Top Marketing Trends to Focus on in 2021

All signs point to 2021 being the Year of the Customer.


Recent months have been challenging for so many reasons. Many consumers have less disposable income than they have in the past and those that have the extra funds to make purchases feel much less confident spending it. This means that companies who want to be successful this year will need to put their customer at the forefront of their business. And we truly mean doing it, not just saying it. Customers, current and potential, need to feel like their best interest is your focus and that translates across everything you do for a seamless, authentic experience.


We came across many trends that are going to pick up steam as a result of major disruption last year but found that they fit into six distinct buckets which we’ll discuss further below. That said, the common thread across each major trend is always the tie back to what consumers want and not only meeting them there but getting inside their heads, hearts and homes to truly be there with them and for them.


If this sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is. A new year and a new beginning give you the opportunity to take a step back, recalibrate and look at your goals from a high level. This is the foundation of your vision for this year, which will then become your action plan. So take a look at these trends, ask yourself what your business goals are and put together a plan that allows you to use these concepts and tools to get you where you want to go. And to ultimately rise above your competitors by leading the pack!




There was a lot of social justice activity in 2020 and many companies started to truly tell their customers what their brand stands for on these issues. As we move into a new year, customers will begin to expect every brand to dig deep and share their purpose. Don’t be afraid to take a real stance on the issues that matter most to you, your business and your customers because this is what drives genuine connections with your audience.


Then, be prepared to practice what you preach by backing up your words with actions. Customers want to see diversity and inclusion in your company and in your marketing. They want to know how you are lightening your impact on the planet and becoming more sustainable. They want to hear you advocate for social change and they want to know that you are making meaningful contributions, financial and otherwise, to the communities around you.


Customer Experience


This one has been on the radar for years, but now more than ever, a focus on giving customers what they want, how they want it, and in some circumstances, starting to TELL them what they want, will become the norm. Going above and beyond requires a completely customer-centric viewpoint that has to come from first hand data. With so many changes in privacy laws and the removal of third party cookies, first hand data that is collected directly from your customers and prospects will now become sales and marketing gold. And in order to get it, you need to give your visitors value in exchange for their information. They need a compeling reason to give it to you because they know it’s valuable.


Another component of customer experience that you’ll want to pay special attention to starting now, which will also boost your SEO efforts ahead of your competitors, is voice search. Optimize for voice search now and you’ll be a few steps ahead of a lot of your competitors. Not to mention your customers will appreciate that Alexa can find you!


Virtual Connections


Virtual events and Live streams on social platforms hit an all time high in popularity last year. As we enter the new year with similar restrictions in place, it is crucial that businesses adapt their strategies to begin hosting their events, launches and even day to day communications virtually.


In many cases, offering events virtually or on social media has eliminated a huge number of barriers for the participants, as well as driving down costs for the host companies. It’s a huge win-win that every business needs to consider within their strategy, though don’t fall into the trap of simply broadcasting. Your events and Live streams should be interactive and allow the viewers to participate. And it’s even better if you can use the various platforms to sell products right within the virtual or social media events!


Maximizing Social Media


Until recently, social media has very much been a place for consumers to discover more about you and establish credibility, but not anymore. Going into 2021, we expect to see more and more companies begin to sell their products directly from the social platforms, as well as using Chat features to interact directly with customers in real time, including the use of bots to automate basic functions.


The huge popularity of Live streams also turns social media into a place to share and connect in a very real way. By making social media a two way street, it automatically becomes a sales tool, rather than just something that needs to be done for the sake of being seen.


Speaking of social media as a means of creating meaningful connections, user generated content continues to lead the trend watch going into this year as well. Find ways to encourage customers and audiences to participate with your brand and create their own version of marketing. This really helps fill out your content plans as well!


Lastly, since social media is playing a much larger role in marketing strategies, it’s becoming clear that spreading yourself too thin doesn’t allow you to truly dive into the platforms you choose. For this reason, businesses are getting very choosy about the platforms they invest in and are opting to actively participate on fewer different platforms than ever before.


Email Makes A Comeback


Strong, steady and consistent is exactly what consumers need in uncertain times and it doesn’t get steadier than email marketing. Like clockwork, the brands who are nailing this send out consistent communication that provides their customers with value and what they need, when they need it. This is an amazing way to establish trust with your customer base, collect critical data and to personalize the customer experience. Since email is very easy to automate and tailor to the buying journey and unique customer types, it’s one of the most efficient tools for communication with your current and prospective customers.


Content is Still Key


Last but never least, is content. We don’t really see content as a trend anymore – it’s a necessity and a cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy. The real trend comes from how audiences want to consume content which is in convenient sound bites like podcasts and newsletters. Synthesizing and summarizing key information from your unique perspective is exactly what the consumer wants and these content forms make it very easy on the audience and the creator.


Content can also become more personal by digging deeper into your purpose and incorporating user generated content. As we’ve already demonstrated, this is what your audience wants!


As we timidly step into 2021, the most important thing to remember when crafting your plans for the year is our biggest lesson from 2020 – change is inevitable and it sometimes comes fast and furious. Have goals and plans, but keep them fluid and high level for as long as possible. Gone are the days of the marketing strategy that has everything booked and crafted a year in advance. The ability to be agile and adaptable will become your marketing superpower as we navigate through what is bound to be another year full of adjustment.


Your focus should be to grow alongside your customers as their habits and needs change, giving them an experience that helps solve their problems and makes their lives easier during a time when there are so other many challenges.


If your business needs help formulating a strategy to wow your customers and adapt to market changes, Digital Monk is here to help. We can steer you in the right direction, building strategy and supporting you through execution. We also have an experienced and professional team of experts who can bring the strategy to life and become an extension of your own team. Wherever you need to go, we’ve got your back! Call us today to get started.

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