It is impossible to discuss marketing trends that are occurring right now without referring to Covid. This one event has had more impact on our industry than any other in the last twenty years. It has been transformational and without putting to fine a point on it, it has changed the way businesses conduct marketing.

With so many out of work, consumers have turned to the internet for more of their entertainment, news and education and with the steady loss of cable tv subscribers, they have opted for online streaming and YouTube.

Ecommerce Marketing is Receiving a Lot of Interest

The numbers are not completely in yet for 2020 but here is a glimpse of what was seen earlier this year.

In the midst of the pandemic and retailers taking such a hit from closures and the publics hesitation to frequent retail stores, many of these businesses chose to add online stores to their websites. Many out of work individuals also decided to try their hand at an alternate revenue source with ecommerce. With this new entrance into the online world, many are finding out that brick & mortar is far different than selling online and as such, there is a new learning curve for SEO, Paid Ads and Social Media.

Marketing agencies would do well by offering educational opportunities to these consumers. Winning them over through trust in your capabilities and knowledge has been the most effective sales approach for long lasting relationships.

The Adoption of Voice Search

While only a small percentage of consumers are using Alexa from Amazon or a Google Home on a regular basis, retailers and service companies are striving to make sure they do not miss out on the next big wave like they have in other online trends. You will find many agencies scrambling to put a Voice offering on their websites and struggle to determine just how to get their clients to be the first result that these devices recommend.

Knowing how these companies select the results takes time and research, but the market will be increasing exponentially as with so many other platforms in the past.

Native Video – Social Media

The cost of server space keeps going down and now online platforms have embraced the idea of and see the value of consumers and businesses uploading their video recordings directly to their platform rather than providing a link to YouTube and Vimeo. Because of this, the algorithms of these social media platforms are organically favoring these posts to entice everyone to natively post on their own accounts. None of them want to lose a visitors attention to another platform.

Each platform has it’s own requirements so it is in an agencies best interest to get to know these requirements, keep up with their changes and new offerings as well as develop strategies for clients to get the best results for each.

Local and Micro Influencers are the Best Bargains Out There

Step aside Kim Kardashian. The cost of having a mega influencer post on behalf of your brand is becoming very expensive. It is cost prohibitive for small to medium sized businesses to invest such a high dollar amount into a single post for a one time endorsement. There are however influencers for everyone out there.

There are local celebrities right in your own town that are well known and can have a large impact for a very low cost. While others may not be local, there are very niche influencers with smaller audiences and very loyal followers and can get you in front of your target market on a national scale. They are often very affordable and you’d be surprised how many will provide the service for free product.

The Rise of Virtual Conferences

Whether Corona is gone or not in 2021, virtual is here to stay. In person conferences is a huge industry. Many companies spend a high degree of time, effort, scheduling and money on multiple events per year. This applies to visitors and booth sponsors alike. Manufacturers and SAAS companies are discovering that they can, with the right strategy and marketing automation, conduct online trade shows and seminars at a fraction of the cost.

It sometimes takes something like a major disruption to shift the mindset of consumers and businesses. Just like the shift to work from home. you will find more trade shows and seminars are going to forego travel, lodging, equipment and all of the work that goes onto these events for the ease and ROI of online.

Increase in Podcast Sponsorships

Getting in front of a targeted audience is the objective of any smart sponsor, and you won’t find any media more focused on industry topics than podcasts. People are increasingly listening while they run on the treadmill, work in the yard and during their daily drive. You will hardly find anyone now who can’t say they don’t have a favorite show.

The real attraction for advertisers is the boundless variety. Thousands are being started every day and the topic range is becoming enormous. If you haven’t looked into this as an offering to your clients, now is as good a time as any. There are a boundless number of ways that they have automated monetization. So you can target and reach out to individuals or tap into numerous platforms.

Webinars are Becoming Even More Popular

Just like the online trade shows, people are finding webinars are increasing in popularity. Since so many people have been working form home or just plain sitting at home, the consumer market has found more time to learn about new ideas. Career change, starting new businesses, adjusting to the new economy. Because of this, there is a ready audience willing to spend 45 minutes watching someone present their product and service in an interactive, online environment. This is a huge opportunity for one of your brands to introduce themselves to the market.

Diversification as an Online Strategy

Before digital became so big, traditional marketing was often one dimensional for businesses. A company would choose a form of marketing and mostly focus on that media. Direct mail, tv ads, cold calling for leads. As digital started to take the lions share of marketing budgets, a similar trend occurred. Many companies found success in SEO and neglected their social media. Or paid search drove lots of new customers so there was no need to create online video.

As more media platforms are becoming available at a very affordable cost, we are seeing businesses branch out and giving multiple media platforms a chance and finding that a lot of their content can be repurposed across these channels with the right strategy for each. Podcasts and Twitch channels are becoming as common place for businesses as Facebook and YouTube.

The ability to test out multiple campaigns at a very low cost for testing each has shifted marketing managers to embrace more platforms rather than a few

Localized Streaming Advertising

Similar to television running local tv ads, you will find more of the online streaming services such as IMDB and Hulu making their advertising platforms more friendly to local SMB advertisers. Since it is all digital , it can be just as targeted as other online paid ads. With this, you will see lots of marketing dollars going from traditional tv and cable going over to these online services.

Google is Factoring UX into Their Algorithm

Lots of marketers have been referring to this as already being a ranking factor, but Google recently announced that it is actually happening this year. This means all of those websites that may have been outdated and clients were holding out on redeveloping, this would be a good time to do so. More thought needs to go into user experience as we move forward.

Sales Will be a Bigger Focus Than Brand for Companies

Lots of businesses will see revenues down for 2020. Because of this, companies both big and small will be focused more on conversions than building brand. Requests for videos will likely be more focused on cost than value. Less building awareness and more discounts. The bottom of the funnel will be on more PowerPoint presentations and less touchpoints in customer journeys.

Prepare your content creators for a mindset shift. It will be a short term shift but will likely be dominant for 2021.

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