Top 9 Customer Marketing Trends to Look Forward to in 2021
By Sakshi Arora
Dec 9, 20207 min read
2020 has left a mark on the world and we will continue to see the effects of the same for some time. But that should not stop progress and we must continue to focus our efforts on customer marketing—on reaching out to customers, that is.
A paradigm shift from ‘normal working conditions’ to ‘work from home’ led to a rapid rise in digital adoption. Consequently, 2021 is going to be a make-or-break year for brands across industries.
Consumers are already optimistic about 2021 as they have seen many brands respond productively to the ongoing situation, and they have shown increased brand loyalty too.
We can be certain that 2021 is going to be a year that changes the landscape of marketing and paves the way for new trends in customer marketing. So, what can the marketers rely on to take their brands ahead in 2021?
Here are 9 of the top customer marketing trends that are likely to break out in 2021 and will focus on authenticity and the holistic satisfaction of customers’ needs.
1. Agile Marketing
Life is unpredictable and 2020 was a perfect example of it. Therefore, as marketers, we need to be able to adapt to any kind of situation instantly. In 2021, we are going to see a rise in agile marketing as CMOs and their teams create versatile plans and secure their positions as market leaders.
In marketing, agility is all about constant optimization and adaptation based on the constantly changing consumer needs. It also includes regular innovation to scale up business operations as and when needed.
2. Finding Purpose
Just like us, customers are people and every person has their own set of values. But does your brand know its purpose of existence? If not, it is time to find out that 2021 will be ruled by companies that are driven by a purpose and will have the answer to ‘why they are doing the business’.
Even customers feel more comfortable aligning with brands that have shared values and act with a purpose. Needless to say, it also positions your brand for success.
With a purpose, you can respond quickly in uncertain times and convert tough decisions into easy choices. It simplifies brand’s investments, and makes it easy to engage customers and eventually meet the expectations of stakeholders.
3. Building Trust
Uncertainty has surely creeped into our lives in 2020 and we need to make sure that we get rid of it in 2021. So, a lot of customer marketing efforts are going to focus on winning and maintaining customers' trust.
As marketers, you will have to emphasize your messaging in a customer-centric way and make sure it reflects their needs. Customers should be able to trust your brand and you need to work on it in an authentic way.
Delivering what is promised every time and maintaining a transparent approach will definitely pay dividends with higher customer lifetime value (CLV).
4. Leveraging Nostalgia
Those were the good old days! Capitalizing on nostalgia is going to be a major trend come 2021. Nostalgia marketing is going to propel as people are likely to feel an emotional connection with the brand if they remind them of the times when they were free.
It is one of the most appealing and authentic marketing techniques that will encourage customers to spend money on a brand’s products or services if they feel an emotional connection with it.
5. Shopping with Smartphones
Smartphone users continue to grow with each passing year and with 50% of the world’s population online, we can be sure that customers are going to shop more from their mobile devices.
As many as 59% of smartphone users prefer businesses that have a mobile site or an app as it makes the buying process easier and quicker.
Combine the ease of ordering on phones with the increasing number of devices, and this trend is going to grow substantially in 2021. Even the industry experts believe that a company that allows customers to buy products through a mobile-responsive website or an app generates a better ROI from their marketing efforts.
6. Engaging and Incentivizing Customers
We are all aware of customer engagement through email marketing, social media platforms, and other routine marketing campaigns. But in 2021, you will have to step up your customer engagement game in order to beat the competition.
Customer engagement will happen at a more intimate and deeper level. While you must continue to focus your efforts on getting online reviews, making recommendations to customers and initiating conversations on social media, chances are that you might need to incentivize them to drive more sales.
According to a study by McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences depend on how brands treat their customers.
It costs 5X more to acquire a new customer anyway, so why not optimize your marketing spend and get more sales through brand advocacy? Keep an eye out for this trend as the early adopters of this model are likely to succeed.
7. Direct to Consumer (DTC) Selling
In the past, companies relied heavily on retail or wholesale distribution for packaged goods. But there has been a serious paradigm shift in this sector; thanks to the evolution of online shopping.
In order to manage costs further, companies are likely to turn to a DTC selling model. In 2021, convenience will take precedence over tradition and bypassing wholesalers and retailers will be a major part of it.
8. Disrupted Talent Management
The year 2020 showed how to get things done with thin budgets in a challenging market. In 2021, marketing teams will go through a major disruption and new talent management models will surface.
These models will differentiate themselves by being more flexible toward the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem. One of the changes we can expect is development of new core teams based on competitive advantages.
Additionally, AI will also play an important part in automating more mundane tasks and free the marketers to find innovative ways of marketing creative ideas.
9. Augmented Reality (AR)
What’s the hottest thing that allows customers to interact with the brand remotely? It’s Augmented Reality. Many major brands are already working in this direction and are finding new ways to offer a fully immersive shopping experience to customers from the comfort of their homes.
New-age capabilities of today’s application make AR implementation easier. With the right innovation and execution, there is no limit to what a brand can achieve with AR in 2021.
There is no end to imagination and as marketers, we must always be prepared for any change in the world. 2021 is going to be more about what consumers expect from brands and what organizations will do in order to meet their needs.
The customer marketing trends discussed above are going to affect the maturity of any organization in a major way. Agility, talent management, customer service, customer engagement, and technology integration are going to frame the path of digital transformation in the upcoming year.
Know of any customer marketing trends that you think will dominate in 2021? Share your thoughts in the comments below and share this blog post with your connections to get the conversation going.