There are many reasons to look forward to 2020 and many reasons to look forward to 2021. The future looks promising in the world of digital marketing as well.
The coronavirus pandemic brought technology to more people online as we all adjusted to having our children work, socialize, and teach from home. And just as it felt like people were starting to rethink their values and remember what is really important to them, social values and sustainability will be high on the digital agenda for the next year.
Here are the trends that we believe will dominate in 2021.
Trend 1 – back: the rise of re-commerce
According to Thredup’s 2020 Resale Report, the used market will be worth $ 64 billion by 2024. Resale, in which people sell their beloved possessions, will overtake the traditional model of donating and buying goods from thrift stores.
The second-hand trend was driven by the COVID-19 crisis. Many consumers have had to tighten their belts because their finances have been affected. Others will have to rethink their buying habits based on a change in their values. Climate change and waste and pollution from overconsumption are issues that have become more pressing since long before the pandemic.
Younger generations in particular are concerned with these issues and are looking for brands that have found ways to close the loop. Keep things out of landfill by recycling and reusing them and using the earth’s resources more responsibly and less wastefully.
Among the brands that know and embrace this is flat-pack furniture giant IKEA, which recently launched a take-back service that allows customers to return their products to the store for resale in exchange for vouchers. We believe more brands will develop similar programs in the coming year.
Trend 2 – brands that live their social values
To be successful in 2021 and beyond, brands need to think about their social values and figure out how to express them in an authentic way.
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Today’s consumers care deeply about the world, planet and society, whether it is LGBTQ rights, gender equality or anti-racism. If you as a brand don’t have a clear stance on these issues, you need to have one and make sure everyone is aware of it. Not least because, according to this study, brands that are “most meaningful” have seen their content KPIs rise – overall impressions reach 80% compared with 42% for the brands that are the least meaningful in the eyes of consumers.
But before you settle for social value, remember that Gen Z doesn’t just ask you to “wake up”. But they will find you even if you only pay lip service or worse, are hypocritical. And they are very good at getting the news out on social media. You have to live your values, not just talk about them. Brands are regularly ruined if, for example, they are interested in diversity, but their boardrooms look very white and manly.
Transparency, honesty and authenticity are the secrets to successful marketing. More brands will come on board in the coming year.
Trend 3 – Too Cool for School: Personalized Online Education
If you were looking for the silver lining in the year of the pandemic, these would be the great strides online learning has made. With schools closed and lecture halls empty during curfew, remote classrooms became the new normal. And adults with more time to kill found that you could learn anything online – from languages to culinary arts to chess and ukulele – be it through live streaming courses, distance learning apps, Zoom sessions or YouTube.
Online learning became more accessible and accepted in 2020. In 2021 it will evolve and adapt to the needs of young and old students. Trends in online education include micro-learning, where lessons are broken down into easily digestible parts (in the style of the Duolingo language learning app), and gamification, where lessons are fun, interactive and more like playtime than Schooldays.
Above all, the future of e-learning is that it will become more and more personal. Your location, device, and time zone don’t matter as you can create a data-informed educational plan tailored to your own learning style and preferences.
Trend 4 – Listen: The voice will rule the household
As voice technology becomes more advanced, accepted and trusted, they are expected to replace touch as the search method of choice in the next year.
In the coming year, more of us will have or are considering having an extra family member. And there is one who holds on to every word and follows every command.
The rise of voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa shows no signs of slowing down. According to this study, more than 50% of UK families see their voice assistant as “another member of the family”. In addition, 90% expect that they will continue to use language technology at the same or a higher level.
This trend is partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Younger people in particular have become accustomed to smart speakers as the main source of news and entertainment during lockdown. In addition, savvy brands have taken the opportunity to make voice apps available to them.
Voice technology will become even more sophisticated in the years to come, and consumers will increasingly accept it. We assume that the voice could replace touch as a search method.
Trend 5 – Brands need to improve their game
For experienced brands, games are a particularly attractive platform for making contact with customers. Marketers can reach out to large, targeted, hyper-focused audiences, and the creative options go well beyond ads. Players can dress their avatar in Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or a variety of other fashion brands thanks to a type of product placement known as “skinning”. Watch as more companies add games to their marketing mix over the next year.
The world of gaming has long been devoid of the image of the sad teenager (usually male) in her bedroom, only with his video console as company. Today’s gaming appeals to a much broader segment of the population and is far from being the realm of the lonely. And it has become the new social network.
The most popular games these days are virtual rooms where people can hang out with their friends and make new ones. Take the hugely successful multiplayer Fortnite. Players go there to work together, chat, make games for each other, and even attend events. DJ Marshmello’s concert, held on Fortnite last year, drew 10 million viewers.
For brands, games offer an irresistible marketing opportunity. They offer an already engaged, hyper-focused, and purposeful audience, and the creative options are almost limitless. Simple ads are old-fashioned – think elaborate product placement like “skinning”, where fashion brands “dress” avatars in luxury clothing.
We believe this type of in-game marketing will increase over the next year as more brands start their game.