Current Trends in Marketing 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, marketing online has been increasingly challenging and difficult. It is now harder to get positive responses to your marketing and harder to differentiate yourself from so many others like you in the online space. This is largely due to the fact that the pandemic has driven countless businesses online. Hence, they are now there to compete with one and everybody. 

This challenging situation has meant that it is now much harder for you to get noticed online and whatever you do, you are easily drowned out by your competitors as well as by other distractions that may lead your would-be audience to stray away from the message you have for them.

Indeed, the situation is so dour that some reviewers opined that in view of the severe state of digital marketing, now is the time to focus on email marketing at virtually no cost. This works if you have an email list(s) of customers and prospects. If you have no list, perhaps it is wise to build a list to future-proof your marketing, granted that this late start may not have any immediate effect on your marketing costs.

Need for multi-channel engagement

OZP Multi Channel Marketing

Secondly, for some years already, marketing experts have been encouraging businesses to engage with their customers and prospects on more than one marketing channel.

Specifically, if you are just marketing on Google or Facebook and you are not interacting with your customers and prospects elsewhere, that is handicapping your marketing efforts. The call has been for marketers to engage their customers and would-be customers on social media, interact with them using a variety of tools including graphics, infographics, videos and live streams.

So if you have not done any or all of the above, it’s time to engage with your audience in as many ways as is possible. If you have not embarked on this exercise, it is time to start another channel of connecting with your audience and gradually build up your multi-channel touchpoints with your audience as you consolidate your marketing strategy.

However, the most significant development in recent years has been the realization that much of the marketing costs have not been giving the returns that marketers have hoped for. This realization has been the conclusion of both big corporations and small businesses.

In part, this may explain why a marketing campaign freshly launched is likely to have approximately 1% or slightly more, of the leads going through your funnel to a completed sale. However, if you continue to engage with the same audience, your sales would likely double, triple or several times more. This is in part the thinking behind the concept of retargeting in marketing.

Another contributory factor to concerns about marketing costs is that digital marketing generated a lot of data. As business owners get acquainted with marketing analytics, questions and hypotheses began to be generated as to the assumptions and causes of the trends they see in marketing analytics.

One realization is that a portion of your audience, perhaps up to a third will perhaps not buy from you. The reasons for this may be a lot of factors that may be idiosyncratic, but experience tells us that they may respond to other types or kinds of marketing offers. On the other hand, a Joint Venture where you reciprocally promote each other’s offerings with a partner may yield results for your partner. Hence the rationale for Joint Venture partnerships which are based on this observation.

The Buyers’ journey in marketing 

Another insight has been that the returns on investment (ROI) of digital marketing is not that great. In some cases, the ROI might well be negative.

OZP Customer Journey

For large corporations with huge marketing budgets that might not be an issue, but for small businesses, this is a big deal. Indeed, when you go granular and track the cost of marketing to specific outcomes this becomes obvious. I have blogged about his issue some time ago as well as made a video on it.

One insight of this observation is that not all in your audience at any point in time is ready to buy. Indeed, it is known that probably only 3% of your audience is ready to buy at any point in time. That is because different buyers in your audience are at different points in their buyers’ journey.

It has been estimated that up to 60% of your intended audience are not aware of the need for solving the problems that your product/service are able to solve, with another 20% being aware of their need for such solutions but not doing anything about it.

Now that leaves 17% who would be aware of the problems and pain points that would be resolved by the product/solution that you offer and are actively searching for a solution to their problem, and of course the 3% who are prepared to buy your product/service to solve their problem.

It is indeed unfortunate that most marketing is targeted at the 3% with few or little marketing being targeted at the 97% who requires a different approach. This large and mixed group requires you to educate them, to communicate with them, and perhaps engage with them in fruitful discussion as to how you can solve their problems. This is where social media and other forms of engagement such as videos and other content becomes relevant.

In the buyers’ journey, there is a need for a prospect to know, like and trust. Buying behaviour occurs only in the last phase of “trust”, the 3%. There is a greater need for you to connect and to engage with the 97% of your audience, some of which are in the “know” phase, while others are in the “Like” phase. 

In short, and particularly important because of the increased noise and competition nowadays because of the pandemic and everybody crowding online for a slice of the action, your marketing has to be more refined and certainly focussed on different segments of your audience who are in different phases of the buyers’ journey.

That is the reason why, email marketing, social media, live streams and webinars are all important. Those on your email list are those that “know” you and perhaps “like” you. As you engage them further over social media and in live streams and webinars, they can get to “like” or “trust” you better as they see you talking about your product/service, your values and attitudes as you are solving their problems. That’s where the “trust” in you get translated into action and they decide that they should indeed buy from you.

I hope this review of current trends can help you to refine and sharpen your marketing to create better strategies and tactics for you to win in the marketplace.