The Covid-19 pandemic has brought countless atrocities to the world and forever changes the way we live. But even this darkness will pass and a new day is coming. 2021 marks a new decade, where new findings and innovations will reshape our living, working, and consuming habits. What does this mean for companies and how will they adapt to these changes? Here are 5 business trends in 2021 that your company should be preparing for.
Our trend forecast focuses on digital transformation, business strategy, technology, and their implications for your 2021 digital marketing strategy.
1. Remote is here to stay
If you think your employees will rush back to the company office once they receive vaccinations, think again! Many businesses have realized how easy it is to have online meetings through video conferencing or admit it, an email could have been enough. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he’s planning to have half of his company working remotely permanently.
Twitter, Spotify, Slack, and many other companies have also expressed their intent to implement this work mode for the long term. While this might not be the case for every company, we believe that at least businesses will be open to a flexible remote policy. Either way, companies will be more willing to invest in new virtual tools or infrastructure that will help improve their employees’ productivity.
One other type of remote is the mode of operations for restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, or retail business in general. Even with vaccinations, people might still be wary or anxious about leaving their safe space. There might be a need for a combination of old and new ways of marketing. The old way of marketing that we’re talking about is not through traditional channels, but nostalgia marketing, which reminds consumers of “the good old days” and instills a positive feeling for things in the past.
On the other hand, new marketing can be implemented through influencer marketing or affiliate marketing. There’s a saying that goes “people want what they cannot have”, or perhaps, in this case, they can but they just need a little push. Seeing influencers explore new wonders, trying new things, and even traveling to different countries again, will stimulate consumer’s desires to resume old habits.
There’s a reason why Instagram influencers received a rise in popularity in recent years. Even as consumers go out and live their lives offline, they are constantly connected to the internet to find the “new high” and latest trends. That’s why online touchpoints are extremely engaging and important for companies to invest in.
2. Digital transformation
During the pandemic, we get to see a lot of companies getting creative with their business models to keep themselves relevant, such as grocery subscriptions, ghost kitchens, online fitness classes, etc. Many small businesses rushed to build their e-commerce platforms within 24 hours.
Fintech is also on the brink of out-performing the tech industry. To support the digitization of businesses and stimulate the economy, there is an increasing amount of financial tech solutions popping up for online payments such as Venmo, PayPal, Facebook Payment, etc. Naturally, since consumers are moving online, cybersecurity solutions should also be in high demand.
These options are there and they are convenient for consumers, so why wouldn’t people continue to use them? Technology has already changed the way businesses operate, the pandemic was the push that forced companies towards digital transformation. This presents an infinite amount of opportunities for your company’s product and service development, online marketing strategies, and lead generation. The worst place to be is helplessly getting caught in a pandemic again, so build your digital platform and strengthen your online relationships with your customers.
3. Becoming agile
When Covid-19 began to terrorize the world in late 2019, many companies got hit because they weren’t prepared for it. None of those long-term strategic business plans could have predicted the catastrophic consequences of a pandemic. But a more agile and shorter-term strategy could have.
Taival compares the process of building your business strategy to Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America. The truth is when Columbus set out for his excursion, he initially aimed for India. But the harsh weather and rough wind on seawater are fickle, so he had to adjust his sails accordingly. Going with this analogy, a shorter strategy cycle does not mean that a new strategy must be implemented, but rather your strategy should be tested against the current environment every 1 to 2 months, or even shorter than that.
The biggest challenge with being agile is getting top management to go along. This is indeed a mindset that takes a long time to shape and spread across the company. But we think that after this pandemic, companies should have learnt a big lesson about flexibility and change management, which are essential for their business survival. To keep your business strategy nimble, we recommend:
💡 Keep your eyes and ears opened for the latest trends or changes in the world.
💡 Don’t fight the current, go with the change.
💡 Focus on your customers’ needs and pivot.
💡 Constant experimentation in small quantities.
💡 Leadership support and company-wide implementation.
4. Growing awareness
Besides the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has also been shaken by events such as the Australian bushfires, Black Lives Matter movement, Beirut explosion, Amazon rainforest continuous burning, the USA political happenings, and many more. 2020 has been a rough year for us all, with all the horrors that have been happening, there is a need for emotional connections, guidance, and positivity.
More than a great product or service, consumers now demand inclusivity, ethicality, and sustainability in the brand message. As the generation that will have to face the consequences of climate change, it is extremely important to younger consumers that companies use their power to advocate for sustainability and take action for a better future. There is a high expectation for product packages or marketing material to be modern and environmentally friendly. Your marketing and advertising efforts should be mindful of the current sentiments, customer needs, and political climate. Check out these ads that strongly resonate with customers during the Covid-19 and as a result, they were able to gain support, virality, and brand awareness.
Flashy ads might attract explosive attention in a short time, but trustworthy brands with a genuine desire to understand and help their customers win the long game of relationship building.
5. Technological advancements bring opportunities for better online ads
Even with a pandemic, humanity is at the peak of innovation. Numerous technological advancements in space exploration, medical achievements, biotech, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, 5G connectivity, cybersecurity, and Internet of Things (IoT) were made this year. How will companies take advantage of these opportunities for their business in 2021?
For example, 5G will provide a superior internet connection. This is a tremendous game-changer for digital advertisement. Wider internet coverage will massively improve customer reach, and faster speed leads to higher ad quality with newly added features. Online ads can be served on different devices with more advanced visuals and media. When combined with AR/VR, companies can create interactive ads that introduce a brand new digital experience to their customers. Products and services can be brought to life in a more realistic way. Find out how AR/VR can be implemented for enterprise use for your business.
Video ads will be taken to a different level. With a 5G connection, video streaming can be as fast as your brain can react. Together with AI-powered IoT devices, video ads can be made into a “choose your own adventure” format, which allows consumers to interact with the ads mid-play. We hope to see more Bandersnatch of video ads in the future! Marketers are hopeful that more interactive and higher resolution ads will keep consumers from clicking away or blocking the ads. Moreover, faster data transmission allows marketers to receive marketing performance analytics in real-time and make personalized advertisements.
Better internet connection also brings growth opportunities for IoT. The possibilities are endless with smart devices/vehicles, smart homes, smart offices, and even smart cities. This is a totally new game for online ads, which can be placed in different formats according to their placement. Omnichannel and cross-channel marketing will begin to gain popularity to ensure a seamless customer experience.
We mentioned above that more consumers will spend time online, this development will surely keep them there for a long time. Companies that heavily rely on traditional marketing methods like cable TV, magazines, or newspapers will become less relevant if they don’t bring their business online. Stay relevant by building your website, developing an integrated digital marketing strategy, creating a video, or making an online ad.
What do you think of our picks for the biggest business trends in 2021? Is your company quite ready for the incoming changes?
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