Wait, There’s More! Our 2021 Marketing Predictions
After a year of unprecedented uncertainty…
As we enter the new normal…
Now more than ever…
You know what 2020 was. We’re not here to tell you otherwise.
Sure, we can predict brands will continue to increase digital adoption and marketing automation. They will look to be more customer-centric and more human.
But what does this mean? How does this translate into marketing strategy, content, and design? What does it look like for brands in heavily regulated industries like insurance or financial services?
What 2020 really taught us
To truly embrace customer-centricity, you must first get into the mind of your customer. One of the unique opportunities brought to us courteously by 2020, is that for the first time in generations — the whole world has been going through the same thing at the same time.
“Last year eroded individuality,” said Joe Thompson, Global Creative Director at outré creative. “We’ve lost the element of surprise in our daily routines. And now people are craving unique experiences.”
Google designated 2020 as the year we collectively “searched for why” in its annual Year in Search Trends report, further underscoring that consumers are looking for something deeper. Deeper connections and deeper meaning.
Redefining what a target audience looks like
In his aptly titled book, “The Search for Why,” Bob Raleigh, PhD and Founder of PathSight Predictive Science, says that reaching people in an authentic way means understanding what motivates them as human beings, which is not the same as knowing their demographics (age, sex, race, income, or location).
Instead, he says, it’s more impactful to target audiences based on a combination of their instincts, life experiences, and personality.
Brands will also need to contend with rising customer expectations.
“Consumers continue to expect more flexibility and more control in their interactions with brands,” outré creative Managing Director, Aidan McCann, said. “In heavily regulated industries, the challenge will be finding compliance-driven ways to deliver on that.”
Fueled with these insights and our collective experience, here are our 2021 marketing predictions.
1. Refocusing around micro-targeting will deliver a measurable impact
This is not the same as tweaking the messaging or the colors of a campaign because you’re trying to reach women instead of men.
It’s a combination of redefining your “main target audience” to include more nuanced groups, defined by instincts — and building bespoke brand experiences for them. It’s about personalization that goes beyond name and zip code, and instead allows for messaging that speaks to what motivates them as humans.
Finding that just-right sweet spot will be magic. Brands that make this type of investment with their marketing strategies will see greater return than those that continue forward with a generic-first approach.
2. Making room for creativity will improve overall brand perception
Data-driven marketing automation will continue — and that’s a good thing. More design templates equal more efficiency and accessibility. More data equals more room for optimization at the micro level. It makes it easier to define your ROI and keep the needle moving in the right direction.
But the first thing lost with this approach tends to be creativity. And perhaps some of that “genuine authenticity” brands are so desperately searching for. So while it’s certainly important to keep doing all of the above and more, it won’t deliver the impact 2021 is calling for. Ask yourself, what can you do that’s… different?
Perhaps you have room in your 2021 marketing calendar for a project where success is measured by creativity — or perhaps you regularly look out for opportunities to prioritize creativity in order to connect with audiences more deeply.
3. 2021 will belong to the brands that take risks
Taking risks looks different in different industries. Maybe that means keeping most of your budget allotted for digital — but saving some for an out-of-home or audiovisual experience.
No matter what, there’s always opportunity to surprise and delight if you look for it. It’s the brands that make a point to create those moments that will implant themselves more firmly in the hearts of consumers anxiously awaiting something new.
(If you’re looking for a creative partner, I hear outré creative has a crystal ball.)
Bob Raleigh is the founder and managing director of PathSight Predictive Science, a six-year-old enterprise focused upon understanding and influencing the human interface in today’s complex globally connected human network. Bob can be reached at: PathSight.com.