What Marketing Might Look Like in 2021

To say that we’re living in a time of great cultural upheaval would be putting it lightly. From the coronavirus pandemic to the civil unrest surrounding George Floyd’s death, the world feels as though it’s existed on a razor’s edge for months. Not surprisingly, this has had a considerable impact on multiple industries, marketing included.

The current outlook for digital marketing now looks very different from what we all expected last year. This is understandable, though. There’s no way we could have predicted any of what’s transpired this year. 

What we can do, however, is consider how it will influence the marketing space moving forward. First, as reported by Forbes, we’ve seen a shift in consumer attitudes towards fully-digital marketing and social good. Expect to see an upturn in curated experiences supported by artificial intelligence. 

Consumers will also put a great deal more thought and deliberation into their purchase decisions, offering both capital and loyalty exclusively to businesses they feel they can trust.

In many ways, this is simply a ramping up of a trend we’ve already seen in the marketing space for quite some time. COVID-19 has simply supercharged it. For years, we’ve seen growing evidence that social responsibility and authenticity are critical cornerstones of effective branding. In the wake of the pandemic, their importance is now indisputable. 

Campaigns focused around self-love and body positivity will become more important as well, as noted by marketing agency Marvil56. Consumers were already growing tired of constant societal pressure to look flawless, to think, feel, and act a particular way.  By the time 2021 rolls around, it seems likely that these expectations and pressures will be a thing of the past.

Instead, people will be encouraged to take pride in who they are, to love both themselves and their imperfections while still striving to improve. Again, this is a marketing trend that is helped along by current events. Positivity is in short supply these days, and people are desperately seeking it wherever they can. 

Last, but not least, we’re going to see a greater focus on accuracy where marketing metrics are concerned, coupled with an emphasis on greater flexibility and foresight. The pandemic caught everyone off guard. None of us were prepared for it.

How could we? 

It’s been a strange year, and if current events are any indication, it will only get stranger before it ends. At this point, it seems safe to say that even the predictions we’ve made today may not still hold true in a few months. All we can do is ride out the storm, and hope we’ve made the right preparations.