I always saw myself as a PR pro. It’s how I got my start in the communications field and what I was groomed to know from my mentors. But during my time getting my Masters in Communications and working in the communications world for 10 plus years, I have now come to truly appreciate the power and impact of marketing. Marketing and PR – although under the same umbrella – serve different purposes in your arsenal of communication and engagement tactics. Marketing communications are strategic, calculated, focused on direct sales, and completely data-driven.
Here are 5 of the hottest marketing trends to drive engagement
1. CMSWire on Direct-to-Consumer Diversification
Focusing on direct-to-consumer (DTC) relationships is key if brands want to maintain relevance and thrive in 2021 and beyond. Take OREO, for example, which recently rolled out its OREOiD feature that lets fans design their own OREO cookies. This DTC diversification will not only create additional revenue streams, but also help these companies improve their ability to attract, convert, and retain customers through the collection and use of first-party data, which has historically been difficult to access via traditional retailers and e-commerce marketplaces.
2. Forbes on Insight Led Customer Engagement strategies
This is an example of a trend driven by new advances in technologies, such as AI, personalization, and unified customer data. Many Martech platforms offer campaign management or analytics, but they do not offer intelligent insights about your consumers for marketers to act on. Until recently, the marketer’s plan of engagement has been “plan, execute, analyze, course-correct.” Thanks to technological advancements, many marketers have flipped the order of operations to “analyze, plan, execute, measure, course-correct.”
3. Hubspot on Community marketing will replace event-based marketing
Adam Masur, VP of Marketing at Credly, told me: “The era of anchoring marketing around a big, industry event is coming to a close. We’ve all seen the annual conference go virtual due to the impact of COVID-19. But I expect hosts to find that their audience’s appetite for the singular virtual gathering will wane, as well. Companies should be ready to be active contributors and bring practical value to the conversation.”
4. Social Media Today on More goodwill and purpose-driven missions from brands
The 2021 Hootsuite Social Trends report notes that: “The smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media, and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.” At the core of this is the need for transparency. It’s impossible for consumers to connect with brands that they see as ‘shady’ or insincere. Why would they want to invest in something that they can’t trust or don’t believe in? This is why connection will be pivotal for brands that want to remain trusted sources in 2021. Now more than ever, brands are having to dig deep to find out how to flourish in turbulent times. A report from Deloitte states that, to do this, brands need to “be deeply attuned to why they exist and who they are built to serve”. We’re no strangers to seeing brands doing good things, but there will be an even bigger emphasis on this next year.
We’ll see more brands running campaigns like Hilton’s #HotelsForHeroes, where they gave away free rooms to medical workers.
Moreover, familiarize yourself with Google Lens, especially if you’re an e-commerce brand. Handle your SEO techniques right, and you can take traffic away from competitors when shoppers conduct picture searches for products or barcodes.
Keep checking the Bogues Group blog throughout the year to stay in the know and up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends.