Please see Trends for 2022 for all the latest promotional product and marketing material information.
2021 marketing is going to be entirely altered by the previous year of business. 2020 put a wrench in almost everything. Businesses had to pivot constantly just to keep up. Now that we’ve entered a new year, things don’t simply reset. There still is the possibility of more unexpected shifts, but we’ve proven in 2020 that we can ride them out.
For businesses looking forward to 2021, first and foremost, stay on your toes. Just because the year changed doesn’t mean the world has reset. However, it is safe to say that we will likely return to an alternate form of the normalcy that existed in 2019, during this year.
We say an alternate form because 2020 has affected our way of doing business, in such a profound manner that it will forever be altered. We are entering a new normal and as business owners, we all are trying to define what this new normal is.
Mind you, while businesses are looking for the new normal, so are customers. 2020 changed the way companies always used to conduct business. The customer had to adapt as much or more so than the businesses themselves. So much volatility, adds stress to the consumer. This brings us to our first marketing trend of 2021: consistency.
Marketers must give consumers something to hold onto and recognize to pull them out of the realm of 2020 uncertainty and into the reliable present of 2021. Businesses that have already been executing on consistency are primed for this strategy and will only appease their customers further. If your business has changed as much as 2020 has, it’s time to start layering in levels of consistency for your customers.
This is carried out through the way your customers receive and perceive your marketing materials. Consistency is apparent when both digital and traditional marketing materials follow the same strategy. Showing up for your consumer online isn’t enough. To offer full circle consistency and express reliability, your business needs to incorporate traditional marketing means that work in tandem with your digital strategy.
Trend number 2 is simplicity. 2020 was a year of overwhelming. Change happened what feels like every month and many businesses were increasing their output to try anything that would get them the business they need to stay operating.
Consumers were bombarded with messages, offers, marketing materials, ads and the most straining part on the consumer’s side was not the amount they were receiving but the constant pivoting or mixing of messages. There were too many options. When that happens, overwhelm sets in and following that: inaction.
2021 marketers need to offer simplicity to the consumer this year. That means developing a marketing strategy and following that through long enough to measure its success and learn from it, rather than tossing it after a short period of time because your business needs revenue now and it can’t wait.
We saw a lot of this in 2020: a digital ad pushes one message and a mailer pushes another. When this happens it causes a riff and presents too many options for the consumer. When you are successfully being consistent, you also need to keep simplicity in mind.
Your printed materials should match or support your digital materials. You need both for consistency and you need both to offer your consumer the materials they prefer to receive. 2021 will be largely dictated by the consumer. 2020 saw a huge push in business-driven decisions. 2021 will see that trend flip to the consumer.
Take the time in 2021 to explore your customer base as if anew. Business has changed due to 2020 but so has the consumer. Test out different marketing materials and mediums. Traditional marketing may be a breath of fresh air for consumers who spent more time online in 2020 than any other year.
Don’t rely solely on trends of past years, they may no longer be applicable.
In 2021, destress the consumer by offering consistency, eliminate overwhelm by offering simplicity and reevaluate the consumer you used to know. Changes are still coming from what remains of 2020’s impact on our new year.