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The Dominant Global Marketing Trends of 2021

The world around us changed rapidly and drastically. With this change comes new and exciting opportunities for brands to connect with their customers. Global marketing is undergoing a huge facelift this year as many brands look to acquire new customers as the buying cycle picks back up after a year of many budgets being put on hold. In fact, global ad spend was expected to increase 7% to hit just under $692 billion in 2020. 

The question is, with all that money being earmarked for global marketing campaigns, just how exactly is it being spent? What are the tactics and strategies powering this influx of money and increased prioritization of a globalization marketing approach? When it comes to 2021 global marketing trends, these six represent some of the most innovative and dominating examples poised to make a major impact this year and beyond.

1). Lead with Brand Purpose

These days, consumers are pickier than ever when it comes to choosing what brands they do business with. Much of that is due to market saturation, an abundance of choice, and the expansion of digital marketing that allows people to connect with brands well outside their geographic area. One of the best ways a brand can stand out from this crowded pack is to develop and lead with a strong, confident brand purpose that is authentic, mission-forward, and values-centric. 

A clear, powerful mission statement serves as the foundation for every brand. It governs how a brand positions itself to its audience and customers and thus shapes brand equity, or the public’s perceived valuation of the brand. An example of this is investing time into corporate social responsibility (CSR), where businesses contribute to broader societal causes. LEGO is one brand that tackles CSR with aplomb. By partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, LEGO has committed to reducing their overall carbon footprint and is working toward 100% renewable energy by 2030. By leaning into eco-friendly practices, LEGO’s brand purpose is defined by sustainability and helps it win huge favor among consumers who care deeply about environmental causes.

2). Leverage User-Generated Content

Brands don’t have to overextend themselves and produce all of their marketing collateral and content on their own. A great way to lighten the workload on marketing teams while highlighting customers is to leverage user-generated content (UGC). UGC is more authentic and trustworthy because it comes from a brand’s customers and advocates. In fact, 90% of users trust UGC to inform their purchasing decisions.

By tapping into UGC, brands can effectively start to shape brand perception and sentiment by highlighting content from invested, loyal customers. This sort of content is also highly effective at boosting user engagement and interaction, especially on social media, while driving increased conversions and revenue—ads with UGC reap click-through rates five times greater than average. GoPro does a fantastic job of leveraging UGC photos and videos taken by its product users to highlight their features and quality in a way that feels less self-serving and promotional. 

3). Elevate Customer Experiences

Brands need to provide a unique and exciting customer experience in order to thrive against competitors. The importance of good customer experience cannot be understated. Customers today base their loyalty to a brand on the experience it provides more than anything else. Case in point: a whopping 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Brands looking to elevate their customer experience should consider the thoughtful application of technologies such as AI, machine learning, and augmented/virtual reality. These technologies make the customer experience smarter, faster, more efficient, and open up new opportunities for customers to interact and engage with brands. For example, Nordstrom recently opened up a new flagship store in New York that includes an experience called “Beauty Stylist Virtual Mirror” which allows shoppers to “try” out makeup trends facilitated by AR technology before buying products. Tactics like these, centered around revolutionizing a typical in-store customer experience, go a long way in a highly competitive industry like retail which is struggling to attract foot traffic.

4). Implement Conversational Marketing

In general, the dominating marketing trends today are those that are highly focused on brands adopting a more conversational and personal tone. This is what’s better known as conversational marketing, which strives to establish a one-on-one, real-time connection between customers and those marketing to them. The goal of conversational marketing is to enhance customer interaction and experience by providing instant solutions, resulting in higher levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Adopting this more conversational, approachable tone in their marketing efforts has paid off for finance software company Ellie Mae. By employing bots designed to facilitate conversational marketing, they increased their daily demo requests by 165%. These were leads that had never gone to the trouble of filling out a demo request form until they were presented with an alternative that was more direct, human, and instantaneous regarding their needs.

5). Adopt Programmatic Advertising

When it comes to display advertising and marketing, things are turning increasingly programmatic. Programmatic advertising is essentially nothing more than real-time bidding. This technique of automatic ad buying helps brands reach larger audiences across the world in a faster, more efficient manner. What results is higher conversions and lower acquisition costs. 

Programmatic advertising is becoming such an effective marketing practice that eMarketer estimates more than 86% of digital display ads will be programmatic by this year. Audi has already seen great success with programmatic advertising. To bolster the launch of their new customizable vehicle, Audi adopted programmatic advertising to personalize its marketing strategy to discover new users whose behaviors online projected interest in potentially buying a new vehicle. The end result of buying ads programmatically was a conversion rate four times higher than traditional buying methods.

6). Develop an Answers-based Content Marketing Strategy

Lastly, brands should consider developing an answers-based content marketing strategy in 2020, rather than a traditional knowledge and promotional based content strategy. The impetus for this is that last year, zero click searches accounted for more than half of all Google search queries. This means that when users search for something in Google, a majority didn’t click on anything after executing their search to get what they were looking for.

Brands need to develop content that directly answers a query without searchers necessarily having to click on a link to find it. This is due to the rise of newer Google search results like featured snippets and knowledge maps, which present content and answers outright rather than providing links to resources. Brands focused on finance, health, and DIY have seen great success over most other industries with getting featured snippet content placed. However, by refocusing content strategy and production on answering questions and solving problems rather than simple information regurgitation, any brand in any industry has the opportunity to win high-ranking SERP positions.

To stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends and best practices, check back in to The MarcomCentral Blog for additional content.

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