The turn of the year is an excellent opportunity to look at the developments in marketing 2021. The experts at Lewis have summarized the most critical trends that companies should be aware of this year to address their target groups optimally.
One of the most important marketing trends in 2021 is personalization in marketing. Customers react much more positively to companies that know their needs exactly and provide them with the right content at the right time. With more integrated Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies, marketers can target businesses in a much more personal way.
Rather than using traditional marketing channels to generate leads, an ABM strategy begins with identifying and targeting the companies and people who are best suited for offerings in terms of need, tech, and buying cycle. Integrating ABM more closely into a company’s marketing strategy should treat each target customer as a separate market.
This includes creating targeted content such as landing pages and emails that are specifically aimed at the customer. Marketing automation tools and dynamic range can complement this approach. Companies can build better, stronger relationships with customers and close deals faster by creating specially targeted content.
SERP Position Zero
It is a striving as old as humanity, or at least as old as the rise of Google: to appear at number 1 in organic search with your content. Every content marketer’s dream is to achieve this position. In 2020 the rise of an even more critical and influential ranking will take place: SERP Position Zero. This describes the first Google search result to appear above the top organic SEO results rankings.
This enviable position, also known as a featured snippet, gives the searcher the direct answer to their organic searches without clicking the link provided.For content marketers, ranking in position zero in a search engine offers a more fabulous SERP presence, a massive increase in brand authority, and more traffic on the provider’s website. Featured snippets often appear in the following search queries: Explanations of terms, formulated W-questions, instructions, instructions for action, comparison tables.
How does an entry get in position 0 on Google? The following criteria are essential for this:
- Structured data: The clearer and more understandable a page is, the easier it is for Google to find relevant information.
- User questions: Featured snippets are about specific, formulated questions. It is advisable to take up real user questions and use them as keywords and headings. An answer to this is often given the place at the top.
- Lists, tables, and instructions: Google rewards fast and helpful content with a place in the Featured Snippet.
However, that doesn’t mean that position 1 is irrelevant – Google prioritizes top-ranking results when choosing what the featured snippet should be for a given query. Position Zero will become increasingly important as search shifts from a text-based approach to a voice-activated system. Voice searches through questions to Siri or Alexa will increase significantly in the next year. In 2020, the goal was no longer to be number 1 but number 0.
Interactive content is not a fundamentally new format for marketing trends. Instead, it is a category of content marketing that is gaining more and more importance and used by more and more companies. Successful interactive content enables users to immerse themselves in an experience through their actions, interact, and gain insights. Well-known examples of such content are survey tools or interactive infographics.
They enable a user experience with an interactive element and allow users to participate in the content and find valuable answers or results. The aim of good, interactive content should always be to solve a problem or answer a question. Achievements are typically measured based on average session duration rather than click rate. Therefore, the measures should not only focus on lead generation but rather on a personalized, user-oriented experience.
Interactive Online Videos
Initially, viewers of videos were just passive observers who, other than pausing and rewinding, could not interact with the medium. This was enough to satisfy an early video audience for whom the technology itself was entertaining enough. In the last ten years, online videos and streaming have reached a high level and have established themselves as part of everyday life on the go.
Now viewers have higher expectations – it’s no longer just about adjusting the length of the videos (e.g., for social media), but about personalization and interaction. In 2021, interactive and non-linear videos will gain in importance. This includes several forms of emerging media, such as interactive story threads. Also known as “Choose Your Own Adventure” videos, this type of video allows viewers to make choices while watching that will affect the course of the story and ultimately lead to different endings.
Two current examples of this are the film “Bandersnatch” from the Black Mirror series and “You vs. Wild” from the Bear Grylls series, streamed on Netflix. With the marketing trends 2021, videos with a shopping function will play a significant role in retail. These enable the viewer to click on products in the video and thus to put them directly into the shopping cart. This allows brands to more accurately calculate ROI by seeing which specific items consumers buy straight from a video.
Artificial Intelligence And Chatbots
Speech processing with artificial intelligence is currently reaching new milestones in marketing trends every year. Accordingly, exciting developments can be expected in this area in the coming year. Chatbots used have enabled companies to process customer concerns without human intervention or shorten waiting times for customers with more complex requirements.
Since 80 percent of companies are integrating chatbots into their 2021 marketing planning, there will probably be an increasing number of bots with advanced functions that can, for example, recognize and process more complex inquiries or hold conversations on the phone with a human-like voice.
Voice Search With Assistants
Alexa, what’s the forecast for voice search for 2021? The answer to this question would be impressive – every second search query should be made by voice in 2021. As one of the important marketing trends, language technology will reach more and more devices and thus become more common. Household appliance manufacturers such as Whirlpool and LG are already working with Amazon to bring Alexa to their devices.
It can be assumed that voice commands and speech interactions will become more and more commonplace and ordinary. Perhaps it will soon be standard practice to turn on the dishwasher or toast a slice of bread by voice command. Of course, more important for marketing is the further development of the actual search function in the voice assistants.
Context recognition from previous search queries, for example, has developed significantly in recent years – which makes interaction more fluid and dialogue-oriented. Another significant voice trend is live transcription, where speech recognition works so quickly and precisely that videos, calls, or seminars can be transcribed in real-time. Companies such as Google or Amazon can show astonishing successes here.
This year, voice search can no longer be ignored. Therefore, it is becoming more important to optimize websites for voice search, for example, by increasingly using real questions as keywords for optimization – in other words, focusing on the question “What is Google Position Zero?” Instead of the shorter keyword “Google Position Zero.”
Employee Advocacy 2.0
Employee advocacy is no longer just a buzzword or “nice to have” for brands. In 2021 it will be an essential element of marketing trends. Employee advocacy supports the brand in maximizing reach in social media and reaching target groups more reliably. The advantages are obvious: users value communication at eye level more than being courted.
Content generated by employees is more credible: Employees can either share content created by the company or report on company content and industry trends themselves. The dialogue between the employee and their community about company-relevant content is clearly in the foreground. All of this helps increase brand awareness, facilitate the recruiting of new employees and increase employee loyalty.
However, these facts were also known in 2020. So what will change in 2021? Our forecast is: Employee advocacy will become more and more professional and develop into Employee Advocacy 2.0. This means that emails to employees asking for likes and shares are replaced by a sensitive employer advocacy strategy embedded in the HR and social media strategy.
The most critical factors for successful Employee Branding 2.0:
- Clear objectives
- Well-thought-out selection of corporate ambassadors
- Well-thought-out selection of social channels
- Social Media Guidelines
- Close cooperation between HR and social media
It is difficult to predict which of the marketing trends mentioned will develop the most pulling power in advance. But that gives decision-makers a welcome opportunity to bring all of their expertise to bear.