Predicting the Unpredictable: Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021

Remember your predictions for 2020? Us neither.

Anyone who tried to make a prediction for 2020 quickly learnt that a little something called COVID-19 pays no attention to your educated guesses. In fact, the whole rulebook was thrown out of the window as we entered the crisis of our lifetime. Rather than surging forward, for a lot of businesses the main priority became keeping the lights on. Never mind innovation when your focus is on staying afloat.

Nevertheless, even though we head into 2021 in a more uncertain way than ever, we still think it’s important to forecast and look forward to what the marketing world has cooking for 2021. Where are we heading? While we’re sure COVID-19 has left some lasting effects on the different marketing channels, we’re also sure the death of the cookie is gonna leave its mark too. Our team of experts got together and came up with a bunch of marketing predictions for 2021. Here’s what we think might happen (although in this unpredictable day and age, don’t hold us to it!):

Making an iron-clad strategy is almost as tough as making marketing predictions for 2021. Get in touch with us for some assistance here.

Social media shopping will be hot

“In addition to consumers using social media to discover new brands, it has also become a place to easily purchase products. For example, Instagram has recently manifested as a social media platform with a focus on eCommerce applications. In addition to the shopping tags, more and more brands are focusing on a dedicated product page within their social media channel. I expect this to grow more this year. So instead of losing visitors when they click on an ad, brands will keep them within the same environment.”

Mustafa Himdi, Growth Marketing Director UK

Insights will be more important than ever

“Here’s my absolute winner-winner-chicken-dinner prediction: brands will start investing more time and effort in doing customer research and brand insights. Buying behaviour is agnostic, as brand decisions fluctuate on mood, occasion and availability, but this should not stop brands figuring out what drives (in the long and short term) consumers to purchase a certain brand product or turns them off. This will help brands figure out the secret sauce to future opportunities.”

Eric Vissers, Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager

Brand marketing goes back to basics

“2021 will take us back to basics also when it comes to brand marketing: Customer centricity will regain the importance it deserves. Customers will be put front and center whether it’s creating a new brand or with existing brands and their communication.

Understanding consumers during a time where they are facing many challenges and helping them solve a true problem will be more crucial than ever. This can only work with the right insights, constant observation and two-way communication.”

Jennifer Tietze, Senior Brand Manager

Amazon grows in the Netherlands

“Let’s see what happens in the Netherlands with Amazon. They weren’t actually active here until now, so we are curious to see if they can really compete with the Amazon of Netherlands, Bol.com. A battle awaits!”

Marieke Houtsma, Account Director NL

Expect some turbulence with IDFA and the end of the cookie

“The million (billion?) dollar question for this year is the impact that Apple’s deprecation of IDFA with the rollout of its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt will have on marketers’ ability to measure and attribute their campaigns. While measurement partners are scrambling to develop workarounds and CMOs are evaluating other, potentially more measurable channels, there’s no clear picture of what the marketing landscape will look like at this time next year. 

Apple’s moves, coupled with Google effectively ending the reign of the third party cookie, means these are turbulent times for marketers, but this offers a chance to find ways to work that are ultimately better for end consumers.”

Joshua Fulfs, Director of Digital Activation USA

Digital prices are likely to go up

I believe most winners of the locked down world will remain winners. Some of them will certainly lose their current momentum (for instance, fashion may go back to the high street), but categories such as food, groceries or drug stores have enjoyed a ‘forced’ trial that a major share of consumers won’t stop using even when doors can open again. This puts additional big spenders into an already crowded digital ad space. Hence, the big ad giants (Facebook and Google) may end up seeing more spenders than audience with rising prices for all advertisers as a consequence.”

Christian Schulz, Director Of Client Operations

India’s ecommerce market is now the main player & will continue to grow

“India’s internet user base grew exponentially to 700M in the past 5 years, but transactions were growing very slowly. Start ups had to give heavy discounts to attract customers. But 2020 changed everything. Forced to be indoors in a lockdown, the fence sitters had to finally take that leap and buy necessities online. This has led to a shift in the market and we now have the perfect storm: a large user base, higher spends per consumer and the all-important willingness to experiment. And in 2021, E-commerce will continue to be the preferred retail channel.

Even in a post pandemic world, traditional retail will continue to be impacted by some level of shopper anxiety. In order to lure the customers back in, the brick & mortar stores will have to come up with innovative, experiential ideas. Industries like foodtech and other relying on in-person deliveries will have to continue to stress on the hygiene and safety factor.”
Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head India

Those are our marketing predictions for 2021! Get in touch with us if you want to experience some of our marketing savvy first hand here.

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