Marketing Trends for 2021

After the year we’ve all had, it feels daunting to try and predict the future. Fortunately, there are already some trends underway that will colour how we approach marketing in the coming months. This allows us to make some solid predictions on Marketing Trends for 2021.

2020 – The Year that Was

2020 saw rapid progress in the marketing world. While overall ad spend decreased in the last 12 months, most channels are rebounding already. Some, like Podcasts and Facebook, even saw their figures grow. More than ever before, businesses embraced online meeting customers where they were comfortable conducting business.

As we look forward to a slow return to normality during the next few months, here are our predictions on Marketing Trends for 2021 that every business should account for.

Adjusting to Changing Consumer Behaviour

A long-lasting impact of COVID-19 is the significant shift in consumer behaviour. Successful brands have noticed customers are more tuned in to value and messaging than ever before. Our provincial economy will likely spend most of 2021 in a slow rebound, and consumer spending will remain tight. Marketing that focuses on the value proposition of a product will resonate well in these times.

Brands Using their Voice for Good

2020 was a year of social upheaval. The pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests saw brands adjusting to incorporate an increase in advocacy with their messaging. Research has consistently shown younger consumers (Millennials and Gen Z) want to do business with brands that align with their own values.

While marketing has traditionally steered clear of taking a side, 2021 will see marketers compelled and inspired to push their organizations to take meaningful positions on social issues. As long as businesses pick causes that align with the views of their audience, taking a stand isn’t just the right move, it’s also good for business. At Small Business BC, we’re committing to taking part in the 50 – 30 Challenge, a framework for accelerating diversity within the workplace.

A Future Without Cookies

Switching gears to the digital marketing world and a seismic shift is coming down the tracks. Google’s wildly popular browser Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies by early 2022. This will significantly alter how digital ads are targeted and tracked. Without this data to lean on, marketers will have to utilize their own first-party customer data to market to their audience. Ask yourself this: How will your business effectively place and measure digital ad spend without access to cookies? Now is the time to prepare.

SEO Comes to Instagram

In the last few weeks, Instagram has rolled out one of its largest ever updates. A key aspect of the update was making Instagram search way more user friendly. No longer do businesses have to rely on hashtag sets to get noticed. Instead, if users search for a keyword in the search bar, relevant videos, profiles and posts will populate for them. Get on top of this update by making your Instagram business profile more search friendly. Consider placing your most relevant keyword within your display name, and pepper other search-friendly terms within your posts.

Shopping Through Facebook/Instagram

The other side of Instagram’s huge update was a move to integrate in-app purchasing seamlessly within profiles. Businesses can now tag individual products and have them show up for followers under the new dedicated shopping bag icon in the main menu bar. This change dramatically reduced the steps traditionally required to convert a follower into a customer, opening up a world of potential for savvy businesses. This year, invest the time in making your Instagram/Facebook business profiles as up to date as possible and tap into this growing trend.

Influencer Marketing Keeps on Growing

Driven by the explosive growth of platforms like TikTok, social media usage dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, brands have noticed the increasing power of influencers to help promote their products. Influencer marketing is especially impactful on younger demographics, who have grown up with the ability to tune out a lot of conventional advertising. Look for this trend to continue to flourish in 2021, with brands leaning on influencers more and more to promote their products. If you’re interested in getting into influencer marketing, it’s vital to ensure the influencer aligns with your brand and can speak effectively to your target consumer.

Find Out More

As we consign 2020 to the history books, what lessons can we learn from a year filled with change and upheaval? Which of our COVID-19 pivots are likely to stick around? Join us on January 29th for a fascinating panel discussion on Small Business Trends for 2021 that gathers speakers from a wide variety of perspectives. Look forward to the coming year informed and optimistic about your future prospects!

Here to Help

No matter what stage of your business journey you’re at, Small Business BC has the resources you need to succeed in 2021. Check out our range of business webinars, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our selection of business articles.