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5 Marketing Concepts That Defined 2021

Accelerated Digital Adoption

Consumers call the shots and trends change fast -- that much is clear. Customers expect both empathy and customization. And marketers are doing some soul searching.

Let’s dive right in. 2020 was a year.

They’re asking: What can we do to make customers’ lives easier? How can we give them the best experience and, as we like to say at Jive Media, keep them coming back?

They’ll have to float with the breeze, and it seems like that’s exactly what they’re doing. We’ve seen fresh logos, new services, fast-moving custom products. And satisfied customers.

When the customer wins, the business wins.

So bring it on, 2021. Here are some hard-hitting concepts that will transform marketing.

1. Reducing Friction

Nobody wants to go to a website for a good time and leave disappointed. Customers want a good product, but also a good experience.

Sounds hard, right? It doesn’t have to be. There's something called the peak-end rule. It means that people judge their experiences by the best part and the last part.

Take your favorite website, for example. Ask yourself two questions.

  1. What does the site have going for it?
  2. What’s subscribing and checkout like?

Your answers define your final impression. An overall smooth experience will make you want to tell your friends about the service.

If you end up with a great product after a bad experience, you might leave a bad review instead.

We’re seeing this more often: pared-down sites, customer input, and clear messaging. Getting rid of friction shows customers you see them. And you’re in it for the long haul.

Since the customer-centric market is sticking, we expect more brands to cut out the noise.

2. Prioritizing Care and Customization

Businesses have to care about their customers, not just ROI, to cut friction. The pandemic era showed us that.

We can do this with three things:

  • Empathy
  • Personalization
  • Long-term guidance

Empathy is a nice thing to do and a good marketing strategy. It builds brand awareness and loyalty so that everyone leaves happy.

McKinsey & Company says that 80% of people want personalization. That’s important for creative agencies!

Enter, Iterable. Brand Affinity™ promises to “bring the power of sentiment to your campaigns” with AI that helps you tailor the experience to the customer.

And they’re not the only ones. Other companies are rebranding to reflect what makes their customers happy.

If this trend tells us anything, it’s that we can expect care and customization to hang out for a long time.

3. Marketing with Integrity

Customers see through your data strategies. They notice when you’re using their data to scam or spam, to name the basics.

We need trust and security systems in place. Raise your hand if that sounds refreshing!

Companies should check up on their systems to make sure they’re trustworthy and easy to find -- let’s be able to get to all this stuff without losing it.

More businesses are doing this. They’re using their systems as forces for good, serving up value to customers.

What’s even better? Trust brings more value to the whole business.

They get organic traffic to connect with customers. Other strategies won’t work in a customer-centric market.

After years of data breaches (hey, you know the ones), businesses learned to be careful with their data. That makes everyone happy.

  1. The customer gets security and the business gets more insight.
  2. Their insight drives revenue.

Learning to be trustworthy pushes agencies to creativity and connection. We should see a lot more of this in the coming months.

4. Virtual Connection

2020 brought massive changes in society. Societal changes brought changes to marketing, especially online.

Change: a 2021 mantra, if you will.

Online business isn’t always easy but it does bring value.

Virtual events doubled last year. Because of that, companies were more worried about staying connected with clients. With apps like Slack and Zoom, people have been able to stay in touch.

Creatives even have the space they need to make amazing products. Some companies are considering going remote long term.

From what we can tell, consumers are on board with online. By July 2020 people were spending an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes a day across 8 social media platforms.

Imagine how much doomscrolling and tea-spilling has changed this. Especially in Gen Z and Millenials who use social media to find brands. Talk about #FOMO.

Agencies that already use social media are going to ramp up their strategies.

We think more will join the bandwagon this year.

5. Planning Your Pivot

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is permanent except change.

The ANA always chooses a marketing word of the year. And... ding ding! Pivot won 2020.

Now picture Ross Gellar moving that couch upstairs, yelling, “Pivot!” It’s like that, but planned.

When you’re moving a couch up a flight of stairs, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll have to turn eventually. Marketing isn’t much different.

Jeff Goins says that pivoting is part of the whole process in business. It’s not an option or a Plan B. With so many moving parts and directions, you have to be ready to pivot at any point, as long as you pivot with a plan.

2021 could be another rollercoaster, so agencies are planning their pivots and staying ready.

As marketers, we face the reality that we can’t be selfish and we’ve got to be ready to move.

Who’s going to buy if nobody thinks about what the customer actually wants?

What if nobody uses what they have to give the customer value?

What happens if you don’t have a pivot plan?

This is a year for positive changes in marketing, and customers are on base to be star players in the game.

Watch our predictions and let us know what you think. Where do you think marketing is going in 2021?

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