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2021 Preview from Top Marketing Experts

Think back to January 2020. What were your plans for your company’s marketing strategy?

In-person events like conferences, job fairs, or trade shows? Local SEO driving shoppers to your brick and mortar?

At the start of the year, all of these ideas made sense, but the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered life. COVID-19 also changed many aspects of marketing, from our tone to the actual tactics deployed.

As the year progressed and life switched to a “new normal,” predicting what will happen next in the digital marketing landscape got more challenging – but not impossible! Marketing is always evolving, and creative minds in the industry have found ways to adapt their strategies to a different environment.

But you still may be curious what you should focus on in your marketing endeavors for 2021. To help you, we polled a group of marketing experts to take a look at wins from last year and what trends will be significant this year. Take a look below!

2020 Marketing Wins

Last year saw a mix of tried and true tactics like, chatbots and content marketing, and some new players, such as state-of-the-art virtual events. A better understanding of audiences and website design, particularly ADA compliance, was a common theme. Here’s a list of some other additional wins our marketing pros outlined:

  • Account-based marketing (ABM), or focusing on personalizing experiences for target accounts rather than individual users
  • More humanized, consumer-focused social media
  • SMS marketing, especially for important alerts and announcements
  • Video and interactive content, in an effort to replace in-person connections
  • Omnichannel support, including customer service AI tools, chatbots, toll-free SMS, increases in knowledge-based articles, and empathic responses
  • Insights-driven marketing or data-driven marketing
  • Increases in the type of marketing tools in a company’s growth stack, such as event platforms, marketing automation, CRMs, and SMS platforms
  • Honesty and transparency in brand messaging regarding COVID, social justice, reform, and other significant themes from 2020

“We all know we should have target personas and a mapped-out buyer’s journey. But what we do with this information can be overwhelming. ABM tools like Demandbase allow marketers to cater content to each stage in the journey directly to target accounts. This is next level demand generation and will continue to explode in 2021.”

– Becky Montchal, Founder and CEO of Green Hearted

The Top 2021 Marketing Trends

Some marketing tactics, like email marketing, social media, blogging, and SEO, will never go out of style. You’ll continuously need to use them to power your inbound marketing strategies to see success. But others, print ads or door-to-door pitches, are becoming more ineffective.

Being out-of-date with your marketing efforts can spell trouble for you and your company. You could sink your budget into methods that don’t make sense for 2021 and risk destroying any chance of truly connecting with your leads or customers. You can also derail your ROI.

But there’s no need to think about the worst-case scenario. And we won’t! Check out a list of trends our experts suspect will be popular this year:

  • A further rise in ABM
  • Brands becoming more customer-centric (whether they’re B2B or B2C)
  • More branded content and brand activism
  • User-generated content
  • “Nostalgia” marketing
  • An increase in live, virtual events across different platforms
  • A focus on a smoother eCommerce experience
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality throughout digital engagement
  • Voice search
  • Localized SEO to drive users to shop online
  • Customer reviews
  • Increased AI so teams can also connect more personally
  • Increased competition, costs, and effectiveness of LinkedIn ads
  • More retargeting through paid ads
  • The continued blending of work and home

“In 2020 we encountered a shift to home life that was unseen previously – that trend will expand and become even more apparent. We’ll see apps like Clubhouse blending consumer and business interests, and B2B brands like advertising in the Super Bowl, and companies like HubSpot expanding their Academy.”

– Becky Montchal, Founder and CEO of Green Hearted

“We are still in “virtual” mode, but trying to maintain human connection. At Lynton, we’ve seen that clients are still relying on webinars, as well as a play with LinkedIn live and recorded webcasts. The difference is companies are bringing in more industry thought leaders to host these webcasts this year.”

-Jenny Traster, Strategic Director, Lynton

2021 Marketing Tool

Every marketer likes to think that they can do it all on their own, but where would any of us be without tools like HubSpot? The digital marketing world is full of different platforms and technology to help drive efforts. Some stand out among the rest, though, including:

  • SEO tools, such as Moz, Ahrefs
  • Google Analytics
  • Grammarly
  • Canva
  • Marketing automation and reporting tools like HubSpot  
  • Other email marketing tools, like MailChimp
  • Social media tools, like SproutSocial & HootSuite
  • Crazy Egg and HotJar
  • Databox
  • CRM & CRM Integrations

What Do You Think?

We can all agree on one thing: The goal of marketing – getting the right message to the right people at the right time – will always endure. However, how we do that evolves as the years progress and technology changes. In 2021, many marketing teams plan on reaching their target audiences with predicted new trends, like enhanced ABM and remote events, and proven tactics such as email and blogging.

What do you plan on implementing this year? Do you have a trend prediction you need help implementing or would like to discuss? We can help. Reach out to Lynton today!