2020 is over, for some, a year of contrasts and bad omens, for others, a time of learning and reflection. For those of us with an interest in digitisation and new technologies, it is a particular period of great advances. In many ways, we can say that the past year represented an opportunity for the exponential growth of areas such as remote working and study and for the explosion of digital initiatives. Marketing in this area has been cemented, not just as a possibility, but as an obligation. So, we need to review the marketing trends for 2021, because many forecasts have fallen away, transforming to adapt to this new reality.
This is a basic question, the answer to which allows us to understand the reasons for trends in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a number of conditions that fostered various productive environments. Teleworking, the drive for online business experiences, the exponential growth of applications of all kinds. It is such a complex universe that we are still studying it to identify its scope. What is essential is that it has transformed the way we see and assimilate everyday tasks such as shopping at the supermarket or the children’s homework at home.
This radical change stimulated digital competence in all possible areas, accelerating technologies that were already in the pipeline. Especially in the field of artificial intelligence and augmented virtual reality, as well as Big Data or recognition technologies. All this has created a context for new and very interesting applications in the digital world, which we will analyse below.
This is not a loose statement, it is a race in which the frontrunners recognised long ago the importance of automation. Telework has simply accelerated the trend. We therefore need to understand that it is a revolution of the same kind as the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Companies have to adapt because of competitiveness and because digital technologies are also taking over production spaces. The same goes for the mentality of the buyer, who is moving to products made within the framework of these trends. It is a profound change, which will, in fact, transform society as a whole.
Towards the end of last year, changes in many industries were already becoming apparent. Particularly in the area of communication and connection that brings people together in a radical way. The technologies available in these areas, as well as in automation, have evolved so rapidly that it will be very difficult for all of us to adapt at the same pace. Hence the importance of being aware of them and taking them into consideration in our own businesses.
We have always thought of rewards as ways to connect with our target audience. Giving something in return for a purchase. However, in 2021, we are witnessing a qualitative increase in that concept. It is no longer just about giving, it is about participating directly with our customers in solving their problems and needs. It is an attitude that is also related to other socio-cultural environments that are emerging day by day, such as the circular economy, the generation of shared value, corporate social responsibility and the like. All of this has a direct impact on the way we do marketing, because our company must always be seen as socially responsible and committed.
In this way, the value we add expands to the customer, but also to its environment and society. This creates empathy with business values and a very particular type of loyalty, marked precisely by sharing the ethics of the companies that provide us with their products.
It is a technique called Storydoing, as opposed to Storytelling, which refers to a person who is involved in the construction of the narrative. Stories that foster a connection with our company, developing a deep and mutually satisfying relationship. The user creates the story together with the company and really gets involved in it.
This is a big business trend, but it is taking shape in marketing through its full exploitation. The possibilities have multiplied, not only in quantity but also in quality. Similar to the expansion of mobile devices, it is a form of democratisation of access to information and, therefore, a marketing channel, which, in addition, becomes more economical and accessible. The possibilities in this case are endless and include the alternative of segmenting your audience and finding a suitable platform for each segment at the same cost.
It is perhaps one of the segments that has experienced a sustained growth, evidenced by the restrictions of mobility. The most striking aspect for marketing is the promotional channels for competitions and events of all kinds. So we should evaluate the possibility of accessing such channels and placing our campaigns, especially for young and technologically engaged audiences.
It is an indisputable fact that artists, from big names to emerging artists, have been concentrating on trying the digital crossover for the past year. For many it has been frustrating, but it is a trend that is not going to stop in the immediate future and as time goes by, on the contrary, it will consolidate. It is a highly exploitable space because the public is already prepared for this type of event.
Here again, the sky is the limit, and of course, your creativity. Intelligent recognition is already at the stage of recognising customer behaviour. This will allow campaigns to become increasingly targeted and personalised. Machine Learning will play a decisive role in this area, allowing machines to learn and propose strategies without much direct human intervention.
And these are just the ones we consider most interesting, but we can add alternatives such as virtual reality experiences for shoppers; biometric identification via the web; optimisation of the interaction of organisational communication chatbots and so on.