Now that we’ve finally arrived in 2021, there’s cautious optimism for the future. With a unanimously hard 2020 behind us, we look at how the pandemic will affect marketing in the new year, where the advancement of the vaccine is giving many people hope, but there’s still a lot of anxiety and unrest about what’s to come. As marketers, we know that public sentiment and current events greatly affect how we interact with prospects and customers. COVID-19 brought a lot of change to digital marketing in the last year, and it’s important to anticipate what will stay and what will go.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your digital marketing strategies for the next year.
In 2020, many companies adjusted much of their brand messaging to address COVID-19. And while messaging around the pandemic is still crucial, it may need a refresh in 2021.
With the start of vaccine distribution in the U.S, people are starting to feel more hopeful about the future. However, many are still struggling from the effects of COVID-19, physically, mentally or financially. Your marketing messaging should reflect this reality. Right now, it’d come across as out-of-touch to run an advertisement that suggested things are back to normal. On the other hand, a hopeful message is better than an all doom-and-gloom one.
Marketers should continue to be sensitive to the ever-changing moment, considering that everyone is in a different place at this time. Regardless of what kind of product, service, or cause you’re selling, stay up on the latest developments with COVID-19 so that your messaging makes sense for the moment.
A Continued Focus on Health
Regardless of when or if COVID-19 is fully eradicated, there’s no doubt that this pandemic has left its mark on us. We’re all much more aware of the things we touch, when we last used sanitizer, and how close we are to each other. For someone who’s required to wear a mask all day long, going without one will at first feel like going without pants.
This hyper-awareness is unlikely to go away overnight. A focus on health and safety still needs to be a large part of your brand experience in both the digital and physical realm. For example, if you’re running a display ad about your clothing store, including information about your in-store health protocols will still be relevant and can go a long way in making potential customers feel comfortable.
Digital Remains Critical
Throughout the last year, individuals and businesses have found ways to do nearly everything digitally. Post-COVID, the digital way of doing many things will likely stick around, due to habit or increased efficiency. Digital should remain your primary form of marketing, communication and generally doing business. While in-person events and transactions will probably continue to increase, they’ll be complementary to digital efforts for a long time. Our advice? Put more of your eggs into the digital basket. It’s more reliable at this time.
We’ll also see more and more “phytigal” experiences – a hybrid of physical and digital, such as an event with a smaller group of people broadcasted to a larger group. Limited-capacity gatherings will likely continue for some time, and it’s beneficial for customers to have both physical and digital opportunities.
Regardless, we think it’s safe to say that any digital advancements you’d made in the past year will still be relevant and useful in 2021. Your main concern should be keeping an eye out for digital trends to make sure you’re not falling behind.
Social Media Does More
An area of huge digital growth during COVID-19 has been social media, particularly as channels like Instagram and Facebook become their own marketplaces. On Instagram, users can now complete a purchase from start to finish within the application. This means you could view a product on an influencer page, click on the product tag, view that item in the brand’s Instagram shop, and use Facebook pay within the app to buy it.
These new opportunities will affect how many brands do their social media marketing, guiding customers directly to a purchase. For example, we’re seeing influencers play a larger role. In fact, 59 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2021. As one of the fastest-growing channels for marketing, social media is something to consider heavily in your 2021 strategies.
At PRIME, we do digital marketing – and we can help you put your best foot forward in 2021 with the guidance and tools you need to be competitive. If you want help navigating the changing marketing environment, reach out to us. We’re here to help.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
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- 5 Reasons Your Website is Never Really Done
- 10 Ways to Communicate Empathy and Authority Amidst Crisis
- 4 Reasons Your Messaging is Falling Flat
- The How-To on Facebook Marketing Campaigns