4 Key Marketing Trends For 2021
4 min read

4 Key Marketing Trends For 2021

The new marketing trends emerging for 2021 are evolving to align with the imposed adjustments of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If we’ve learned anything from the past year, it’s that our grasp of what’s normal is certainly changeable.

Life has transformed from handshakes and hugs to virtual greetings and social engagement through a laptop screen.

Lives that were never before played out in the digital landscape have been forced to do so. From virtual medical appointments, to birthday parties via video call and beyond, the world is evolving.

For the marketing industry, however, it’s not just been required to contend with COVID-19. There have been waves of uncertainty created from protests, political unrest and natural disasters. This kind of turbulence naturally makes businesses and brands uncomfortable with the prospect of parting with budget for marketing, meaning agility is key.

Thriving in such a climate can be assisted by understanding the latest and future marketing trends. Keeping these in your armoury can be invaluable. Many marketers have helped clients work through the challenges 2020 posed and flourish – so there’s a real feeling that 2021 can be prosperous in the digital marketing arena.

In this guide, we detail current and emerging trends in the world of marketing for 2021 and help your business capitalise on these exciting movements.

What 2021 marketing trends will we be discussing?

  1. Further adoption of AI
  2. Virtual events
  3. Social commerce
  4. In-house marketing

1. Further adoption of AI

The adoption of tech has been incredibly valuable for many brands and their marketing teams in recent years. Yet, AI will evolve even further in 2021 and beyond!

Consumers are more demanding than ever before. They expect personalisation and seamless experiences with a brand. And if they don’t get this? They’ll simply look elsewhere. This is where the adoption of quality Artificial Intelligence (AI) can truly benefit a brand with broadening reach, but maintaining great marketing and great service.

This is just some of what we expect in marketing technology from 2021:

  • Digital transformation in a number of aspects is set to snowball
  • Growth of cross-channel integration
  • Marketing will thrive on thorough data insights
  • Personalisation will continue to be key

What does this look like in practice?

The Application Programming Interface (API) technology and advanced algorithms we use at Bannerflow are invaluable for the automation and personalisation that’s crucial for digital advertising. By using a single platform for the whole lifecycle of your digital marketing campaign, you’ll benefit from powerful optimisation and efficiency.

By removing any production headaches, you can focus on continually making improvements across the board. This in turn caters for customer demand and helps keep the consumer at the heart of what you do.

2. Virtual events

Connection with others has never been more important than it is in a world of physical social distancing. The sheer volume of virtual events that we saw occur during 2020 were due to necessity – but will one of the biggest current marketing trends fade away post-pandemic? We don’t think so.

Although there’s certainly an element of fatigue when it comes to the prospect of virtual conferences and video calls – that doesn’t mean this trend will disappear. In fact, there’s a real sense of accessibility and practicality about these events – brands can reach wider audiences, thus breaking down logistical and geographical barriers. Of course, this also results in a more favourable ROI.

Is there a catch?

With this trend comes a caveat – customers need to feel connections and businesses will continue to search for these in a number of ways. However, virtual events have less power and command less attention if it’s a one-way affair. Engagement before, during and after the event could be important, as could a live element of discussions and panels where your customers can contribute with questions.

3. Social commerce

4 Key Marketing Trends For 2021 internal imagel

As we outlined in our social media advertising trends report for 2021, more than half of the world’s population now uses social media and this is set to rise even further. An IAB study shows that four markets spent a staggering €1bn on social advertising in 2019, with 14 more paying out €100m. The growth of social media users in more recent times will naturally see these numbers rise.

What’s exciting for trends in the marketing industry, though, is that social media’s function is also evolving! 2021 is set to be the year that these platforms are increasingly utilised as channels for purchase.

How can marketers take advantage of social commerce?

Social media platforms themselves have made, and continue to make, it far easier for a user to purchase without leaving the channel in question – Facebook and Instagram are particularly good for this.

Marketers can capitalise on the following and more:

  • Story formats will have even more of a moment in 2021. Swipe ups could be key for a brand’s social commerce.
  • Influencer marketing will also continue to rise. Look out for paid partnerships with people users trust inspiring purchasing decisions.
  • The creative automation of ad production.  Personalisation breeds relevancy, which converts to sales.

Note – Brands might start to look at focusing their social media marketing efforts on certain platforms. Those with a plethora of channels could begin to pare down their socials to only the most relevant in order to provide the best service and content possible.

4. In-housing

The act of bringing creative marketing in-house is one of the trends we’ve previously spoken about. In fact, our 2021 report showed that one outcome of in-housing is positive ROI according to 63 percent of the brands we spoke to. The impact of global uncertainty will have had every business decision maker the world over looking at budget and expenditure.

That’s why in-housing is one of the latest marketing trends that isn’t going to fade away – it’s almost certainly going to grow. Bringing your marketing team in-house means they have a thorough understanding of the business and can have full control of campaigns. This, coupled with the kind of state-of-the-art CMP Bannerflow offers can produce powerful and efficient results for any business.

In-housing in practice

This is one of the marketing trends that seems to be gathering pace across a range of industries and will continue to in the future. While not all industries are ready or equipped to completely bring marketing efforts in-house, AdWeek highlights that the latest sector to look into this in 2021 is hospitality.

The pandemic hit both the travel and hospitality industries hard, with many brands having to bring business activities to a complete halt. Others were able to diversify and become creative with fresh offerings. Yet, in many instances, marketing agencies were on expenditure lists. Naturally this has forced some big brands to create internal creative agencies. For example, Marriott and Hilton are just two of the latest to attempt to do so.

The state of in-housing 2021 launch blog header


What’s clear from many of these trends is that digital transformation is at the heart of marketing’s future. Keeping your finger firmly on the pulse of these developments will help you reap the benefits during 2021 and beyond.

What’s interesting is that many of these trends feed into one another – in-housing is enhanced by AI and can create a more comprehensive and positive customer experience, for example. Investing more time in personalised social media marketing campaigns means brands can also provide users with seamless commerce experiences.

Creating a holistic, customer-focused digital marketing strategy while harnessing the power of technology can truly create a recipe for success.

Apply for a demo of Bannerflow’s Creative Management Platform today. Follow these 2021 trends then create, distribute, and measure the performance of your marketing efforts from our advanced cloud-based platform.

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