The 2021 Marketing Forecast

One year after the start of the pandemic

· Blog

Has 2020 changed our behaviour when it comes to marketing strategies? Without hesitation, the answer is yes. In fact, this past year was marked by home-based teleworking and innovative online presences by many companies.

Last year’s uncertainty created multiple marketing trends, all while other pre-existing trends were reinforced. One year after the beginning of the pandemic, here are a few key points to keep track of in 2021. 

Virtual events and live streams still on the rise

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If there is one thing that we took from this year of social distancing, it is that online events and experiences are possible and can be very enticing, despite being virtual. Starting off as a necessity, these events have now become engrained as a vital alternative.

Many companies dared to get out of their comfort zone and to drift away from traditional channels in 2020. More than ever, it will be crucial for businesses to diversify their marketing activities and to offer users engagement opportunities, even without direct contact. 

More accessible than in-person events, virtual experiences and live videos have allowed those who usually cannot attend in person to take part. 

Direct purchasing on social networks

This past year has also propelled online product sales to unprecedented heights. During the months where non-essential walk-in businesses were closed, the only option was digital.

According to a recent study conducted by the Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD), the number of businesses that migrated towards e-commerce went from 36% to 44% in the last year. This same study predicts that this percentage will increase to 64% before 2023. 

Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram already make online shopping easy. More and more, users can purchase items without having to leave the platform. With a few clicks, they can buy the product that they spotted in a static or sponsored post, directly on social media. Here is an interesting fact: there is a growing possibility that live videos will include links for viewers to click on if they want to purchase products while using platforms like YouTube. 

Furthermore, consumers expect brands to recommend content that is related to their previous purchases and to establish a dialogue with them, as if they were meeting in person. If you are going to consciously share your personal information and your preferences with social networks, you might as well take advantage of it and have a personalized shopping experience!

Influencer marketing still popular 

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First of all, we must remember that influencer marketing refers to the digital marketing strategy that allows a brand to promote its product or service by using influencers’ celebrity or notoriety. 

Even though this trend is not new, it continued to grow in popularity in the past year. Consumers generally go for products and services that are recommended by individuals that they relate to. And more than ever, in 2021, people feel the need to be connected to other people. 

In this regard, Instagram was already a very popular tool for brands as it was used for influencer and spokesperson research. Although this platform is still interesting for a large portion of users, in 2020 TikTok was the one that had the wind in its sails. This app, that focuses on short-form videos, attracted many brands that partnered up with micro-influencers who are in demand, notably with younger audiences.

This does not mean that all companies should have an online presence on every single social media network. Experts recommend being present on the most relevant platforms in order to avoid diluting messages and to reach the right targets.

Inclusivity and authenticity – two values at the heart of communications 

More than ever, consumers need content with a human touch. In 2020, inclusivity was a key part of marketing campaigns for many companies, with a lot of discussion around the Black Lives Matter movement, the environmental crisis and the issues experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. 

In 2021, inclusivity will continue to be a major theme. A study done by Accenture shows that the progress towards a greater level of inclusivity has an impact on consumer behaviour. 41% of buyers ditched brands that did not reflect their values, while 29% of consumers said they were ready to make a change if their current brand did not use a more inclusive approach. One-sided communication is over! 

One year after the beginning of the pandemic, the new realities of the marketing universe all point in the same direction: consumers need to have trust and to feel connected.

If you wish to be accompanied for your marketing, influencer marketing and social media projects, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re here to help you!