By Manish Sinha
“Getting a Whopper is always best, but ordering a Big Mac isn’t such a bad thing either.” This is the result of a social media post from the UK branch of Burger King asking its customers to order from McDonalds, its stern rival. The social media post has not only captured millions of hearts, but also shown how the marketing landscape has changed in recent months. Rather than “joking” in their competitions, brands were more likely to be seen helping or working with the competition to stay relatively unscathed during the pandemic.
Times have been tough for marketers who have had to adjust their strategies along the way due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. The significant changes in consumer behavior and spending, as well as the sudden acceleration in technology adoption, have paved the way for new trends in the coming year.
More human than before
Burger King’s social media post is a perfect example of how brands have somehow lowered their guards and connected them to consumers, partners and the competition on a personal, humane level. That personal value that brands have gained in recent years has been replaced with personalized marketing strategies designed to create more authentic human connections.
More agile than before
Last year companies learned that agile methodology should be at the heart of any business strategy, let alone marketing. According to the 3rd State of Agile Marketing Report, Agile Marketing adoption rose to 42% last year as marketers eschew the traditional models. Imagination and innovation will take center stage as companies adapt to different situations on the go. KPIs are updated and adjusted regularly. An agile marketing strategy will also pave the way for a collaboration and communication-oriented work environment that is more efficient and more adaptable.
More technology than before
As customer behavior changes due to greater digital adoption, marketers will seek to shift their loyalty experiences to a pull model by limiting the scope of their data. Technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented, and virtual reality will do just that and help them focus on things that consumers are actually concerned with. AI will continue to personalize marketing through more specific targeting and improve SEO and content marketing strategies through the introduction of voice search capabilities. AR / VR, on the other hand, will find wider adoption across all marketing teams to improve the customer experience.
More social than before
A Deloitte survey found that 79% of consumers were able to recall instances where brands responded positively to the COVID-19 outbreak and gave helping hands to their community. This shows that brands that are more socially committed to their cause are more important to their customers. The brands will try to adapt to their purpose and dedicate themselves more to community marketing than before.
More meaningful and deeper customer interactions than before
While customer loyalty strategies have evolved over the years, the pandemic has accelerated that trend and highlighted the need for customer empowerment. In 2021, customers will evolve from passive listeners to active participants in order to influence a brand’s strategy. This could also be a golden opportunity for brands to take customer loyalty to a deeper level and create content that is more relevant to them.
More value-based content than before
The content will play a more important role in the buyer’s journey this year. Brands will create more value-driven content that better understands the needs of the customer. Artificial intelligence will transform the way content creators do their jobs by providing them with relevant data, keywords, references, and sourcing information on the go.
More real than before
This year, real stories are going to sound stronger than celebrities. People are fed up with fictional clinical perfection and want real people to tell real stories. Elitism is shown the door and marketers need to adjust their strategies accordingly.
More talent transformation than before
With the development of the digital landscape and the introduction of hybrid workplace models, we will see an overhaul of talents in all marketing teams. New talent models are emerging that focus on new technologies, data insights, and creating dynamic content.
More careful resource allocation than before
The impact of the pandemic on marketing budgets has been significant. Budget allocation for traditional marketing activities like telemarketing will be on point, while social media, data analytics and other digital marketing strategies will perform far better. In the coming years, more budget will also be spent on retention strategies, while new acquisition strategies will continue to play a bigger role.
While last year was about experiencing constant changes and developments for companies, this year it was about capitalizing on those changes and creating a niche for yourself. All they need is their marketers to find more creative ways to engage with customers through personalized engagement.
The author is the CMO of Sterlite Technologies Limited
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