These global marketing trends will make your business stand out in 2021 and beyond

Published May 19, 2021

Global marketing has evolved faster than ever thanks to events over the past year. The trends we see today are shaping how conscientious consumers interact with—and choose to buy from—brands that are willing to take a more thoughtful approach to marketing.

While cause, conversational, and content marketing aren’t new trends, it’s the innovations happening within these three timeless marketing lanes that will set your business apart this year and beyond.

The pandemic has impacted what consumers really want from brands: a more compassionate and personalized connection. Following the right global marketing trends will help your business reach consumers in a more connected, genuine, and engaging way.

Cause-driven marketing leads the charge for brand loyalty


Consumers’ eyes are open wider to global social and environmental issues nowadays, so it makes sense that being cause-driven tops our list of global marketing trends. Putting purpose behind your marketing efforts encourages consumers to “join” your brand rather than just buy from it.

Marketing with a purpose means making a promise to your customers. And making that promise straightforward and genuine shows your commitment to what they believe in. That authenticity goes a long way with consumers—especially the younger generations—who favor value-centric brands. 

“Marketing with a purpose means making a promise to your customers. And making that promise straightforward and genuine shows your commitment to what they believe in.”

Canada-based food retailer Sobeys became a cause marketing triple threat through its efforts last year. First, it was the only national grocery chain to back eco-friendliness in a big way by ditching plastic bags. Second, it showed passionate support for those with disabilities and mental health challenges by implementing “sensory-friendly” shopping hours. Finally, Sobeys “launched a mass campaign to drive awareness of its ‘A Family of Support’ initiative,” where it aimed to donate millions to support mental health in children’s hospitals.

Sobeys said “goodbye” to plastic bags last year to promote sustainability.

These initiatives contributed to a strong financial performance from Sobeys amid the pandemic, and brands would do well to follow suit. For brands in it for the long run, appealing to the causes consumers support contributes to brand loyalty long term.

Worthy causes and the brands supporting them the right way


Social and environmental issues are foremost for today’s consumers. Certain causes stood out during the pandemic as people became more attentive and aware of global concerns—and what brands were doing to counteract them.

Sustainability

Consumers have supported sustainable business practices for some time, with the majority even willing to pay more for products from eco-friendly brands

Take Rothy’s, for example. This brand makes sustainability the heart of its entire operation by repurposing plastic water bottles to manufacture handbags and footwear. Do you think the fact that they’re recycled might lower the price point? On the contrary—Rothy’s products are in demand at premium prices, with the brand marking down footwear under $100 for the first time ever last month.

Mental health

The psychological strain of lockdowns, job woes, and financial stresses took its toll—and continues to do so for many—on a huge number of consumers throughout the past year. Mental health initiatives resonate with those directly and indirectly affected by COVID-19.

Lloyds Bank recently partnered with Mental Health UK to address the unique needs of customers enduring financial issues directly related to the pandemic. This combination of financial advice and mental health support is exactly the kind of solution that caters to how consumer needs have changed during COVID-19.

Conversational marketing provides greater connections with customers


Consumers willing to wait days for an email response is a thing of the past. Nowadays, customers crave instant, personalized interactions—which also presents an excellent opportunity for businesses to form closer connections and to better understand their needs. 

Drift defines conversational marketing as “the fastest way to move buyers through your marketing and sales funnels through the power of real-time conversations. It builds relationships and creates authentic experiences with customers and buyers.” It’s part of the “real-time” revolution that’s beginning to define modern consumer expectations, and it goes beyond customer support. 

“[Conversational marketing] builds relationships and creates authentic experiences with customers and buyers.”

Conversational marketing provides greater insight into what customers actually want, allowing businesses to offer tailored solutions and improve satisfaction through personalized communication. A perfect example is when you see an instant message pop up while browsing a website.

Whisbi is very appropriately engaging in conversational marketing through its website.

AI chatbots continue to reinvent conversational marketing


How can businesses manage individual conversations with thousands, if not millions, of customers at a time? Artificial intelligence (AI)—namely, “chatbots” in the conversational marketing context—has become sophisticated enough to “talk to customers, answer questions, find information upon request, provide queue status updates” and more. 

Innovations are bringing about new chatbot use cases, too, with geofencing bots automatically engaging customers in their native language, chatbots designed as companions for dementia patients, and much more. As AI in conversational marketing evolves, remember to use chatbots in the right ways to boost your conversational marketing efforts most effectively.

AI chatbots continue to reinvent conversational marketing


Whether you’re aiming to entertain, inspire, or excite, diversifying your content strategy will allow you to increase engagement with consumers of all generations and set your brand apart.

Content marketing—specifically, written content—remains the ideal way to “target your SEO [search engine optimization], generate leads, and give your brand a human identity.” Keeping things authentic, helpful, and relevant will always be a surefire way to bring your audience to you. But the right content marketing mix is what will help set your brand apart.

Other forms of content continue to gain headway and are worth any brand experimenting to find the right mix.

Appeal to human nature through meaningful marketing


It’s human nature to crave support and inspiration—a helping hand. People don’t just want to find those connections in personal relationships anymore; they want to feel they can trust and connect with the brands they support.

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