In 2020 alone, the digital world expanded years beyond what was projected. When the outside world was almost completely halted, people were redirected to find what they needed in every area of life, online. And in 2021, the digital world is projected to continue growing just as quickly as customers and consumers rely more heavily on the digital world than the physical.
So what does this rapid growth mean for digital marketers? What does one do when 10 years of the projected future come flooding into just one year alone? For starters, we must press on harder than ever before to stay at the forefront of ever-evolving marketing trends and engage with expanding audience potential. This requires flexibility, continual re-calibration, and letting go of things that were considered ‘standard practice’ before in order to change accordingly with the times.
Recently, a few of our Brasco /// team members attended the virtual 2021 Adobe Summit. Below, they have compiled their takeaways from the conference on the most noteworthy digital marketing trends for the coming year.
People care now, more than ever, about what a brand is ‘about.’ They question if the brands they are supporting have a mission, values, and practices worth standing behind. Across the board, we are now seeing companies directing their digital budgets to create ads focusing on social responsibility. If your brand hasn’t honed in on its mission and values in a while (or ever), now is the time to do it. Ask important questions (see below). Then, create campaigns that drive impact and brand awareness around those values. Celebrate what’s real, and address what needs to change. Once you own your brand’s mission and the values that are most cared about, passion and loyalty will form.
Takeaway Questions: What does our audience care deeply about? What does our team care deeply about? How can we emphasize our mission/values and act upon those things?
In order to stay relevant, the industry now requires companies to create larger quantities of content than they’re used to producing. Social media channels, like Instagram, now prioritize accounts in their algorithm that are posting frequently. Yet, it’s also imperative to remember:
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” – John Copeland, VP, Digital Strategy Group, Adobe
It doesn’t matter how many assets you create for a campaign if those assets aren’t engaging the audience in the way you need them to. Prioritize measurement capabilities for everything you create, and then test, iterate, and continue to learn from your data findings. Once you’ve found something that works, scale it big! But never, ever stop measuring the data and adjusting accordingly.
Takeaway Questions: Is every aspect of our strategy/campaign measurable? When is the last time we measured the data for ____? How can we build data measurement into our strategy?
As we’ve seen this past year, culture–as well as the society around us–can change instantaneously. Digital marketing strategies that may have worked for years in the past no longer make the cut. When this happens, every aspect of your marketing approach and customer journey map must be re-evaluated. For a business to thrive in the midst of changing times, it must build in the capability to work with an agile, non-linear marketing approach.
“Agility drives business resilience” – Jason Heller, CEO, Transformation Ventures
But of course, this doesn’t mean throwing your processes out the window! Developing processes for your team is essential, so build evaluation, non-linear strategy, and agility into your processes. Learn to “skate to where the puck will be,” (Charline Li). Focus on the future and who your customers might be/what they might care about tomorrow, and your business will thrive.
Takeaway Questions: How could this strategy be left open-ended? Is this approach flexible and easy to rearrange? How open is our team to making changes, and how often do we evaluate our strategies? Is this something our audience will care about tomorrow?
Even more so than brand loyalty, customers are loyal to great personal experiences. During a year in which many have been isolated, separated from family, and held back from doing things they love, customers are looking to find meaningful and purposeful experiences now more than ever. This applies to the digital world too. It is important to talk with your customer to find out what they care about! Social media is a great avenue to do this, in real-time. Give your audience personalized choices as to what they want to engage with. Curate experiences that allow for customer segmentation and personalization on every channel of connection. And don’t forget to take a step back and place yourself in their shoes. After all, we’re all customers somewhere–and we don’t think of ourselves as “customers,” but as people.
Takeaway Questions: What do my customers want? What do they need? What could make their life easier, or add meaning for them today/tomorrow? How can I talk with and listen to them better?
In both subtle, and not-so-subtle ways, every industry has set parameters. Sometimes these parameters are beneficial, but staying within them all the time is not how innovation is achieved.
“Think of what could be obvious in 10 years and do it now,” – Christian Small, VP, Jefferson Health
Don’t be afraid to experiment and get messy in the kitchen. Not every experiment will succeed, but you never know what small change might set your company apart or lead to groundbreaking innovation. Experiment, prototype, and don’t be afraid to disrupt your industry!
Takeaway Questions: What could set you apart from your competitors? What is something you’ve wanted to try, but have been too afraid to do so? How can your digital space make a difference, speak out, change the norm?
Whether you’re feeling compelled to hone in on your brand’s mission and values, measure your data, adjust your digital strategies and processes, curate more meaningful experiences, or test out that new idea you’ve been longing to try, our team at Brasco /// is here for you! Together, we can face these changing times. As the digital world continues to grow rapidly, we will face it head-on with you so that your business can thrive.