Weren't we just adorable back in January 2020 when we decided to write a blog predicting marketing trends for 2020 based on social and cultural influences?
Little did we know that the whole world would turn upside down about a month later, considering not a single one of us mentioned fashionable face masks or emo "we're all in this together" video creation.
But in the interest of consistency and a fingers-crossed attitude toward 2021, we decided to do it all again.
We asked our team: What marketing trends do you predict for 2021? Here are our answers.
Team Estipona Group Predicts: Marketing Trends for 2021
Edward Estipona, President/CEO
I think we'll increasingly see more and more marketers examining their own biases in their efforts. Representation from different races and genders in marketing campaigns is becoming so much more important in our culture and will certainly cross over into the marketing realm. I see this affecting campaigns, targeting and even who we use as models in our advertising messages.
Also, we have a new mindset thanks to COVID about how we present information and ourselves. We're all a little more relaxed and less polished (just think of how people look in most Zoom meetings - you rarely see people in suits). Marketing that is overly "salesy" and overly professional will not be well received.
And finally: I think we're going to see a shift specific to targeting. Geographic targeting is getting increasingly challenging, as we used to be able to target people in the tech industry, for example, by geotargeting Silicon Valley. But more people are moving as we increasingly work remotely. Targeting by income and profession will become more important.
Nicole Rose Dion, Account Director
More brands are figuring out how to use TikTok, making their own channels and video content, in addition to exploring working with existing creators.
I predict we'll see less hiring of influencers and micro-influencers to post sponsored content on Instagram and Facebook.
It’s increasingly important to keep your business information everywhere and easy to access across channels — web, social platforms, etc. This includes info like hours and closures, what are the daily specials, what are the COVID rules, and so on.
There will be so much more online shopping and delivery options.
I believe we'll see brands working together to run promotions, contests, ads, etc. to leverage their collective communities.
This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I hope another social platform emerges with a really good ad platform because I’m so over Facebook!
Mikalee Byerman, VP of Strategy
Likely due to our far reduced connection over the last year (thanks, #SuckyGlobalPandemic), I see marketers increasingly waking up to something that is shockingly simple yet carries a ton of power: We’re all human. (Told ya it was shocking!) So in terms of marketing trends, I see a a greater emphasis on authenticity and humor. I mean, let’s face it — we’re all seeking out ways to connect that don’t involve masks and 6 feet of distance, and most of us can use a little something extra to smile about. But we also don’t need to constantly see the sparkly, dewy, varnished perfection of so-called “influencers” while we’re propped up at home in beds working on our laptops still wearing yesterday’s yoga pants and trying to remember the last time we drove anywhere that didn’t involve the words “curbside pickup.” With more people working from wake-up to bedtime from home, we mere mortals (read: non-dewy non-influencers) are searching for something that reflects our real selves, truly makes us smile — or to click on something that others have shared that reportedly made them LOL IRL. All of this is to say: It was no surprise to me that over the holiday season, we saw epic marketing surprises like Mario Lopez as sexy Colonel Sanders, or Lume coming out with a Hallmark Channel-inspired parody about deodorant that literally made me LOL IRL.
Sarah Nguyen, Digital Media Specialist
I think we'll see a shift from Facebook ads to another platform. With the Apple iOS update changing data privacy, Facebook is getting stricter with what data is being shared. As marketers, we will be losing precious data points, which means Facebook/Instagram aren’t going to be a good indicator of how campaigns are running.
There’s also going to be a shift in how people interact with Stories. I think Stories will be the next most used tool. In my personal experience and talking to others, we are rarely going through our timeline but going through our Stories instead. Platforms like TikTok are going to emerge.
Jackie Shelton, VP of PR
While it has always been true that people choose to do business with people, not companies, that will be more true this year than ever. A pandemic that has forced many of us into social isolation combined with an extremely antagonistic political climate has exponentially increased the value of kindness and humanity. Whether or not they know it, many customers will be seeking out businesses (and people) that are nice to them. While you can demonstrate compassion through advertising, public relations and social media, the customer experience must fulfill that promise. Kindness should be the standard throughout the company, from the people who answer the phone to the team that does the fulfillment. So yes, I am suggesting using kindness as a marketing tool. The bonus is that the payoff will come in both a more humane society and more business.
Chelsey Brice, Account Executive
I think we’re going to continue to see micro-videos trending, think Tik-Tok and Reels with that the consumer attention span is going to get that much shorter.
We'll see continued conversion on Instagram.
Social media is going to continue to restrict audience targeting options, reducing pay-to-play opportunities, and putting a stronger emphasis on amazing organic content.
As more brands had to adapt quickly for eCommerce and more users than ever shopped online and ordered online, I think consumers are going to expect more out of websites and are going to turn to brands that make their user experience even easier.
Paige Galeoto, VP of Creative
I predict more experiential marketing that is less focused on selling than on creating a brand identity. Examples: See President Biden’s in-game campaign’s presence on "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" and Payson McEleveen’s co-branded Zwift celebrity virtual bike rides that feature audio from his podcasts.