Growth Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2021

Growth Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2021

A new year is always significant- it’s new plans, new workouts, and of course, new trends across the board. From the latest fashion to this year’s key areas of growth,...

A new year is always significant- it’s new plans, new workouts, and of course, new trends across the board. From the latest fashion to this year’s key areas of growth, we have got your back. As we wrap up the first week of this year, the start to 2021 feels different from 2020, and we think huge opportunities are opening up for your growth space.

Our 2021 growth trends and predictions come from a few different areas but are sure to help shift your eyes from a 2020 vision. If you’re looking for a growth partner to help make these trends a reality for your business – we have the squad for you!

 

Adapting to New Requirements

Technological advancements have fueled the majority of the growth marketing trends on this list. However, each advancement is coupled with concerns about the use of personal data and privacy. 

2020 kicked off with California instituting the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which required large companies to disclose what they’re doing with the data they collect on their users. It also gave users the ability to request those companies not to sell it (with harsh penalties for non-compliance). While significant, this law will just be the tip of the iceberg.

 

Government Regulations

Election years always add increased tensions, and while 2020’s election has been one for the history books, the emergence of the tech world and regulations has been making headlines. Facebook’s lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states demonstrated a long awaited conversation around competition and social media’s depth in our lives. This was on the heels of Google’s antitrust lawsuit paving the way for more privacy concerns, data protection, and just how much technology guides our everyday lives. 

As regulations and frustrations continue to grow, we can expect more regulations are coming to us in 2021. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are preparing for this after nearly two decades of no significant push back. We can all see this coming, but what does this mean for growth? On the other hand, an opportunity arises for privacy-first based companies. Browsers and internet companies such as Brave and Ghostery have room to accelerate their growth and be at the forefront of this sector.

 

Privacy

Regulations are just the stepping stone in terms of what’s on the horizon for tech. Privacy has been a mounting issue across the board for a few years, but in 2021, we can see growth and changes being implemented immediately. The upcoming security updates with iOS 14 between Facebook and Apple have marketers and companies rethinking strategies and getting ahead of the curve in terms of their transparency. 

Tracking cookies and browser-based tracking are about to die, and that’s going to cause a massive headache for advertisers. Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) have been blocking third-party cookies for years now, and Google’s Chrome browser – by far the most popular among users – is about to do the same. In a world with no more cookies and closed off access- marketers need to be at the forefront of understanding how this will be impacting their targeting efforts and which directions to move their strategies. These will be areas marketers are doubling down on, making branding all the more critical.

 

Skate to Where the Consumer is Going

With the above mentioned new rules and restrictions on data usage, many of the tried and true tactics will no longer be available, which means many marketers will have to start a new playbook. However, as technology continues to advance, there will always be new channels opening up. Smart marketers will work to make their impact first, while there is still time to stand out and innovate.

 

Voice Search

While it may not be among the newest growth marketing trends, voice technology develops in both its power and adoption, growing to an estimated 122.7 users in 2021. The brands that thrive will be the ones that adapt the best and the quickest. 

As Google evolves from a “search” engine to an “answer” engine, their Featured Snippets (or SERP Position Zero) have led to a rise of zero-click searches and a drop in organic CTR. This not only makes this spot incredibly important for SEO (or perhaps more accurately, VEO), but the holy grail for capturing the voice search as this will be the result that Google Home or Alexa will read from.

Another trend to keep an eye on is Alexa Skills Marketing. Similar to how when smartphone apps took the world by storm and every brand decided they needed one, brands are starting to move into the Alexa Skills space. Like apps, the winning brands will be the ones that offer a useful utility, as well as a strong CTA. Ask PurinaJohnnie Walker, and Zyrtec – Your Daily AllergyCast are all great examples of brands that found a way to bring value to their customers, while also developing brand relationships and finding ways to facilitate product sales into the experience.

 

SMS

Again, not a new technology, but one that will take on a renewed importance going forward. If you look back at some brand patterns, it makes sense. After social media continued to decrease organic reach on their platforms, brands realized the importance of their email lists, as it was the only consistent way they could stay in front of their customers. While email remains important, it’s becoming more and more crowded, making it difficult for brands to stand out. Why compete in a crowded inbox for a 20% open rate and 6% response rate, when you can go straight to SMS for a 98% open rate and 45% response?  54% of consumers want marketing text messages, but currently, only 11% of companies are utilizing this channel!

Of course, like all things, there will be rules to follow. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that forbids companies to send text messages to consumers who have not given their consent. Privacy needs to be top of mind when planning your message strategy. Ensure customers have opted to receive text messages, always provide them with the option to opt-out, and don’t spam users with too many messages.

 

Subscription Models

The beauty of the subscription model is that it allows paying consumers to engage with various platforms, content, or services and keep them hooked. Their subscription fee gives them access at a price point that can’t be beaten and a product line worth so much more. Creators of all types have launched their forms of subscription and content channels. These mediums can be anything from OnlyFans to Patreon or Substack. A subscription allows for a new content channel while gaining a mass following. It also enables creators to build community with one another as well as build a brand. With this type of growth opportunity, a content subscription is the next big thing for every creator with content and a wifi connection.

 

Performance Branding

The primary purpose of a marketer is to get one thing: conversion. Marketers have been finding ways to personalize messages, retarget, and optimize their budgets to ultimately get a better and more precise understanding of their customers’ journey. Over time this has been especially true in terms of marketing budgets that focus on improving lead generation and building brand awareness and trust. While these processes have been tried and true, there’s no doubting one thing: data speaks for itself. The movement towards data-driven performance marketing allows marketers to hone in on their customer journey, especially when strategies are increasingly more digital. With regulations in place and growing technologies, your data is more granular and precise in analyzing your shoppers’ preferences. There is no longer a “one-size fits all” strategy to marketing- it is based on the individual level, specific customer journeys, and clear data sets. We’re sure this works, and it will be driving growth through 2021.

 

Brands are Building Community for Conversions

It’s no secret that humans crave community. The more the world becomes digital, the more people search for other like-minded individuals to discuss their shared interests, answer questions, and build relationships.

In many ways, 2020 was the perfect storm for online communities. Not only were we more isolated and more desperate for connection, but one of the more contentious elections of all time drove everyone to define the causes and issues that matter most to them. This resulted in not just massive opportunity for community-related platforms, but also for brands to build affinity by showing what they believe in.

 

Aligning with Values

For years, we have seen companies run reports regarding customer sentiment, brand, and trust. The key to selling products and services is identifying what your consumers care about. 2020, of all years, brought the idea of values to the consumers’ forefront. Although we’ve known this for years, brands realized the power of community and values. With the intersection of social media and social movement in the spotlight, brands realized that their values need to be transparent. Building community is rooted in values. Companies like Fenty, Patagonia, and Glossier have seen immense success by finding communities and building relationships within these areas. 

In 2020, this was highlighted through politics, activism, and social movement. It’s no longer enough to just be mission-driven, but instead transparent, community-building, and involved with what’s going on in the world. Through the Black Lives Matter Movement, we’ve seen political tension and a global pandemic which brands have aligned themselves and how consumers have responded. Brands with communities are at the forefront and measure the brand’s success. To build that community, you need to be aligned with your consumer’s values-based on real-world issues and taking a stance. In 2021, building a brand is impressive; building a community is innovative.

 

Niche Communities

In a year where travel was limited, technology was necessary, and socializing was all done at a distance, community means more than ever. It connects those closest to you and those too far to reach, but ultimately it is contingent on values and interests. Social media has done wonders in terms of revolutionizing the community. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have moved past physical barriers to cultivate a different world that existed online. 

However, these platforms have had their limitations. There is a growing decline in engagement and value that brands get from mainstream platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. 2020 opened a space for content growth and a new form of creativity. Creators exist in so many ways and are finding their spotlight through new mediums of content generation. The rise of the smaller quality and niche communities have moved individuals off these platforms and to new mediums in which creators find their talents emerge and build them with others. 

Examples include:

For Gamers – Twitch

For Writers – Medium, Substack

For Investors/Entrepreneurs – Clubhouse

For Designers/Creatives – Behance, Dribble

For Musicians – Soundcloud

 

Adapting to a Post-Covid Culture

You can’t write a piece about 2021 trends without acknowledging the role COVID-19 has had in re-shaping our daily lives. While many of us are eagerly waiting for things to get back to normal, people have adopted several new habits that may not be going away any time soon.

 

Remote Collaboration

Collaborative spaces, WeWork, and flexible work schedules seemed like the new normal in 2020. Now flexibility is the new normal with the ability to work from anywhere at any time. The shift to remote work opens up a new era focused on video conferencing, collaboration tools, and messaging applications. Companies, co-workers, partners, and employees all have found new ways of working and connecting from all around the world. Companies such as Zoom, Notion, and Slack have been the real winners adapting to this landscape and growing culture at this time. This makes possibilities endless- companies can grow and recruit from anywhere in the world. The tools that help you get there are growing and adapting at incredible rates, telling us the story of this shift one day at a time. Building these communities are going to be critical in 2021.

 

Retail

The retail industry has found a new surge in the eCommerce market. If you’re a retailer, you know brick and mortar was on its way out, and omnichannel strategies were the new normal. Now more than ever, with platforms like TikTok, Shopify, and Amazon, connecting from consumer to retailer is more vital than ever. Not only have the strategies and mechanisms for retailers shifted, but the types of products at the forefront have changed as well. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers focused on luxury, preparation for new collections, and spring and summer fashion. With people being at home, staying at home, and even working out from home, retail has switched this focus to loungewear, activewear, home care, and home organization. Companies across the globe have switched from couture to comfy, making home feel like an all-inclusive space. Not only in clothing, but home improvement, activities, furnishing, and grocery have used innovative strategies to make sure consumers were happy being at home. Brands such as CVS, Walmart, and Target have grown to the top of the retail world over this past year and continue into 2021.

 

New Start-Up Hubs?

Many people first saw the US shift from one coast to another with the rise of Silicon Valley. Then, we have the images of once-bustling cities like New York abandoned during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Now, in 2021 everyone’s moving again- only this time it is South (Beach). Miami has been home to nightlife, college spring breaks, music festivals, and more. But 2021 could make it the new growth start-up and VC hub. Miami has a new partner in crime also emerging. Austin, Texas, is becoming the next hub for huge companies like DropBox and icons like Elon Musk. “Recently, it emerged that hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. is moving its Manhattan headquarters to South Florida, and that private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc. will open an office there. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is reportedly considering relocating part of its asset management operations to the region, too. It’s not just happening on the East Coast. In the last few months, the venture capitalists David Blumberg and Keith Rabois decamped from the San Francisco Bay Area to Miami.” The dramatic shift to Miami and Austin comes from a few different places, but no doubt its impacts are felt- leaving cities like SF and NYC in the dust. This shift could be detrimental to the existing cities, not only in terms of businesses but also in tax revenue. NYC is estimated to lose upwards of 1 billion dollars.

 

Utilizing Growth Trends for 2021

As you build out your 2021 marketing plan, it’s likely building off what was successful in 2020, and rightfully so. Marketing isn’t always about quantity or changing your whole plan, but rather making the improvements needed to give you the edge and learning where you can go.

However, each plan should include some optimizations, such as f prioritizing quality or maybe your copywriter. Within the above growth marketing trends, think about what makes sense for your business or what could have the most significant potential impact. If you’re stuck or need a partner, you know where to find us.


Sumita Gangwani
Sumita is a growth marketing analyst with experience working with startups in the e-commerce space.


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