Top five marketing trends of 2021
With 2020 now well and truly over (let us all rejoice), our focus has turned immediately to 2021 and trying to determine what this year has in store for us. If you believe the post-apocalyptic memes that are circulating, you’ll be thinking that it can’t be anything good. So what are the top five marketing trends of 2021?
2020 was the year everything changed. Between the Australian bushfire crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, being thrust into working from home and homeschooling, all while a presidential election unfolded amongst a backdrop of civil unrest in America, every well-laid plan was thrown out the door and agility became a marketer’s best friend. Being open to change, being transparent communicators and embracing opportunities within the chaos were established as the key skills that set the trailblazers apart from the rest. And as a marketer’s day-to-day job changed, so too did our brands. Navigating the year that was unlike any other, made brands focus on authenticity, humility and compassion in their messaging.
Will consumers embrace the change that 2020 had forced upon them to create a new normal? And with all this change, what should marketer’s focus on in their strategic planning?
Well, we don’t have a crystal ball (otherwise we wouldn’t be writing this), but we have rounded up the top five trends to watch in 2021 so you can start to plan for another ‘unprecedented’ year.
1. The top five marketing trends of 2021 - Cause marketing
With so many people suffering in 2020, it’s no surprise that cause marketing appeared prominently throughout the year and this trend is here to stay. For those not sure what cause marketing is, it’s when a for-profit business seeks to improve society and increase profits at the same time, by including activist messages in their advertising.
 Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_marketing
With social media becoming more and more divisive and political commentary heating up on the role of big tech companies in regulating hate speech, brands who use their platforms to align with social causes will see consumers rally behind them. People feel that today’s brands have a responsibility to improve the world in which we live and it is not acceptable to simply play in one’s lane. They want to see brands working to create change on issues like climate change, racism and social injustice, regardless of whether or not this is something they typically do as part of their business. And with so much transparency online, brands who play in this space must integrate social activism into their core and ensure that all marketing messages are backed up by tangible initiatives and outcomes.
2. The top five marketing trends of 2021 - Cross channel Influencer marketing
According to Creator IQ, the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 billion in 2021. But the influence of influencers isn’t contained to just the social media platforms in which they have followings. Incorporating influencer marketing into all of your marketing channels can increase engagement and conversion rate. Including influencer images as part of your eCommerce product description page can show users how the product can be used in a real-life and aspirational way that is tricky (and expensive) to authentically achieve through traditional eCommerce photography. Influencer marketing also allows you to organically test a particular image’s performance before you put paid media dollars behind it, ensuring higher engagement rates and recall with your target audience.
Shani Grimmond in Princess Polly - https://www.princesspolly.com.au/collections/mini-dresses/products/penny-mini-dress-purple]
3. The top five marketing trends of 2021 - First-Party Data
With Apple’s IOS14 changes being enforced in early 2021 and Google’s plan to remove all third-party cookies by 2023, data privacy has become the hot topic being bantered around all boardroom tables. As consumers, we want our right to privacy to be protected but also for advertisements delivered to us to be personalised and valuable. For some marketers, they rely on third-party platforms to collate their user data and then leverage this in their marketing campaigns, instead of collecting their own valuable first-party data about their customers. With the changes afoot to cookies, this luxury is no longer possible. Marketers without strong first-party data will need to implement strategies to entice their customers to hand over more of their data in exchange for valuable information or offers. Remembering always that consumers value their data, just like you do, you need to provide a strong value exchange when asking for them to pony up.
4. The top five marketing trends of 2021 - eCommerce will continue to accelerate
eCommerce grew 28% worldwide in 2020, accounting for 18% of all retail sales, according to eMarketer. And despite the COVID-19 vaccine rollout commencing, growth is still expected to continue into 2021. For some people, they entered the eCommerce market for the first time in 2020, buying necessities and luxuries they would have otherwise purchased in store. For others,
 Influencer Marketing Hub & Upfluence, Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2021. https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer_marketing_benchmark_report_2021.pdf
 Source: eMarketer, Dec 2020. https://www.emarketer.com/content/worldwide-eCommerce-will-approach-5-trillion-this-year?ecid=NL1001
eCommerce has been a part of their lives for years but only for specific uses. For example, they may have been buying shoes online for over four years, but never have bought groceries online until 2020. These new behaviours take time to become habits, so expect that some customers will go back to store, but for those that loved the experience, expect them to stay. So how do you capitalise on the eCommerce growth that is happening in 2021? Audit your eCommerce customer journey. Find your website online as a customer would. Was it easy? Or did it take some looking? Use a mobile device to complete a purchase. Did the page load quickly? Was the checkout easy? Read your confirmation email. Did it give you all the information you needed? Did it make you feel loyal to the brand? Did it make you excited to receive your purchase? What’s the post-purchase follow-up? Are you invited to tell everyone about your great experience? At any step along this journey, even the smallest issue can deter a purchase. Think like a customer and be unapologetic about creating a seamless customer journey.
A selection of Media Merchants eCommerce website builds include:
5. The top five marketing trends of 2021 - Social commerce
Social commerce has been a trend to watch for years but expect 2021 to be the year it gains real traction. Facebook’s introduction of Shops allows businesses of all sizes to run an eCommerce store entirely through the app, taking users all the way from product discovery to purchase without ever leaving Facebook. And while this is not necessarily a new functionality, rather a rebranded version of the previous Facebook Shop, the key distinguishing factor is Facebook’s evolved commitment to in-app payments.
You may recall in 2019 when Facebook announced it was developing its own cryptocurrency Libra. The announcement was met with much scepticism from the business community and consumers alike, and after intense regulatory pressure, Facebook pivoted to focus on developing a broader digital wallet that would include multiple forms of currency including government-backed currencies and cryptocurrencies.
As for the next evolution of in-app payments, Facebook has recently signed deals with Shopify Pay and Zip to facilitate one-click checkouts, all within the app. According to Shopify, checkout on Shop Pay within its platform is 70% faster than a typical checkout, and conversion rates are 1.72 times higher. If this can translate into greater conversion rates within the Facebook app, social commerce in the Western world could accelerate quickly, following in the footsteps of China, where an estimated $242 billion in sales took place in 2020 through social commerce.
 Source: Shopify. https://www.shopify.com.au/blog/shop-pay-checkout
 Source: eMarketer: https://www.emarketer.com/content/china-social-commerce-makes-up-11-6-of-retail-eCommerce-sales