As a new year begins, there is always an interest in what marketing trends and predictions are on the horizon. Anticipating the future after the year we’ve had is particularly daunting.

However, we have seen some new trends start to spring up as a result of 2020 events. In this article, we will present our predictions of 2021 digital marketing trends that marketing managers should keep their eye on.

Increased Automation

Though the marketing automation industry has been around for decades, technology is continuously growing in sophistication with developers releasing new digital capabilities on a regular basis.

As a business grows, the customer journey can become very complex with dozens of touchpoints across multiple devices. This makes it extremely difficult to manually predict outcomes and accurately calculate ROI.

Having sophisticated attribution models in place is the only way to market effectively and strategically in 2021. That’s where marketing automation can help. We are going to see this technology further evolve over the coming year, allowing marketers to track performance and convert leads more effectively.

The omnichannel experience relies on content to create conversation, and marketing automation makes creating and distributing this content possible at scale.If you’re relying on manual processes, you cannot scale your operations. So, if you want to be able to compete in today’s dynamic marketing environment, you have to automate.

Conversational Marketing

We are about to see an important technology trend grow in strength in 2021 in the form of RCS (rich communication services) messaging. Leading brands are already deploying the technology to engage with customers in more meaningful and innovative ways.

There is a huge competitive advantage to be gained by being an early adopter of this revolutionary mode of conversational communication. Brands can leverage the rich-media nature of RCS compared to SMS protocols, and benefit from the increased revenue attainable from RCS business messaging.

The technology is transforming customer communication through faster response times, interactive experiences and incomparable open rates.

These benefits enable businesses to accurately meet customer needs – the core of what business is about.

Read more about RCS messaging here.

Personalisation at Scale

While personalisation is nothing new to the marketing industry, the demise of third-party cookies and the challenges presented by COVID-19, have made it imperative for marketers to find a new approach.

It is key for brands to be able to adapt their marketing to the changing buying behaviour of customers. The only way to do this lies in the marketer’s ability to unlock the data at their disposal and leverage it to deliver hyper-relevant messaging.

We’re now seeing marketers using more first-party data and contextual advertising to create personalised messaging for customers. As we know, the right messaging at the right time is a marketing fundamental and is key to engaging customers. The more insights we have into our customers, the greater our targeting abilities which overall drives smarter marketing and a better user experience.

Social Commerce

The massive surge in digital adoption last year combined with the growth in features offered by social media platforms will see social commerce really take off this year. Businesses are starting to leverage the infrastructure now offered – everything from in-app purchasing to shopping features, after sales support and customer management are all supported within the social channel.

This not only accelerates the path to purchase, but translates into more purchases happening across the social landscape. Whilst users do not engage with or pay as much attention to brand content, what has caught consumers’ imaginations is the ability to browse and buy products within different digital environments.

And since more people are shopping online today than ever before, businesses that incorporate social commerce into the customer journey will ensure they deliver a seamless e-commerce experience for their users.

“Social commerce sells products directly through social media networks.It differs from social media marketing as you’re not redirecting users to an online store, but offering them the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re using at that moment.”

Big Commerce

To learn more about how we can support your 2021 marketing strategy, drop us a line. We’d love to help you!

For more reading, check out our blog post on marketing during COVID-19.