Enterprise transformation led by marketing is increasingly becoming foundational to any brand’s digital transformation story – wherein agile data-driven decision-making replaces bureaucracy and inefficacies pertaining to operations and consequent revenue generation. More of an imperative today than a choice, agile marketing units rely on digital-led and data-driven insights to solve customer problems in real-time.
While the new normal is undeniably daunting, it will also be a breeding ground for invention. Businesses moving forward will be differentiated on parameters ranging from responsiveness and adaptability to customer-centricity. Businesses of the future will not be mere service providers but instead, be experience makers who lead their customers into the era of frictionless experiences.
Quoting my inspiration, John. F. Kennedy – “Change is the law of life and those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Here are four marketing trends we aim to decode for a smooth 2021 and that will drive business success in the ‘new normal’ –
Purpose Driven marketing towards a digital industry
Some of the key priorities that dominated marketing in 2020 include – a very strong focus on immediate ROI of marketing efforts, getting into an iterative process of launch/test – repeat or retreat with all campaigns to understand where the maximum efficiencies lie.
In 2021, we will see an acceleration of the digital migration across all consumer classes – everything from shopping to services will move online even more aggressively. In this digitally enabled virtual world, it is easy for brands to get lost in the technology and focus on transactions– we have been witnessing a trend of forming strong human connections and deeper relationships. In an uncertain world, consumers will seek ‘trust’ as the paramount currency to influence their decision making and brands that are able to build that by showing and working towards a higher purpose and meeting promised expectations will reap rewards. So, purpose-driven marketing with a strong one-on-one connection will be the way to go for leading brands.
Social Commerce as the next big thing in the ‘digiverse’
With the rise of visual and ephemeral content, it has been interesting to see innovative trends and continuous expansion of social media channels in 2020 that have found their niche through the delivery of the new-age shopping experience. Experimenting with bot-driven, chat-enabled commerce, micro-influencer collaborations, higher frequency of user-generated content, and usage of AR to enhance frictionless shopping experience will continue to provide results, and increase marketing spends on the part of brands. The trend is not just limited to popular social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, but also to the emerging platforms like Telegram that are leading s-commerce trends. Telegram, for instance, facilitates better reach for brands through a performance-driven approach. Be it groceries, FMCG, fashion & lifestyle brands, among others, adopting a multi-channel marketing mix, and a diverse portfolio of media channels will grow exponentially in 2021 as well.
Using agile marketing to solve real-time customer issues
Agile marketing can help organizations achieve differentiation in terms of positioning and campaign and engagement execution. This essentially implies that brands can be more predictive with respect to emerging trends and have adaptable business and engagement models that can pivot and deliver impact in a constantly changing environment.
Account-Based Marketing Will Be Key
The traditional outbound marketing strategies including trade shows, cold calling, and advertising do help in reaching out to a large number of potential customers but marketers are increasingly realizing that these strategies manage to convert only a few leads into buyers. Customer expectation has evolved over time and greater personalization and customization of marketing strategies are essential to be able to convert the leads.
In a nutshell, rather than targeting all potential customers without paying heed to their individual requirements, marketers today need to know individual customers and tailor their outreach strategies according to their needs and expectations. This is what account-based marketing is all about – research and segregate your customers and market your product to only those who matter by creating a focused growth strategy.
Embracing digital transformation in 2021 will transform the business landscape in the post-pandemic era & will turn the tides in the favour of the B2B marketers. Overall, 2021 is going to be the year when businesses will need to invest in architecting a full-fledged omnichannel digital presence.
Authored by Taranjeet Singh, Managing Director, SEA and India, Criteo.