Are our 2021 marketing predictions on point?

As mid-year approaches, it’s the perfect time to glance back and revisit four Arketi Group marketing and communications predictions published by Forbes. Yep, 2020 has forever changed how we do business. You certainly get that.

In this article, Arketi talks shop – forecasting 2021 marketing trends shaped by last year’s events and why we believe they’ll play out this year and beyond:

  1. virtual everything and the accompanying burnout
  2. the new working norm
  3. ensuring a solid customer base
  4. digital here, digital there, digital, digital everywhere!

Take a look at the four predictions we made – as published in Forbes. We think they are playing out, do you?

Four Alive-And-Well Marketing Predictions To Consider In 2021

As the saying often attributed to American author Mark Twain goes: “It is difficult to make predictions, particularly about the future.”

At the onset of 2020, very few of us would have predicted the year we had in front of us: a global pandemic of unprecedented proportions – at least for our times – as well as forced work-from-home, stay-in-place measures and the ubiquitous use of masks. So long, handshakes, and hello, fist or elbow bumps.

2020 has definitely shaped the days we’re living in now and will likely shape the road ahead. We’ve seen monumental shifts in our professional and personal lives and have spent time reflecting on how those changes have impacted the way we communicate. So, after numerous discussions with business-to-business technology clients and after considering the insights from my company’s annual CMO roundtable, I’ve identified four trends that I believe we’re going to experience – not only this year but in 2022, too.

Trend No. 1: As virtual events proliferate, so does virtual burnout

Virtual event burnout is real. Many people have a like-dislike sort of relationship with them. On one hand, virtual events have helped keep our personal and professional worlds spinning around, and we’re fortunate to have them. On the other hand, many of us feel Zoomed-out, Teams’d-out or Webex’d out, depending on the platform.

As communicators, though, we must realize that virtual events are likely here for the long haul, so we should reimagine them to make them more compelling. Webinars are helpful, educational and great, but we need to think beyond them. Try this analogy on for size. Attending a webinar is like watching Friday-night high school football on cable.

A compelling virtual event, however, is like watching NFL football on Sunday, even when no one is in the stadium. The content is the same, but the difference is the production value.

We struggle through endless Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting and Webex meetings but have no problem sitting in front of our TVs for hours to stream our favorite shows and events. I believe this is because of the production value. As we continue into 2021, the production value of virtual events should rise if we want to deliver content that moves the needle north. Moving from live-streamed events to pre-recorded content is a trend we’ll likely continue to see. Pre-recorded events let us add a layer of richness that simply keeps audiences engaged.

You can combat virtual burnout at your events in several ways, including:

  • involving outside thinkers, even during internal events, to shake things up.
  • transitioning from webinars to full-featured virtual events that enable participants to select topics to explore further.
  • enabling small group networking within the virtual event.
  • incorporating physical touchpoints into virtual events by sending physical items in advance to accompany and enrich the event.
  • including surprising elements into the event, such as inviting a barista to share tips on brewing the perfect cup of coffee during a breakfast meeting.

Arketi sponsors program aimed to get Georgia girls moving

Did you know that just half of girls have healthy aerobic capacity in fifth grade? Arketi wants to encourage Georgia girls to “move it, move it,” and is donating toward Girls Empowering Movement’s (GEM) 2021 Summit, scheduled to be held virtually June 25-27.

Trend No. 2: The times we work in are a-changin'

It’s pretty clear to me that working 9 to 5 is so 2019. Timeshifting is the new way of working because so many people are simultaneously juggling their jobs, homeschooling and caring for children. The work-from-anywhere and work-anytime time models are a reality. Just ask any parent with children 18 and under.

What’s more, a great pandemic-induced reshuffling is underway. Large-scale remote working has proven successful for many, and if talent moves from large cities to suburbia, organizations can focus on finding the best talent – from anywhere.

For many organizations, this means that the collection of talent in one area under the same constraints of time could start to disappear. And the consumption of communications – internal and external – is shifting to an on-demand model. We’ve seen this move in consumer entertainment consumption, so why can’t we use it in our professional worlds too?

In fact, for live events, even virtual ones, a replay is as important as – if not more important than – the actual event itself. And after the fact, you can cut the information shared during those sessions into snackable pieces of content to repurpose and use across multiple communications channels.

This simply increases the value of the communications and permits the audience to consume that information on their own schedule.

Trend No. 3: It’s all about the base

Having a solid customer base in 2021 is critical. For years, communicators and marketers focused a great deal of effort on earning new customers. However, messaging customers in a way that ensures they will continue to stick with you as their chosen provider is important.

I’ve seen base marketing enter the spotlight as communicators shore up their customer base. Even corporate communication teams, which typically sit outside the marketing and sales vein, should advance their base marketing efforts.

Showcasing customers, customer delight and even how your organization can take a customer issue and turn it into a customer success can all help to secure your customer base.

Tune in to Georgia Technology Summit content on-demand

Perhaps you got a taste of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Summit 2021 or partook in the whole enchilada. Maybe you didn’t get to attend this year’s annual event. Regardless, tune in today to the on-demand virtual sessions – a smorgasbord of talented presenters offering timely information, the latest happenings, interesting tidbits and more.

Trend No. 4: Digital everything is everywhere

A year or two ago, there was a lot of talk about transitioning into digital-first organizations and digital-first communications teams. But these days, what isn’t digital?

Digital isn't just first. It's the whole shooting match, especially since this is the way companies are increasingly delivering products and services. Plus, digital has become the communication channel of choice for many customers.

Communication consumption has arguably never been more digital-driven or digital-dependent. Therefore, we should think beyond traditional communication channels to ensure we’re delivering information through several digital channels. In other words, go digital or go home.

Let's see what happens...

Yes, predictions regarding the future are tricky, and time will tell whether mine turn out to be right. But I do think virtual events (and virtual burnout), timeshifting communications, base marketing and delivering all things digital will be things that are on communicators’ radars not only in 2021, but also well beyond.

This article was originally published in Forbes. Let us know if you are seeing these marketing trends come to pass in your organizations.

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