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Marketing Insights

5 Digital Marketing Trends You Should Expect in 2021

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Marketing has always been a vital facet of business. But recently, it's gone through a huge shift, with brands beginning to focus more on digital marketing rather than traditional mediums. Digital and alternative media, such as smart-technology advertising, micro-influencer marketing, and video advertising, have been on the rise. In 2018, industry revenue grew by about 11.6%, which amounts to approximately $496.08 billion in total. And since digital marketing is growing more prominent in 2021, businesses have to stay on top of these trends:

1. The digital marketing industry will continue to grow

2020 saw many businesses increase or fully commit to their digital footprint, and many did this by increasing their digital ad spending. A Statista report showed that the compound annual growth rate of mobile advertising alone is projected to increase to 21.6 percent this year, with an 11 percent increase for total digital advertising. This has been reflected in how companies like Proctor & Gamble allocated more than $100 million last year to marketing and will continue to invest in it this year. As budgets and the annual growth increase so too will the demand for digital marketers to meet these numbers.

A Statista report showed that the compound annual growth rate of mobile advertising alone is projected to increase to 21.6 percent this year, with an 11 percent increase for total digital advertising.

Fortunately, the education sector is upscaling as well to meet this industry demand. Top tier universities have begun offering online marketing degrees that focus on interactive and digital marketing, consumer behavior, and statistics that will allow graduates to help companies grow in the digital age. As all the coursework can be accomplished through the internet, without the student ever having to visit the school campus, this has opened up marketing to a much wider student pool. This in turn will help fill the expected 21,800 new jobs in the industry from 2018 to 2028 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

2. There will be an even greater emphasis on sustainability

Climate change is continuing to worsen. This has made a considerable impact on consumers, many of whom believe that companies should do their part in preserving the environment. In response, businesses are beginning to shift to more sustainable methods and promote them through digital marketing. For instance, personal care company Lush has based its new marketing campaign around eco-friendly packaging. Their UK branches launched the "Bring It Back" initiative this year, which allows customers to return any full-sized Lush plastic packaging to local shops. These will then be recycled and reused in Lush's recycling facilities. Following Lush UK's example, more brands will follow this trend of adopting sustainability in their practices this year as concern for the planet increases.

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3. More companies will use data analysis

To fully harness the power of marketing, marketers need insights into the market and their customers. This can be acquired through data gathering and management. With such information, Forbes predicts that businesses will increasingly use data this year to better understand customers and optimize performance. They note that "it is not just a matter of brands meeting consumers where they are; it’s about brands telling them what they want, when they want it".

To fully harness the power of marketing, marketers need insights into the market and their customers.

An excellent example of this is found in how Amazon makes use of big data. They collect data about their customers and use that information to fine-tune their built-in recommendation engine. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers solutions for various methods of data analysis, including big data processing, real-time analytics, and data visualization. These services help third-party companies harness the power of data for their own operations. As of 2021, AWS has over 200 products and services on offer showing how the company has continued to be a market leader in terms of data analysis.

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4. Online customer-experience will be at the forefront of brand marketing

With the events of 2020 pushing more customers to digital platforms, companies will be looking to capitalize on this and provide better customer experiences online. Even established digital companies like Spotify have recognized that in order to compete they must promote an improved online experience. This year, they announced their plans to roll out Spotify HiFi, their new high-end subscription service. It promises "CD-quality, lossless audio format" as well as exclusive content. They also promised to incorporate more interactive features in the app, including polls and Q&As, so that artists and podcast hosts can communicate with their fans. If big brands like Spotify are changing their marketing strategy to enhance the online experience, then smaller businesses will be following suit in order to keep up with the latest trends.

5. More brands will adopt advocacy-driven marketing this year

Apart from championing sustainability, businesses are also beginning to release advocacy-driven campaigns. Starbucks, for example, has a long-running charity organization that donates part of its profits to a wide variety of charities and advocacy groups. These include literacy programs, farming groups, and even relief efforts for the recent pandemic.

Apart from championing sustainability, businesses are also beginning to release advocacy-driven campaigns.

This year, they plan to invest $100 million to launch the Starbucks Community Resilience Fund, an initiative that will support small business and community development projects for the black, POC, and indigenous communities. Through this fund, the company seeks to advance racial equity in the country. Movements like this make businesses more enticing to consumers because studies show that 81% of consumers are willing to support businesses that give back.

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Topics: Online Marketing, Advertising, Branding

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