Are you prepared for growth in 2021? In this article, 15 CEOs, thought leaders, and experts share their 2021 business and marketing trend predictions so you can prepare your business and marketing plans for the new year. 

2021 Business and Marketing Digital Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate, how employees work, our communication methods, customer expectations, and how marketers protect and grow brands.

In 2021, we will continue the progression of digital acceleration across all channels of business – from commerce to communication, marketing to customer service. Businesses who adapt to the new normal will succeed and grow, outpacing others who are resistant to change.  As the great Greek Philosopher, Heraclitus said, “ the only constant in life is change.” Is your business ready for the New Year? 

Here are key trends your business should consider to position itself for success in 2021: 

  1. Digital Acceleration, E-Commerce and Channel Convergence 
  2. Customers Want Answers – Optimize Your Search
  3. Cybersecurity Advances to Centerstage
  4. ABM Marketing Technology Enhances Sales and Conversion
  5. International and 3D E-Commerce, Ethical Marketing, and Supply Chain Optimization
  6. Amazon’s One-Click Buying Behavior Drives Competition and Opportunity
  7. Consumer Habits Drive Change Across Shipping, Social Media and Privacy
  8. E-Commerce Changes SEO and Organic Competition Surges 
  9. Social Media Enters the Marketplace Arena and Positivity is Rewarded 
  10. Email Marketing Delivers Cost-Effective ROI at the Right Time
  11. E-Commerce Platform Wars and the Consolidation of Hosting
  12. Remote Work Continues – Employee Expectations Shift 
  13. SMBs Recover with a Digital-First Mindset
  14. Local Marketing Escalates as People Migrate from Cities to Suburbs  
  15. Expand Your Online Footprint and Communication Channels

Amanda Price – Boostability, VP of Marketing

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#1: Digital Acceleration, E-Commerce Growth and Channel Convergence

E-commerce adoption continues to grow

The pandemic brought record-breaking growth in online retail. E-commerce penetration in the U.S. grew from 16% to 27% in the six weeks after the global pandemic was declared (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). It’s a staggering number if you consider that the same rate of growth took 10 years before COVID-19. While goliaths like Amazon and Target are leading the charge, SMBs are crossing the chasm quickly. Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor survey shows that 40% of businesses want to sell more online, and 41% want to be more nimble and adoptive. Expect more record-breaking ecommerce adoption for SMBs, but a slump in total retail sales through the early months of 2021.

Dynamic Data

As the pandemic continues through 2021, expect business information to change more frequently. Digital listings accuracy will become critically important as businesses adjust their hours and in-store expectations. Consumer habits will continue to shift online, and frequently updated transactional websites will become an ever-present norm.

Robotic Process Automation

Consumers expect delightful online experiences, whether they’re dealing with e-commerce-only websites or the small business around the corner. With so many small and medium businesses (SMBs) looking to transact and communicate online, the automation of tasks such as meeting scheduling, notifications, and invoice approvals will be critically important. In 2021, there is no time for toil.

Channel Convergence

The new year is ushering in new channel relationships. Expect the lines between Martech and more traditional ICT and distribution channels to blur. As technology evolves with acquisitions and marketplace integrations, agencies and SMBs can expect to work with fewer providers to meet their varying needs.

Jeff Tomlin – Vendasta, Co-Founder and CMO

Jeff Tomlin

 

#2: Customers Want Answers – Optimize Your Search 

As we wind into 2021 a couple of things will become more obvious. Our world has changed – everything from workplaces to customer expectations have undergone a dramatic transformation. On top of that, customers are expecting clear answers more, now than ever before.

If we dig into customer expectations, we’ll see it ties into the second point. The part of “what your business can do”. Consumers expect more answers and they expect clarity. After all, they’re just trying to make a decision they can feel good about. Selecting a doctor for their family, buying a new TV, getting the car fixed – all everyday things fraught with misinformation, dead ends, and frustration. Google talks about this in their Messy Middle whitepaper. It’s not about getting people through to a conversion as we move them forward through our “models”. Pursuing that path alone won’t work overtime. What will work is answering questions, building trust with consumers, and being seen as an authoritative resource. You need to keep people engaged.

Google recently announced a change where BERT processing was being applied to 100% of indexed content, instead of the previous 10% level. That’s a massive step up and indicates that Google trusts it’s system’s abilities to bring back the right answers for queries. The ability to tease out the answer within a complete page of content, to select just the needed paragraph that directly answers a question, is massive. And the bottom line here is if your business isn’t thinking about a knowledge graph-based data strategy if you’re not building a proper Knowledge Graph, you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re not using structured data fully, well, you’ll fall off the radar. You’ll be replaced by the snippets of content from around the web that Google knows provides the best answers to queries.

2021 will be the year of the Knowledge Graph, the year of Answers. It’ll be the year that empowered businesses reclaimed consumer searches and kept more of its value for themselves.

Duane Forrester – YEXT, VP of Industry Insights  
Duane Forrester

 

#3: Cybersecurity Advances to Centerstage

The pandemic has dominated 2020, resulting in an abrupt and immediate impact that dramatically shifted the cybersecurity priorities of nearly every business across the globe to support remote work, business continuity, e-commerce and efficient communications. As a result, our reliance and dependence on the internet has never been greater, or more at risk. We see this impacting 2021 in the following ways:

Cybersecurity Prevention Will Become as Important to Businesses as Insurance

In today’s new digital environment, the ‘rush’ for many business owners to get online and enhance the customer experience has resulted in a boom for web application platforms including allowing employees and customers remote access to your systems. However, this remote access often carries increased risk if proper security precautions are not in place. With the average cost of a breach now surpassing $3.86 million, businesses simply can’t afford not to invest in security solutions that will proactively protect their data, customers, employees, and ultimately their business. In particular, cybersecurity education and training for employees, along with secure communications and disaster recovery will become a standard requirement as working from home continues beyond the current environment.  

Cyberattacks Will Continue to Increase and Grow in Sophistication 

According to SiteLock research, websites are attacked 94 times per day on average, and nearly 13 million websites are infected with malware. These statistics are expected to increase as the threat landscape continues to evolve every day. Cybercriminals have capitalized on the pandemic, targeting vulnerabilities or weak links within the newly remote populations as well as industries that cannot afford to be offline, such as healthcare and financial organizations. Every person or business with an internet connection should expect to be a target and take proper security precautions to prevent the unnecessary consequences associated with a breach.

Damon FieldgateSiteLock, CEO 

 

#4: ABM Marketing Technology Enhances Sales and Conversion

Account Funnel Management Converts Sales Faster

  • The widespread adoption of the Account Funnel to complement the Demand Funnel which leads to MQL to opportunities.
  • Integrations between ABM platforms and Sales Automation continue the movement from Marketing to Sales in ownership of email nurturing.

Gabe Rogol – Demandbase, CEO

Gabe Rogol

Data-Driven Decisions Rule Marketing Discussions

  • In 2021, marketers will use intent data, AI, and orchestration technologies to combine the engage-ability of inbound marketing with the precision and targeting of ABM and the scale of marketing automation. 
  • They will use AI to identify the best accounts, intent data to predict which are in market, and automation to orchestrate the right interaction across sales and marketing channels for each stage of the account journey.

Jon Miller – Demandbase, CPO

john miller

Digital Journey Leaps Forward

  • Marketing and sales will move from talking about “alignment” to prioritizing “integration”, with teams doubling down on technology that helps them co-manage the buyer’s journey. 
  • Once you go digital, you don’t go back. Live events, field marketing activities, and other analog tactics will not fully rebound for 3+ years, as more and more companies execute their long awaited “digital transformation”, and don’t go back to the old days.

Peter Isaacson – Demandbase, CMO

peter isaacson

 

#5: International and 3D E-Commerce, Ethical Marketing, and Supply Chain Optimization 

Growing International E-commerce Opportunity

International e-commerce is becoming more interesting every year and more and more brands will continue to look outside of the US for growth. Flipkart in India has talked about going public which is interesting. The US isn’t 3xing their GMV growth the way these marketplaces outside of the US are. 

E-commerce is all about momentum, so once a brand gets established in a market, it’s a lot harder to displace them. Winning in the middle east today will be a lot easier than winning there in 10 years.

Due to the pandemic, certain places in Europe are closed, so people are moving to e-commerce platforms entirely. So the impact Covid has on eCommerce.

abroad is far greater than it’s been in the US and more and more people are turning to online shopping and so many brands should consider moving to those international online marketplaces to meet the demand.

People Will Continue to Shop Online More Retail Stores will Close

More than 6,300 brick and mortar stores will be closing in 2020. These retailers are going to either have to move online or risk bankruptcy. So there’s going to inevitably be trillions of dollars that move that really detrimental to the brick and mortar space. Real Estate is going to continue to go up and brick and mortar costs are so much higher than online You’re going to continue to see retailers go bankrupt. As soon as e-commerce penetration hits a certain threshold, brick and mortar can’t survive. There will always be destination retail, but it’s gonna get really competitive and hard to survive as a retail store.

Increase in Supply Chain Jobs

If your kids are thinking about a college degree, a massive focus that will happen next year is supply chain. There will be an influx in hiring within the supply chain sector because of the disruption that covid caused. There will be a natural, knee-jerk reaction with executives to fix supply chain. They are gonna look for backups and replacements for their current 3PLs and start eliminating layers where they might have failure points or completely bring it in house.

Brands with a Story and a Cause Will Win

With more people shopping online there is increased transparency into brands and what they stand for. There are reviews and pictures and information readily available. It changes the way people think about brands they support and the way they spend their money. More and more people are thinking about what a company’s initiatives are outside of just making money. People are going to have greater visibility and put more thought into the reason why they buy certain brands over others are going to change. People are thinking about brands in terms of ‘are they green?’, ‘are they cruelty-free?’, ‘are they vegan?’, ‘do they support a cause?’, etc. More and more people will essentially “vote with their dollar” and it’s easier to tell this story online versus in-store, on the shelf.

Increase in Visual Commerce

The innovation around creative and visual storytelling is gonna start getting interesting. You already see a lot of e-commerce brands doing this with augmented reality. Whoever innovates this and finds new ways to improve the online shopping experience like 360 images, augmented and virtual reality, holograms, or other futuristic visual innovation will win. Amazon is already doing a lot of this with wardrobe and “what does this look like in my room” feature. It’s a way to surprise, delight, and exceed the expectations of consumers. That’s how we like to shop.

John LeBaronPattern, CRO

John LeBaron

 

#6: Amazon’s One-Click Buying Behavior Drives Competition and Opportunity

Consumers made a major shift to purchasing online, particularly on Amazon, and that buying behavior will accelerate. Brands have experimented with innovation to enhance consumers’ online shopping experiences for years but now are racing to implement them. In 2021 brands will introduce and scale more sophisticated online fitting rooms, augmented and virtual reality shopping experiences, and AI-driven shopping assistants.

Companies will have to fight even harder on Amazon to increase visibility and maintain the integrity of their online brand assets. Winning online is no longer limited to a function of price. 3rd party merchants are increasingly more sophisticated at SEO for their online listings. They are adept at using language and images that will move consumers to act.  Companies will need greater control of their brands. They will also need to shift strategy and execution as quickly as online sellers do.

Already this year Walmart has made big moves to advance its 3rd party marketplace to better compete with Amazon. They’ve restructured and centralized their digital marketplace resources to fit within its omnichannel strategy, they’ve launched fulfillment services and now they are actively courting brands to play directly on its platform. They are in it to win it against Amazon and it’s turning into a modern-day gold rush for 3rd party merchants. In 2021, Walmart will further step up its pressure on Amazon, making it simpler for 3rd party merchants to organize storefronts and push through sales even at the expense of consumers’ brand experiences.

Trajan Bayly – GrayFalkon, CEO

Trajan Bayly

 

#7: Consumer Habits Drive Change Across Shipping, Social Media and Privacy

Advertisers Unlock TikTok

We’re already seeing Snap revenues grow dramatically as advertisers understand short-form video and platforms above and beyond Facebook and Google utilize machine learning to drive advertiser relevance. TikTok has a more diverse audience, a more sizable user base and the same quality of data. I see outsize advertiser spend and performance on TikTok grow as the platform evolves targeting and advertiser offerings.

Machine Learning Becomes Mainstream

While FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) have used machine learning for years and Fortune 500 companies have had data science teams driving performance, emerging technology vendors are now at the place where they are building on existing ML platforms to enable performance for the web ecosystem at scale.  I expect to see mid and even smaller organizations leveraging learnings from ML-as-a-service platforms such as Intent.com to drive performance.

Shopify Surprises Us with One Day Shipping

While it shouldn’t come as a surprise, the Shopify Fulfillment Network has been rapidly building in scale and capabilities.  As Amazon trains consumers to expect one day shipping, brands will be forced to adapt.  Shopify is one of the few platforms that can offer single day shipping at scale across a variety of eCommerce sites.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Shopify ramping in their distribution abilities, finally serving as a challenger to Amazon on shipping.

Populism Meets Privacy

With shifts in the political landscape, the populist issue that is consumer privacy truly gets steam.  We see a more comprehensive national version of CCPA make its way through Congress, making privacy tables instead of a differentiator for Apple.

Mark Fiske – H.I.G. Partners, Operating Partner (Marketing)

 

#8: E-commerce Changes SEO and Organic Competition Surges

Google made several big moves to its algorithm in the past few years with the focus on user intent. It’s changed the way SEO’s work to improve the content and improve websites in general for general consumption, and for search algorithms to rank websites. These are my thoughts on the SEO trends that we’ll see in 2021 and what we need to watch out for as SEO experts. 

Data Privacy

Google rolled back data availability over the years. From removing public pagerank scores to limiting keywords for PPC, I believe this will continue into 2021. With things like Google Analytics, Search Console, and even Keyword Planner slowly dropping what they provide, and sometimes that data is getting placed behind a paywall. Because of this trend, I firmly believe more third party data suppliers will start to take hold of the analytics market share. This could mean some competition for Google, which I hope will lead to the start of more transparent data for marketers and website owners. 

E-commerce Diversity

With the pandemic, e-commerce saw a huge boom in use. Because of this, I believe we will see either an expansion or even relaxation of EAT (expertise, authority, trustworthiness) emphasis for rankings. Specifically, I believe Google will release a ‘core’ update targeted towards e-commerce terms and the diversity of sites showing up. 

Competition Surge

I also expect to see a surge in organic competition in 2021  because of the rise in e-commerce options and change of search intent by consumers. Along with this, you’ll see the dramatic rise in paid digital advertising channels like Facebook and Google Adwords. Directly as a result of the pandemic, I also expect to see a large rise of organic spending to try and drive traffic. And I see it because of the high rate of unemployment we’re continuing to see. Many people are trying their hand at e-commerce and online selling as a source of income. From an SEO perspective, all these scenarios point towards a need to prioritize organic search to help supplement existing channels or even replace dying ones. All these things lead to the inevitable rise in competition and spike in organic resource allocation or spending by websites across the US and world. 

Colton MillerBoostability, Director of SEO

 

#9: Social Media Enters the Marketplace Arena and Positivity is Rewarded

If I were to describe 2020’s social marketing landscape in three words, they would be: powerful, uplifting, and necessary. Agility is key as we plan out our new 2021 marketing plans. It took some out of the box thinking to weather 2020, and it’s going to continue to play an important role in our 2021 social media plans. 

As businesses plan their 2021 social strategy, there are a few key trends that will be vital to success.

Shopability is Key

In a world where consumer behavior is ever more focused online, you need to make sure your products and services are available through your website. AND, increasingly more important, through your social media channels. All major channels have created shopping and buy now features to integrate right into your business page. Take advantage of newer shopping functionalities such as Facebook and Instagram Shops and Story stickers and TikTok’s “Shop Now” call-to-action feature. Make it as simple as possible for consumers to purchase from your business. People no longer want to just go into a store to see what’s there. They make decisions long before stepping into a store if they’ll make a purchase. You need to embrace the shift to online shopping and integrate it into your social media accounts. 

User-Generated Content

Your loyal customers are your best friends. They already like your products and services, take advantage of that to drive more traffic. People want to see the human side of your brand. They want to see the authentic side of things and make those personal connections. By using your customers to help with your content creation through your social channels, it helps to create that connection. This type of content helps create diverse content and allows others to see how they can use your business, especially if they can’t actually come visit your location right now. You can do this through video testimonials, reviews, and stories shared over TikTok, Instagram Reels, or Facebook stories. There are dozens of channels, experiment, and see what’s right for your business. 

Video Content Dominates

You likely already know that posts with an image get far more engagement on social media than just words. And above that, video gets far more engagement than just a photo. In 2021, video is king. Similar to the user-generated content, which should have a lot of videos, this implemented into your social strategy will drive more engagement. Live streaming is incredibly important. Find new ways to incorporate video into your social calendar. Those who do not risk falling dramatically behind. 

Agility is Key

Lastly, stay agile. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. You need to be agile and ready for what could come in the upcoming year. As you plan your strategies for social media, make sure you regularly take a look at the data to see what’s working. Make decisions based on data. And then make adjustments to ensure you’re taking the best approach for success for your particular brand.

Laura ColeVivial, VP of Marketing

laura cole

 

#10: Email Marketing Delivers Cost-Effective ROI at the Right Time

Email Marketing – Cost-Effective ROI

The economic impact of Covid has put strains on businesses in new ways not seen in 100 years. Due to this, a lot of corporations have slashed Marketing budgets to save as much money in the short term to help them stay afloat. Email Marketing remains one of the most affordable and effective ROI driving marketing channels for businesses and will continue to be an essential part of any business’ marketing and customer engagement strategies in the New Year. 

Right Time Engagement is Key

In 2021 we also believe there will be a continued shift of the ESP (Email Service Provider) arena to focus more on end-to-end solutions. From first touch to close, the abilities we have now to enhance experiences by focussing on right time engagement will produce continued conversions and loyalty. ESPs like VerticalResponse enable businesses to communicate with their customers using the right messaging at the right time. This is more important now than ever as businesses compete for customer attention in this new pandemic environment. 

Continued Personalization

Messaging and content needs to matter and hit home. The generic email blasts to your base just are not an effective way to engage with your cohorts. Content needs to be targeted and meaningful. Customers expect more from brands and businesses they support. Be sure to be intentional, socially conscious, and empathetic with your customers to build a deeper bond and increase engagement and conversion. Spend the extra time to create personalized messaging that will resonate with your customer base. 

Andy Mentges VerticalResponse, CEO

Andy Mentges

 

#11: E-Commerce Platform Wars and the Consolidation of Hosting 

WordPress Continues to Dominate the Web With No Sign of Slow Down

WordPress adoption is increasing at record rates and now powers close to 40% of the internet. Historically WordPress has been a community-driven, open-source product with hundreds of thousands of themes, plugins, and developers. In the coming months we expect to see a billion-dollar IPO of WP Engine, the largest WordPress managed hosting provider, followed by Automatic who’s current valuation exceeds $3 Billion. This will have a profound effect on the WordPress space and accelerate maturity, consolidation, investment and likely attract much more venture capital investments.

Increased Focus & Growth on WooCommerce

The rise of Shopify has put WooCommerce on notice! Shopify has made it very easy for businesses to create an e-commerce presence. Automatic (the company behind WordPress and WooCommerce) recently raised $300 Million from SalesForce’s venture arm. WooCommerce still is the largest e-commerce platform, but with the maturity of Shopify, this is at risk. It’s very likely some of that investment will be earmarked for future WooCommerce development.

Increased Separation between Discount and Premium Hosting

The hosting market consists of two distinct groups, shared and VPS growing at about 9% CAGR versus premium managed hosting growing about 18%. There is an exodus of high value customers who realize they cannot host business critical websites for under $10 a month. These businesses will graduate from the Bluehosts of the world to platforms like Convesio, Kinsta, Rocket, WP Engine, and others.

Continued Consolidation as Hosting Evolves to Focus on Optimization and Performance

Consolidation is occurring with traditional hosting providers as new market entrants try to establish themselves as more than just hosting. These solutions focus on offering advanced tools to optimize the delivery of assets and site performance with an aim to increase conversion rates and revenue. As large platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud try to acquire a larger share of the market, look for them to acquire some of these niche players with compelling technology.

Tom Fanelli – Convesio, CEO

 

#12: Remote Work Continues – Employee Expectations Shift 

Workplace Trends and Predictions for 2021: 2020 has fundamentally shaken up the way we work in the U.S. and around the world. No doubt, some practices we have adopted this year will go forward as pillars of the new normal while others will be set aside and forgotten as we come out of the pandemic. Recruiting and Talent Acquisition professionals will see their roles expand and deepen as the market becomes accustomed to the changes. These are the trends Comparably predicts for Employers and Workplaces in 2021:

Home is the new office for many, and that means employers won’t be able to rely on a cool office space or a fridge full of snacks to attract and retain top talent as they have in the past. Employers will have to adapt to what employees want most in a post-COVID world: A mission employees are excited about and can stand behind, opportunities for career advancement, and solid leaders they can trust.

Recruiters & Talent Acquisition professionals will likely have to double their efforts in order to make companies stand out to top talent. This includes implementing recruitment marketing and employer branding strategies to attract passive candidates and convert active ones with content that tells the candidate who you are as an employer. And since location is less of a blocker now that remote work is so common, recruiters and T.A. professionals will have their work cut out for them.

Employees will expect to see action in corporate DE&I policies, and will not be satisfied by simple promises to be more open-minded. Expect much of 2021 to be focused on progress reports on this important issue as it has become one of several to seize national attention this past year. The tools in Comparably’s new Diversity Report helps companies create greater transparency about their current demographic data as well as diversity initiatives and goals.

Kramer HopeComparably, Director of Marketing

 

#13: SMBs Recover with a Digital-First Mindset

The future of small business brings a quote to mind, “Life finds a way.”  Small business finds a way. Small businesses saw perhaps, the biggest upheaval in 2020. Much of the old small business model does not work in today’s environment. Where much of small businesses have relied on in-person and offline methods that is no longer possible in many areas and may remain taboo for the foreseeable future.  The thriving business now has a slightly different profile.  

As people have moved daily tasks online, small businesses have needed to adapt their strategies. E-commerce took a giant leap into the future during 2020, simply because people could ONLY shop online. Businesses had to either move their services online or risk failure. COVID forced the growth of e-commerce by about five years into the future. That’s a significant jump in a very short amount of time. But it was all about survival. Businesses had to move online. And that’s going to continue. 

Even if life returns to some semblance of normal in 2021, small businesses will need to change and adapt to the new consumer landscape. 

New small businesses will now start online before ever having a storefront

Real Estate with people in seats are no longer needed to show you are a real business. Office space, desks, and in-person meetings are all luxuries. Business needs to have a robust online presence in a year when online presence matters more and more every single day. 

Robust online capability is required to operate

Before these were advanced adopters now they are mainstream. Whether you are a restaurant, accountant, or even a doctor’s office.  Customers are going to want detailed product and service information without making a phone call. They will want to be able to schedule appointments online, have product delivered, and even conduct required “visits” via video calls. For store locations, you’ll need to offer online shopping, in-store pickup, or even curbside delivery. 

Service will be key in different ways

Previously, great customer service has been defined by a smile and saying “my pleasure” after helping someone.  Now we need to provide that same personalized experience without ever seeing and potentially even talking to the customer.  Quick response via email and chat over specialized apps will be key.  Customers will expect the same experience over much more difficult mediums to deliver.

Online competition will make and break businesses

Much of local business has been customers seeing a business while out and about. With delivery options expanding people are leaving their homes less. Being found online easily makes and breaks a business. The willingness to just walk into a store without knowing exactly what you want is nearly non-existent. Customers are finding goods and services online more than ever. Consumers that were face to face transactions only have had to make the transition to online buyers and researches.  Online marketing products will continue to expand and become more competitive.

Gavan Thorpe – Boostability, CEO (Small Business Trends)

 

#14: Local Marketing Escalates as People Migrate from Cities to Suburbs (International Trends – Africa)

In 2020, we saw an unprecedented shift to work from home in Africa and around the world. And that’s not going to change anytime soon. With this shift, we are going to see more people re-evaluating their lifestyles. It’s anticipated that more people will move back to their hometowns, suburbs, or places of support that offer a better quality of life. As a marketer and business owner, this means you must put a huge focus on local strategy and optimization. Take advantage of this shift and make sure you are optimizing for local.

Location and Intelligence

With this new trend, as well as what will likely become a hybrid model of working from home and the office, SMBs and marketers need to focus their strategy on location and business intelligence.

COVID brought some of the most intense restrictions in the entire world as we faced months-long shutdowns. 2021 is going to continue to be a tough year in South Africa as we recover from a recession in addition to the pandemic. That being said, we expect to see governments accelerating Infrastructure Development projects. And we hope that will spin off into the SMB sector. 

But because a lot of people are moving, shifting, and changing their consumer behavior, it’s more important than ever for brands to have their local presence updated online so new customers can find you. That means business directories and map packs optimized for local search. And as technology continues to drive forward, these local searches also need to keep voice search needs in mind. 2021 will see more companies adopting or improve their online presence to be ready for voice search and incorporate new features like e-commerce. 

Marketing Spend to increase

As SMBs try all tactics to get their customers and revenue back, I also expect to see a great deal more spend on marketing tactics. This is also due to the improvements in the economy. I’m already starting to see a more savvy advertiser who will only spend on advertising campaigns that are transparent and show results. It will no longer just hope for good results. Advertisers and marketers will increase their spending based on positive results and data. Data-driven decisions will dominate 2021 marketing trends.

Byron Moorgas – Always Innovative Solutions, CEO 

 

#15: Expand Your Online Footprint and Communication Channels (International Trends – Mexico)

In a year where we had severely limited in-person customer interactions, we had to re-think the customer journey. And that continues into 2021. You have to make sure you maximize the journey at every possible touchpoint and make it a fantastic experience from start to finish, no matter when they enter your pipeline.

These are my recommendations as both a marketer and an entrepreneur.

For small business owners, you need to seriously focus on investing in your online footprint and create as many communications channels as possible. 

Your Website

It’s first and foremost the front of your business. But you can also use it as a sales channel. You need to make your message and your branding crystal clear. What’s your why? What makes your business tick. Show your customers why you do things, how you care about them. Ultimately, it’s your customers who are the heroes, not you. 

Social Media

You have Facebook, Instagram, FB Messenger, and so many tools that you can use to connect with your customers. For example, in addition to my marketing job, I also own a gym. And I use an app called Cross Hero to manage and schedule classes. Plus, it lets users keep track of their accomplishments and schedules. Think outside the normal social channels and connect on a personal level through apps and social networks specific to your business and industry. 

Connect With Customers Online

As interactions moved online in 2020, there are also opportunities for you to also connect with your customers. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet can be used to teach a class, meet with your customers, focus groups, or anything else. Don’t think of these as just a tool for corporate companies, you can connect with every customer face to face, even if you cannot conduct business normally. 

Google My Business

The importance of this simple, and free tool cannot be overstated. You need to list your business through Google to show up in local searches. The business profile helps you attract local customers, it allows you to post important information like your name, address, phone number, hours of operation, etc. And you can also moderate your reviews and learn from your customers. High reviews can bring in even more customers who see that others trust your business. If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile for your business, get one. 

Content

You don’t have to be a professional writer or video editor to have good content. There are tons of tools you can use to accomplish good content for your website, social media channels, and all these other communications funnels. Look up the options and decide what’s right for your business. 

From my perspective as a marketer, you need to recognize the continued struggle many SMBs continue to face even now that we’re in 2021. Many SMBs don’t have time to maximize the reach of all these channels. They may have great intentions, but the reality is that most of them are doing the day to day importance of running their business operations. That’s where you come in. You as a marketer need to offer these services. The biggest thing you can do as a marketer is to help your SMB customers with their efforts to help them be successful by bringing in more leads, traffic, and customers.

Miguel Vives Angel GarciaADN Mexico, Product Development

 

Liked the 2021 Digital Trend Report? Dive deeper into SEO trends: Take a look at our 2020 SEO Recap and 2021 SEO Predictions

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Amanda is the Vice President of Marketing at Boostability. Amanda has 15 years of marketing and public relations experience. Prior to Boostability, Amanda was Co-Founder and CMO of PromoJam Social Marketing Platform, acquired by Deluxe Corporation in 2014.