The landscape of digital marketing is always changing. Cultural trends and new technologies influence how creative marketers draw attention to their products and services each year. Even though human nature stays the same, marketers must continue to innovate if they want to capture consumers’ attention in a crowded market.   

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shaped how we live, work, and buy. Marketing changed a lot this year as more and more of our daily activities shifted online. But what will 2021 bring to the world of marketing? Here are 5 trends we can expect to see in the coming year.   

 

Blending Artificial Intelligence + Marketing  

Artificial intelligence has gotten better in the last few years, and it’s now being used in just about every field you could think of. In marketing, it’s allowing for more automation of repetitive and tedious tasks and faster analysis of data. This allows marketers to gain insights into consumer behavior and focus on tasks requiring human creativity.   

Many marketers are overwhelmed by tasks. Using AI for automation takes some of the pressure off and allows employees to spend more time on high-value tasks. 

 

Advancing Consumer Behavior Insights  

We have access to more data than ever before. With our ability to collect and analyze large datasets, marketers often know more about why and how people buy than consumers do themselves. Consumer behavior insights are becoming more sophisticated all the time and will only become more important in 2021.  

When marketers understand what motivates people, they can sell more products. Increased access to behavior data and insights allows marketing professionals to create highly-targeted campaigns that result in higher conversion rates. Understanding customers allows marketers to build influence, brand awareness, and other key factors. 

 

Prioritizing Human Connections

Connection is always powerful in marketing. But in 2021, the importance of human connections will be elevated even more than usual, due to the ways our world has changed over the last few years.  

During the pandemic, many people realized how important their connections with family, friends, and their community were. In addition, concerns about polarizing politics, climate change, and social issues caused people to rethink how they shop.   

In 2021, marketers will need to find ways to prioritize these kinds of human connections. People want to feel a connection with their values, whether that’s buying a sustainably-produced shirt or spending more time with loved ones (virtually or in person).  

 

Advertising That Continues to Speak to Pandemic Pain Points  

Most people are hoping that the pandemic will soon be over, thanks to new vaccines and a shift in public health messaging in a new administration. But the reality is that even if vaccines do become widely available, the ripple effect of COVID-19 will continue well into 2021 and beyond.  

Marketers will need to leverage these consumer pain points. Many people are struggling to meet their fundamental needs and are only going to be interested in solving their biggest problems. To be successful, marketers will need to recognize and speak to that pain.  

 

Optimizing for Voice Search  

The mobile revolution has come and gone. It’s pretty much standard for people to do most of their browsing on mobile devices. Now, though, they’re not searching by typing in keywords—they’re using voice-to-text technology and turning to voice search.  

Even large phones can be awkward and slow for typing. By 2021, it’s expected that 70% of searches will be voice-controlled. If marketers don’t pivot and cater to these emerging preferences, they may be left behind.  

 

Marketers Must Be Adaptable 

If there’s one thing that’s certain in digital marketing, it’s that trends and best practices will evolve. In 2021, marketers must be prepared for change and be willing to adapt as needed. As we saw in 2020, everything can change in what seems like an instant.