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What Will Marketing Look Like In 2021?

As we reflect on 2020, it is safe to say that it was a year full of unexpected twists and turns. Business owners were forced to make drastic changes in a matter of days and weeks, rather than the usual months and years and the impact has been felt in every sector.

With a huge shift to online working, e-commerce shopping, virtual-socialising and more, there are a few distinct trends that have formed and thrived this year.


1. Video Marketing

Now we all know video marketing is not a new invention – in fact we mentioned it in our trends to watch in 2020 – it has been around for years but as smart devices, the internet and technology evolves, marketing strategies naturally keep developing.

In 2019 alone, internet users watched 1.1 billion hours of live video and while this figure was sure to have grown on its own, the global pandemic crisis has added fuel to the fire.

Real-time streaming of videos otherwise known as lives, have quickly become one of the most popular types of content online, with the industry being worth an estimated $70.5 billion by 2021.

According to mobile industry analysts Sensor Tower, one in three Brits – 24 million people – have TikTok installed on their devices, showcasing live video now becoming a necessity for many industries like fashion, music and entertainment.

It’s no wonder brands and huge events like Glastonbury Festival and London Fashion Week jumped on board, allowing their audiences to engage and experience the events remotely.



Due to the increased popularity of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reel, for many businesses, live video has been the saviour of 2020 due to the convenience, relatability and accessibility it provides.

We are therefore expecting easy-to-make, easy-to-watch, short-form videos advertisements to become the new norm 2021.


2. Social Commerce

Embraced by big brands and small businesses alike, shoppable posts are becoming the way of the future.

With the introduction of Facebook shops, Instagram shops and Pinterst Shopping Ads, social commerce is set to become one of the biggest marketing and eCommerce trends of the coming year.


In 2021, it is estimated over 2.14 billion people worldwide will buy products online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.

With research showing that customers are more likely to buy when presented with a streamlined shopping experience, social commerce gives brands the opportunity to optimise the shopping experience across multiple channels and platforms, allowing customers to purchase products at every step of the way.

As online shoppers turn to social media for shopping purchases, it is more important than ever to make your brand, products and services shoppable on social media, especially as more businesses transition to digital to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic.


3. Remote Working

Many businesses were caught off guard and forced to quickly adapt to remote working this year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. For many, this is a brand-new way of working.

We’ve all become familiar with Zoom over the year, with it quickly become a household name, just like WebexTeams and Google Hangouts etc. These digital tools provide videoconferencing from the comfort of your own home, enabling work colleagues to create and share content, interact, virtually onboard employees as well as much more.

In 2021, we may see more professionals choosing to work from anywhere in the world, not just simply working from home. This could involve moving to the countryside and out of cities, moving countries as well as moving back home.

In a recent survey, research has shown 71% of UK tech employees would relocate to a different country and 8% would move to a different region if they were able to work remotely and keep their position in a company.  

As a result of this, it’s likely we’ll also see more remote businesses hiring overseas.



4. Brand Authenticity

Over the past year, everyone around the globe has faced a global pandemic and uncertain financial times. This will undoubtably carry on into 2021, and at this point, many brands are taking note by embracing their human side and authenticity into their digital marketing channels.

A staggering 86% of shoppers view authenticity as a huge factor in purchasing decisions showcasing photoshopped adverts and picture-perfect models no longer have an appeal to modern day shoppers. They would much rather spend their money with companies that are honest with them and represent real-life.

In 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, reported that only 34% of consumers trust brands they buy from. So, when it comes to promoting authenticity, you may wish to share where you source your materials or how you inspect for quality to help customers learn a little bit more about what your brand does.

While many companies have spoken directly about their thoughts relating to the coronavirus pandemic, others have shown authenticity by focusing on their customers through user-generated content or customer testimonials.



5. Micro influencers will continue to rise

As you will know, influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using a popular creator to amplify your brand message to a larger audience. 

Influencers can be well-known celebrities, but more often they are Instagram or YouTube personalities with a huge niche following who can help spread the word about your business or product by endorsing your products.

With the result of their audience seeing these endorsements as genuine reviews and taking their words for it. In fact, studies show that 70% of millennial consumers buying decisions are influenced.

In 2021, we will see the rise of Micro or Nano influencers (<25k followers), and below we’ve highlighted 3 reasons as to why you should consider working with micro-influencers:


    I. Higher Engagement Rates

Markerly studied Instagram engagement and found a surprising trend: As an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases.


     II. Niche Audience

Since the audience of micro-influencers is relatively smaller, their followers are more likely to follow them because they have similar interests. This gives you a real chance to reach out to a highly-targeted audience for your brand.

Likewise, if the content that influencers post is relevant to the niche of your brand, their followers will likely receive your sponsored posts with the same enthusiasm. This means that you’ll be able to get high-quality leads by partnering with micro-influencers.



With a smaller following, they’re less likely to come with a big price tag, so think about offering them some of your products in exchange for a certain amount of content or to take part in a referral scheme.

The unpredictable nature of 2020 has forced companies to think long and hard about how they connect with their consumers.

Government lockdowns meant shop closures and people ordered to stay-at-home, resulting in them spending a lot more time browsing the internet. Brands have had to think outside of the box and create a more human-centric way or reaching their buyers.

Over the next 12 months, we will continue to adjust to the current climate and the brands whom understand their consumers better and their changing needs will come out stronger than before.

How are you adapting your digital marketing to changing behaviours in 2021?

NICOLA MONGON is the MD of Spotlight Recruitment, the leading marketing recruitment agency in the UK since 2008. Read our 5* Google reviews from candidates and clients to find our more. If you would like to discuss recruitment, you can reach Spotlight on 020 3008 4254 or info@spotlightrecruitment.com.