Many were pleased to see the conclusion of 2020 and see in the new year.
Without doubt things were different in 2020 and the predictions we looked at this time last year in our “Small Business Trends for 2020” article did not quite play out, some themes definitely did still play out. Perhaps things happened in different ways than anticipated and we will see them continue on into our 2021 marketing trends summary below.
General macro trends that we experienced in 2019 such as an ageing population, will undoubtably continue. Also to be added into the mix of the personal experiences from 2020, which will include things like: more people purchasing items online (vs on the high street); people commuting less and working from home; the impact of Brexit – yet undefined at time of writing; people choosing to buy locally and support small businesses; plus the mental health and financial challenges which are sure to follow the 2020 experiences. It is going to be an interesting year.
Taking the influences from the more macro trends, marketing will certainly feel the impact, with this in mind we start to consider what trends we may see for the coming year ahead:
With the growth of the digital market place over recent years, personalisation will continue to be a focus. As consumers buying habits change by moving more into the online space, there is an expectation that personalisation will continue to be a focus. Customers want to be taken on a buyer journey which feels personal to them and one that answers their questions, not that of the masses. With the development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) over recent years, it will mean that the technology will be moving soon to support this.
It will be key for consumers to feel special and valued. For larger organisations with the introduction of chatbot technology will help achieve and automate this. It is anticipated that the technology will evolve to use data, so that emails generated are personal to each consumer vs those on a large data list. Naturally, for small business owners the use and provision of this technology resource will come later.
2. Digitisation of Businesses:
2020 has been instrumental in a shift in the way that we work. With it now being widely acceptable for people to work from home and conduct meetings digitally, via such tools as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, this trend will result in a decline in demand for mass workspaces and a reduction in business travel. The impact will save businesses millions of pounds but at the same time impact those smaller businesses located nearer large offices eg: food outlets located in and around the City of London.
Many small businesses have had to move their proposition online this year. No longer a choice in many case, it has become necessity for survival. This article from Fundbox explores how this will work in a little more detail.
3. The Environment:
There has certainly been a positive impact on the environment this year. With reduced aircraft and car travel, reduced noise pollution and more of a focus on shopping locally, the impact has to be positive. Combined with a changing way of working, there is hope that the positive impacts we have experienced will continue into 2021 and beyond.
4. Growth of Digital Marketing:
As businesses have moved more into the digital space, demand for digital marketing tools has never been stronger. For sure there is likely not to be much change in the status quo for the digital giants Facebook, Microsoft and Google. That said with the increasing scrutiny by the US government, over the alleged monopoly and influence held by both Facebook and Google in the digital space, will prove interesting times ahead for the media giants.
We can expect to see other digital trends continue to increase. As more people spend time online it is likely that we will see an increase in social media advertising. In a recent article by Da Brain Marketing they cite that businesses should prepare to invest more in this media, with an increased focused on retaining existing customers. This is certainly an approach that small business owners can also take advantage of.
Certainly, over the last few years we have seen a rise in the use of video as a way to communicate brand messages. There are tools available to support businesses of all sizes, including small business owners. As with all marketing activity, it is key to continue to focus on the value of the content shared and ensure it compliments and supports your wider marketing activity and messaging. In some recent research shared by Word Stream from WyzOwl they are seeing that the profitability of videos increased to 88% during 2020. Definitely, an action to take away, is to consider how this can be included more in the marketing mix for 2021.
5. Improving Content Experiences
The foundation of all good marketing has always been around providing your ideal client with information, products or services that they want. This year the trend continues with even more focus on providing and improving content sharing experiences.
If anything the experiences that 2020 has taught us, is that community and kindness is essential. Combined with thinking about our small businesses in a different way, whatever 2021 has in store for us, it feels like the shift has already happened and we are now best placed more than ever before to respond proactively to our clients needs and wants. Please do comment and let us know what other 2021 marketing trends you are seeing coming forward in your business.
Don’t forget, if you have a marketing challenge and would like some support in resolving, please get in touch.