Marketing Trends 2021 & Beyond
How To Adapt Your Communications & Content Strategy
It’s been a challenging year of pivoting and adapting to being in a constant state of instability from our daily routines, the way we communicate, travel, work and our priorities in life.
For marketers and business owners this means that we have to assess and adapt the existing strategies we have in place – and give them a timely overhaul. With change comes many opportunities and new factors to consider when planning how to communicate and engage with your audience.
From radically altered points of view to ground-breaking new technologies and tools, we take a look at some important factors to consider.
What are the biggest changes from the past 12 months?
Consumer priorities have shifted
From financial worries to health concerns, missing our loved ones and waiting for the return for some sort of normalcy, life has become a lot more serious in the past 12 months. Therefore, it is important to consider ‘what’ and ‘how’ to communicate with your audience and customers. Ask yourself, what areas of their life would have been affected most and what do they care about now?
The rise of the home office
With more people working from home than ever before, their daily routines and the way your customers consume content has changed drastically. Without the morning and evening commute to factor in, the times they spend scrolling through social media will be completely different.
From live-streaming to audio-content apps such as Clubhouse – and even virtual reality events – there are multiple new ways in which to communicate with or connect to your target audience. From ticketed online events to free workshops and informative discussions, it’s an exciting time to interact with your customers like never before.
What Will Stick?
Adversity encourages creativity and, since we were all forced to stay at home, a multitude of new technologies, as well as ways to work together and socialise in the virtual realm, have flourished.
While it is difficult to predict which ones of these will stick until we have reached some sort of stability, a report by Mediacom has identified a number of different categories into which to sort these new behaviours:
Behaviours brought about or accelerated by the pandemic – and here to stay.
Example: Work meetings and social gatherings on Zoom
Things that have ‘hibernated and we missed during Covid-19, but will be embraced again post-pandemic.
Example: Live events
Long-term changes to anticipate and future-proof for.
Example: International travel restrictions
Trends to consider
D2C: ‘Direct to Consumer’ e-commerce
According to Mediacom’s report, in April 2020 searches for online shopping shot up by 760% – is your website equipped to deal with increased online demand, and does it look as appealing as it can? What is the user experience like, and how easy is it to complete a purchase or make an enquiry?
What is interesting about the ‘coach shopping’ experience, is that 50% of shoppers bought something online they had never purchased before. According to Mediacom those age 55+ were the biggest group to move to online shopping, with nearly triple the amount compared to 2019.
One of the silver linings of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the increase in community spirit, with consumers wanting to support local businesses rather than big, anonymous companies. Valuable questions to ask yourself include:
- How can we do ‘our bit’ and support local, either physically or virtually
- How can we adapt our messaging to be more locally relevant
- How will new movement patterns in your local area affect your business?
Real life vs. Virtual Reality
A massive increase in streaming and gaming culture has, once and for all, established these virtual spaces as serious competitors to ‘real life’ events. From digital fitness classes to live-stream DJ sets and artists including movie directors and musicians stepping into the ‘metaverse’ of the gaming-sphere, it’s time to embrace VR – or risk missing out on a huge new market.
Mediacom reported there were 8.6m new gamers since the pandemic started. This has a huge consequence on how brands may want to use games and the virtual realities for brand placements and partnerships.
The Mediacom report highlights some key questions for novices to the virtual world:
- How can you build your brand visibility in the virtual world in a natural way?
- What is your brand’s value-add to the way your audience connects and consumes in the virtual space?
- Have you considered gaming in your media mix?
With the news cycle seemingly dominated by ‘doom and gloom’, and the restrictions and challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic getting us down, audiences are in need of escapism more than ever before. As a result, they are appreciating ‘little lifts’ – like a funny TikTok clip or uplifting virtual class – from the brands they engage with.
Providing this kind of ‘light relief’ content can also help you gain new exposure in the post-Covid world. Find out what your audience’s needs and emotional and physical ‘states’ are throughout the day/ week/ month, and when they most need or appreciate a ‘little lift’? Then think about what kind of content your business can create to achieve this, or if you could partner up with a ‘positivity partner’ to do so!
Source: Mediacom, ‘Seeing the Bigger Picture POV: A Vaccinated World – Part One’
There are some things that are certain to stay and brands need to start making note of how they integrate them into their marketing strategies and channels. In the meantime as we find stability, we need to make sure our marketing strategies can pivot easily, making businesses lean will be essential for being responsive during the coming year.