The new year is here and, for many of us, 2020 felt like one of the longest we could remember. Between basic health and safety, to socio-economic stresses, COVID-19 reshaped the way we work and play. With nearly one full month of 2021 behind us, small businesses and brands need to stop working in survival mode and start planning to keep pace with the top 2021 marketing trends experts predict will be critical to staying competitive.
Our research and industry conversations have isolated two primary themes that brands must focus on as we move further into 2021: communication and inclusion. Done well, both of these strengthen the connection your clients feel for your business, inspiring brand loyalty.
Read on for some guidance and remember, our team is ready to help you manage these new marketing expectations.
Although businesses will still use short message services (SMS) to engage with customers, the trend is shifting in favor of rich communication services (RCS), thanks to its success with B2C subscription services like Spotify. In fact, experts predict that Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the protocol that will eventually replace SMS. Major brands like Verizon are starting to integrate this technology in their products, specifically Samsung devices.
Forbes Councils Member, Matt Ramerman, predicts that national chain restaurants will begin implementing RCS messaging, partly due to the fact that COVID-19 caused these businesses to rely more than ever on delivery platforms. Even before the pandemic hit, Subway was experimenting with RCS messaging, which you scope out here in this quick 2-minute video.
Upgrading your business’ conversational marketing tool to RCS from SMS will help support a stronger, more authentic connection with your customers.
In order to keep up with this drive for more responsive conversational marketing, businesses will want to rely on chatbots for more than just customer support. According to Ramerman’s prediction:
“Top brands will assert ownership of chatbots — from low-code development (which decreases the need for IT involvement) to designing suites of chatbots with personas that match their customer personas in tone, words and attitude. In late 2021, the hottest marketing job might just be the chatbot copywriter.”
Just like upgrading to RCS, implementing chatbots and AI is all about enhancing the customer experience by offering more than support, but accessing greater insights into what they really want and expect from your business. It’s all about inviting a two-way conversation, as opposed to a simple call and response to an inquiry or issue.
Content Mission: Curate and Optimize
As business owners, we know how critical content is; however, the habit of using content somewhat uniformly across all channels is no longer going to cut it. Smart marketing will involve prioritizing which channels do the most for your brand.
Once identified, content must be carefully curated and optimized. In other words, the email content that you then pushed to social will no longer hit the mark when it comes to personalizing a message for your audience.
Ramerman explains what this looks like when managed by smart marketers:
“Put simply, this means they understand which channel has a higher value, so they can more fluidly and strategically optimize content and programs when it matters most, rather than using a broad-brush approach. In addition, they will take personalization across channels to the next level — moving from testing to mainstream. Successful marketers understand that if you are not personalizing to the individual, you’re failing.”
Ultimately, to stay on trend and remain successful, focus on real communication and authentic value as your marketing priorities this year.
If you feel overwhelmed by the task before you, take a breath and then take a minute to send us an email. Our team is ready to strategize and support your marketing efforts for better business in 2021.