of action, to the benefit of engagement and retention, especially in B2B. The management of social posts, Email Marketing, ADV on social media, customer care through chatbots, and alerts on prospects are the activities that are best suited to be automated through ad hoc services and platforms. Mordor Intelligence experts highlight how the global market connected to this software and services is set to grow at a compound average rate of 19.2% over seven years, going from the 6.9 billion dollars recorded in 2020 to almost 20 billion in 2026. 

The ability to provide personal, relevant, and, above all, contextual information represents the main measure of the effectiveness of engagement and retention strategies and today marketers have an additional weapon at their disposal: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies, that allow acquiring valuable insights on the actions and behaviors of consumers to optimize the entire flow of omnichannel communication and engagement.

Social Media Increasingly Engaging And Aimed At Conversion

Social media will continue to hold a place of honor in the strategies of digital marketing in 2021 on a global scale: finally, he understood the importance of the quality and frequency of content, the need to do Sponsored campaigns to increase the coverage of the same, and the fact that choosing channels well and managing them correctly is a great way to raise awareness, far from a sterile showcase.

In 2021 it will be necessary to take the “leap”: to understand that social networks are no longer just an effective tool for brand awareness, but also a potential and powerful means to drive user engagement and conversion. There are more and more ways that the different platforms make available to bring the user to arrive in one click to insert a product in the cart or to land on the landing page of the current promotion. There are immersive techniques that are inserted within the organic contents fluidly, without interrupting the attention and without disturbing the use of the social itself.

Also Read : Digital Marketing Forecasts And Trends For 2021

SEO, CRO, And UX: From The Search Engine To The User At The Center

Search engines are also increasingly putting the user experience at the center, and this is proven by the upcoming movies and updates declared by Google itself.

For next year, the Page Experience Update was announced, an algorithm update that will aim to reward sites that aim for a better user experience and penalize those that do not take into account user usability.

Not only. It is also very important that search engines are increasingly analyzing human natural language to be able to grasp its nuances and intent, responding to the queries typed in the best possible way or making explicit through voice search.

Phygital, The New Dimension Between Physical And Digital

Undoubtedly, exploiting the increasing convergence between physical and digital will be fundamental in 2021 in which many activities will still be closed or at least limited in reality.

We are not just talking about transforming events into webinars or enhancing their e-shops, not being able to fully exploit the points of sale in the area: it is about creating something new, an experience that the user can live as if he were in presence. while living it digitally.

Therefore, all the possible applications of augmented reality are welcome, capable of simulating shop fitting rooms or letting us try the new haircut, all comfortably from the smartphone. The retail marketing strategies are going in this direction.

Even travel is already starting to exploit the potential of phygital, creating boxes that bring virtual tourists into places through virtual tours that are made up of physical elements, such as characteristic objects and scents, to make the experience truly immersive and realistic.

Employer Branding In The Era Of Smart Working

It is essential to understand how smart working and distance learning we have decentralized people’s lives, making everyone immersed in the solitude of daily calls that sometimes does not allow you to feel part of a group as it happened in the office or at school.

A great way to keep business teams together, as well as a powerful digital marketing tool that is still underused, is employer branding. 2021 could be the year in which company employees, unable to meet in person and missing their workplaces and colleagues, can truly become ambassadors of the company they work for. Raised to power, employer branding becomes employer engagement, with employees actively involved in promoting their work reality.

Also from a Covid-19 perspective, it will be essential for companies to be increasingly agile and transparent, truly close to the lives of their employees.

Positive messages and company news shared and spontaneously shared by employees are strong levers that show the effectiveness of the work of the C-levels, the atmosphere that reigns in the company, and the quality of products and services that the company itself creates: a ticket business card perfect for both potential customers and potential recruits and resources.

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