By Abhik Santara
The year 2020 has caught everyone off-guard and disrupted various aspects, including the healthcare of the country to impacting businesses adversely. From witnessing the nationwide lockdown to dealing with the effects of isolating ourselves at home and creating a new normal, there is a lot that happened.
The pandemic has served as a wake-up call for a lot of labels and taught everyone different ways to sustain while establishing a digital presence and embracing the virtual world. However, this also reflected the volatile nature of digital marketing and how it amplified businesses or impacted them sceptically. Bidding adios to 2020, it is only wise for us to study the market and glance through the strategies and trends which might work out to business’ advantage in 2021. Here are some of the trends which can take the lead in the coming year, making it merrier right from the start:
Slow death of paid media, rapid rise of paid social
Paid media will get trickier as consumers grow ever more distrustful of advertising and the media. With 30% or more people expected to deploy ad blockers, it will be much harder for marketers to generate ROI.
Paid social, however, may get more effective, as more and more of our worldview is shaped by what shows up in our social channels and streams. As long as we’re hyper-focused on matching our content to the audience’s interest, this could be the most seamless way to inject our brand into our target audience’s consciousness. At the same time, with so many channels available, and many companies have tried to stay relevant on all of them, the need to declutter is almost pervasive. Reducing social media channels to only the most relevant will not only be popular but necessary.
Customer segmentation – Precision marketing
The idea is simple – instead of a small number of large marketing campaigns targeting general audiences, it’s better to have a large number of small marketing campaigns targeting specific audiences. Most digital platforms offer excellent precision marketing tools which can segment our customers through multiple demographic, psychographic, behavioural and interest filters. They even offer creative optimisation tools built into DSPs, so as to reduce human interventions. (Currently available only on buying through bidding).
Blast from the past
Plenty of marketing trends from last year or the year before will still go strong and will continue to be game-changers throughout the next year as well. Things like the growth of regional content, AR experiences, use of micro-moments will continue.
There’s an urgency now, more than ever. Here are a few more:
Shoppable Posts: Social media posts that directly connect users to product checkout will tend to increase conversions by streamlining the payment process.
Micro-Influencers: This will continue to grow with the rise of paid social. If you attract enough of them, you can achieve the same numbers as top-level influencers at a fraction of the cost and effort.
Voice Search SEO: Voice searches have been upending traditional SEO tactics; people don’t use the same keywords when they talk as when they type (use of long-tail). Altering your SEO strategy to incorporate speech keywords will be the key.
Loud and clear – Inclusivity and sustainability
Greater numbers by the day, especially younger audiences and marginalised groups, want to see a more optimistic depiction of equality in the content they consume and the brands they purchase from. Brands must cover a variety of races, sexualities, religions, etc., as well as representation for people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities. This includes the content for your brand, the topics you discuss in social media and blogs and even the line of products you offer.
Similarly, consumers are strongly feeling that companies should improve the environment. There will be more popularity boost for sustainable and eco-friendly brands, especially for younger consumers. This goes well-beyond the market for green products—every brand can benefit by broadcasting their sustainable practices.
However, both these areas come with a bit of a rider. Tokenism will be easily seen through. So companies have to imbibe these in every aspect of their existence, belief and have to go the distance. Changing the name of a fairness cream will no longer be sexy, but a delivery channel using only e-bikes will be.
Back to the basics
With the availability of multiple media channels and methods to influence the audience, brands are becoming schizophrenic. Every brand wants to ride on popular memes, upcoming festivals or topical conversations, but without any measurable metrics on brand scores. (Paid engagement is just a score for agencies appraisal) That will change in 2021, hopefully. Brand managers and agencies will probably learn to delete this from their KPI for success and not poke a presence at every possible occasion. There will be no better time and the need to find that semblance of order and stay true to the core idea of the brand.
A clothing brand trying to gain eyeballs through ‘rasoda’ will surely be a big waste of marketing dollars.
The author is director at ^ a t o m
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