3 Marketing Trends for 2021 – Keeping Connected During COVID-19

Syndicated from source by Video Production Shop.

Happy 2021 everyone!  

It’s a new year; and with each new year comes new marketing trends. This year’s trends–and this won’t come as a surprise to anyone–have been heavily influenced by the toll that COVID-19 took on our economy, and our psyches, in 2020. For all of the anguish wrought, a sense of connectedness was highlighted like never before. Authenticity and intimacy became the name of the game–increasingly important aspects of marketing, these were supercharged by our sudden inability to simply be together. And what better way to honor these values than…you guessed it…video. 

Video is more important than ever. Why? Because it is what people are engaging with online. According to Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting at Zenith, the consumption of online video is growing rapidly, and the average person will spend half as much time viewing online video as they spend viewing conventional television each year. This means that you need to not only be producing video materials for your marketing, but producing them frequently. Doing so doesn’t mean that you need to pay out to a third-party vendor like us for every potential piece of conduct that you want to release. There are quite a few valuable video resources that you can create on your own, with a small investment in focus and time. In fact, as a response to the pandemic, I teamed up with Matt Smolen from Balloon Tree Productions in Melbourne, to delineate low and no cost video solutions that businesses can implement now. Like, right now. Stop reading this and go make video content!

Wait! Wait. Maybe not right away, because there are some other trends that will inform your approach. For instance:

Interactivity/Engagement

A huge trend for 2021 is engagement. The approach a brand uses to engage their core audience has always been important, but is even more so now than ever. Brands need to understand that they are trying to communicate with actual human beings that have real emotions that are shaped by individual experiences. In 2020, when the pandemic first hit, marketers quickly transformed in-person events into virtual ones, and there wasn’t a whole lot of engagement at first. People started to become separated from each other and weren’t quite used to their entire lives becoming virtual. In 2021, people are realizing that being “virtual” is a necessity, and are participating in virtual conversations more and more. Laliv Hadar, VP Marketing at InVision Communications, says that the 2020 “Panic Pivot” will turn into more purposeful reinvention when it comes to engaging with audiences. People don’t want to sit on the sidelines. They want to be part of meaningful conversations and brands should find ways to incorporate this.

Social Responsibility

If there is anything 2020 taught us as a species, it is that our world is still plagued with issues. COVID is the most significant of these at the moment, and it feeds into many others that were already present: mental health, racial inequalities, rampant capitalism. Marketers need to be thinking on a much larger scale. They need to be considering how the messages that they craft contribute to the global dialogue, how they affect the global situation. It’s not only important to actively consider these topics when creating your marketing strategy, but also to find productive ways to implement them into your overall messaging. In 2020, many brands did great work of addressing current social issues in their messaging; but just as many fell flat. And there were others that simply fell silent, waiting from afar to see how other brands would handle the situation. This didn’t escape the public’s notice. Brands were supported or “canceled” based on whether or not they were addressing the topics that the public cared about.

In 2021, brands need to be clear on what their values are, and make these values clear to their audience. They also need to creatively find ways to address the issues of today in compelling ways–ways that connect with their audience. One of the world’s leading trend firms, TrendWatching, went as far as to assert that “Those who do not embrace the ‘new’ in everything can sashay away in 2021, as new norms — in gender, media, education and more — will dictate how brands communicate with their audiences, and what those audiences expect from brands.”

Personalization

More than ever, audiences want to have authentic brand experiences. They don’t want to be marketed to, but want to be addressed specifically, which is why personalization will be one of this year’s biggest trends. According to Epsilon, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer personalized experiences. 80 percent! That is a number worth taking note of. 

There are two primary ways that personalization can lead to more successful video content. One, is to niche the content itself. This technique is beneficial when undertaking any marketing campaign, but is often left to the wayside. For instance, our company offers video production services to a wide range of industries, yet, rather than send out vague messaging that is applicable only on the most generic level, we tailor our marketing messages to fit the industry that we are speaking to at that very moment. This typically means versioning a certain piece of marketing collateral. As an example, we have sent out video brochures to hundreds of companies in the past few years, crafting each batch to reflect the industry that we are approaching. One of these brochures was specific to marketing agencies, and contained the cover copy, “Can we get reel for a minute?”. This, along with the style of the video contained within, was applicable to agencies, who understand what a demo reel is, are familiar with using the term, and, hopefully, appreciate the pun. Yet, when we approached manufacturers, we took a different take. The style of the video was different, and so was the copy, with the cover reading, “You make stuff. We make videos. Our videos sell your stuff.” Different industry, different approach. This is higher level personalization.

Want to get even more personal? That takes us to the second example of personalization, something that is much, much more specific: consider using personalized video messages to reach prospects. When we were preparing to send out a batch of video brochures last year, I suggested that we append each video with a personalized message from a staff member to the prospect we were shipping the piece out to. Did we do it? No we didn’t, but only because COVID came and swept the rug out from under all of us. Will we do it? Definitely. Consider how much of an impact receiving a video–not a plain email–that calls you by your name, perhaps even addresses interests or concerns specific to you or your business. Would you take note? I know that I certainly would. 

The biggest hurdle with personalized video messaging is the amount of time that it requires to generate the content. But this is also part of its power. Recipients realize that you needed to carve time out of your schedule to craft the material that you have sent their way. This adds a sense of care, of attention; it quite explicitly expresses how interested you are in them and their business. And this doesn’t need to be a part of a video brochure, or some big, showy piece of collateral. Last time I checked, Loom is a free service that allows you to capture quick videos from your web camera, and then seamlessly email them out to your intended target. I have used this in the past to connect with leads, and have always received a very warm response.

Within the last year, the world has changed dramatically. Many of those changes have been traumatic on a wide scale, but they have also compelled us to focus on the values that we hold most dear: connectedness, authenticity and concern. All of the trends discussed above can be boiled down to one, if not all, of these items. More than any specific marketing tactic, keep these principles in mind–connectedness, authenticity and concern–for they will guide you into cordial conversations with your clients and prospects. Conversations capable of attaining both your, and your interlocutor’s, goals. 

Visit TrendWatching for more inspiration for 2021!

* This article was originally published here
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