2021 Marketing Trends and Predictions from Top Marketing Leaders

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It is the start of a new year, so we asked top marketing leaders what they expect to be the top trends and technologies for 2021.


Anthony Gomes, VP, Marketing, 18SQUAREDMARKETING LLC


Content will always be king, but we're seeing more and more brands outsourcing their content and demand gen functions. Growth is possible during the pandemic, but outsourcing to agencies allows brands to scale up or down much faster than onboarding or furloughing employees.



Nina Jensen, Community Outreach Manager8x8


Create a referral program that allows other businesses to share your products or services with potential clients, track those referrals, all while incentivizing them to keep referring your company. This may seem like overkill, but 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral according to Influitive. It is always advantageous for your company to be recommended by others. Why not create a formal system for companies to easily share your business with potential new clients. When creating a referral program, here are a few things to keep in mind: make the sign-up process simple and hassle-free. If it takes too long for businesses to sign up, they will lose interest. Create a simple way for businesses to sign-up and start sharing



Helga Moreno, Content Marketing Manager, andcards


2021 will be the year of brands and brand collaboration. Brand building and brand enhancement become even more important than before. Customers want to buy from favorite trusted brands, get branded experiences, and be curated with their preferences. Brands need to analyze customers' buying behavior, needs, and requirements and suggest what to buy next. This is easy to do as consumers engage with brand sites and channels sharing their essential data. You just need to process all info you collect about consumers and tell them what they want next and when they want it.



Dr. Robert ApplebaumApplebaum Beverly Hills


In the plastic surgery industry, there is a bigger emphasis on branding yourself. Building your online reputation drives a large part of your clients to your office. Patients constantly check reviews and look for testimonials to make a decision based on your past customers. Creating a marketing plan that emphasizes your client's positive reviews and seeks out to develop and generate more positive reviews is very important for the 2021 marketing plan.




Kathryn Schwab, Head of ContentBobbie


An email marketing strategy trend that we have found effective is interactive emails. This includes AMP (accelerated mobile pages) that we use to display product or image carousels. And our customers can shop right from their email. We also implement other interactive elements like simple quizzes, polls, and short videos that they can watch from their email. This has increased open rates and overall user engagement.



Jim Beard, COOBox Genie


Transparency will be the number one “trend” in marketing going into 2021. 2020 was a year of great loss in many ways, and incredible growth in other ways. It is important that we never forget this year and continue to remember the effects of it when running our businesses. As we are going into the “second year” of the coronavirus, we need to keep all those same marketing tactics that we formulated this year into the following year. People want a business they feel they can connect with and one that backs their beliefs and ideals, and if you aren’t transparent about that in 2021, you aren’t marketing intelligently.




Alex Milner, Social Media ExecutiveCefar


Here are a few trends and technologies which are going to be prominent in 2021. Google Analytics 4 With the new additions within Google Analytics and the release of Google Analytics 4, the use of Artificial Intelligence will improve the ways of customer experience and acquisition. For the use of e-commerce, the new technologies using artificial intelligence for engagement to be able to improve the customer journey which also increase the retention of the leads and customers. When it comes to reporting and viewing further analytics, there is an analysis hub to see different templates and graphs to see more data in the view of monetisation, engagement, conversations and retention. SEO Mobile-First Indexing With the newest update of Google Page Experience Update which is due to be released in May 2021, the focus on mobile-first indexing is going to be more important than it already is, and it already a crucial part of a website. As the new indexing gets released in May, the update focuses on-page experience which is made up of search ranking factors, including the Mobile-friendly update, Page Speed Update, the HTTPS ranking boost, the intrusive interstitials penalty, safe browsing penalty and further metrics around speed and usability. As Google is focusing on these as a priority, this is going to be a huge trend in 2021 and in the upcoming years.



Jacob Dayan, Co-founder & CMOCommunity Tax


I believe we'll be seeing much more focus on video content as a means of advertising, branding, and promotion. Video is the one of the fastest-growing platforms. YouTube itself has overtaken Facebook as the second most visited site behind only Google itself. I also think we'll be seeing more voice search marketing begin to take place as it too has a lot of potential and is steadily growing. I think companies will begin to separate themselves from their competitors as more and more businesses focus on their online presence.


Jennifer Will, EditorEtia


Marketing is a very important part and parcel of branding and creating an image of your company. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created so many issues throughout the world and social media marketing has also been impacted by this crisis. Similarly, some of the important predictions and things to remember are listed below. First of all, new digitalization has pushed us towards connecting with customers and fostering real-time relations with them. There has been a rise in social media communities and marketers need to take full advantage of that. Secondly, platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are an important medium but the latest apps like Tik Tok, Pinterest, and Snapchat are getting very popular among Gen Z. Lastly, what you can't achieve on the ground-level could be achieved via digital sales tactics. You can easily fill these sales gaps.



Sharon Van Donkelaar, Chief Marketing Officer,Expandi.io


Marketing in 2021 will follow the trend which has been happening for decades - digital. Obviously, with the pandemic, this is more true than ever. So, what will change in 2021 for marketing? To begin, we are entering into the new year with just as much uncertainty as last year. This is important to recognize, as consumers are gasping for some consistency. Immediately, this makes me think of email marketing. This is an amazing way to build reliable and consistent relationships with your buyers. With so much uncertainty of how we can interact with our audiences, email marketing will definitely shine through in 2021. Alongside this, it is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd, be sensitive, be up to date, and drive ROI. For this reason, it is important that brands embrace technology to help them overcome this almost impossible situation.



Steve James, Marketing, Freelance Marketing Consultant


I see the New Year as one of hope. We are all still here and in business. Vaccines are on their way. Some of your Competition may, sadly, have had to leave their working space and customers are still shopping and doing business. I suggest getting in touch with all of the Prospects and Customers that have stopped communicating with you, or have dropped off your Radar. Get back in touch, let them know that you are still around, the health restrictions and working policies you have implemented. Sympathize with them, offer them something special. They have had more on their minds, lately. It's time to get them up-to-date with what you can do for them.



Eric Wu, co-founder and COO,Gainful


Video marketing has been on the rise over the last few years and I don’t predict it will be going anywhere in 2021. With this year’s explosion of TikTok and Instagram creating Reels to stay relevant in the social media market, video is becoming more relevant day by day. Also, the current state of the world under a global pandemic is contributing to video marketing increasing in popularity. Consumers are spending more time online than ever before. Furthermore, we are noticing a shift in the type of video content audiences are searching for and consuming. Quick, educational, and attention-grabbing content is far outperforming the visually stimulating and aspirational content that was favored in previous years. People don’t want to feel that they are wasting time on these platforms. They want to be entertained while simultaneously learning tips and tricks on how to improve their lives. Business owners should not shy away from video marketing as it can bring high rewards. While it does require some thought and creativity, it is not as costly as most would think. Additionally, I have a lot of conviction that influencer marketing is going to play a huge role for consumer brands, but that it won’t look or feel quite like what you think of when you think of influencer marketing today. Influencer marketing will be less pay-to-play and more like earned media, on the obvious Youtube and Instagram but also on other community-driven platforms whether visual, audio, or written.



Eric Holguin, Brand Ambassador,Herrman & Herrman PLLC


With the accelerated digital transformation created by the Covid19 pandemic, many businesses have transitioned to more digital-focused marketing. SEO, SEM, Social Media, Video production, UX design, and AR on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are only some of the skills that have gained a higher priority going into 2021. In addition to a greater focus on digital marketing, marketing in 2021 will focus more on brand awareness, brand authenticity, and embracing social awareness movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. 




Janet Patterson, VP of Marketing CommunicationsHighway Title Loans


Like all other aspects going around, marketing also tends to take a 180 degrees shift with the new year. Marketers are revamping their strategies and aligning the plans according to digital marketing techniques. From reaching out to customers in-person to sending your potential clients emails, from physical activities to virtual sessions, from giving advertisements in newspapers and magazines to advertising through social media - it's a new world altogether. The usual marketing mix consisted of 4P's, but today it's all about the 7 P's of digital marketing, The approach we'll be taking into consideration is an online presence and customer retention. We'll be using the power of social media not just to increase brand awareness but escalate purchase decisions. Also, we'll be incorporating Augmented Reality to create a buzz about the brand and give customers a unique experience. Designing the strategies around this new feature is what we aim for. Lastly, being a smart marketer for our brand is what we plan on. Consumer behavior tends to change permanently post-pandemic; our marketers will be making short and long-term changes to brand messages and products and services. That's an insight into Marketing in 2021 from our perspective.



Simonas SteponaitisHosting Wiki


1. Social Commerce:* The millennial generation is also almost as inspired and buys a fashion item online after browsing social media. All in all, it's safe to say that more than half of all internet users between the ages of 14 and 34 have recently purchased a fashion-related item online as a result of social media. With these social media trends in mind, online businesses don't want to lose out on social commerce's benefits. 2. Marketing Automation* With increasingly sophisticated digital marketing technology, it's no surprise that we see marketing automation become mainstream in the industry. The customer journey is so dynamic and fluid, with dozens of touchpoints across multiple devices, that having sophisticated attribution models is the only way to predict results and calculate ROI accurately. Over time, as the business grows, it will be nearly impossible to track these numbers manually. In 2021, automation will continue to evolve, enabling marketers to convert leads better, generate personalized content, and track results.



Brandon Chopp, Digital ManagerINTO THE AM


We are ready for 2021 because we have spent the last six months testing and altering our strategy to flow with changing trends and audience behaviors. We still expect to see lower engagement and reach than early 2020 but hope to resume paid influencer collaborations, continue to work with brand-aligned, diverse content creators, and continue to test different kinds of video content across our channels.



Itamar Blauer, SEO ConsultantItamar Blauer


2021 is going to show even greater importance of social media than ever before. Many small businesses that were adversely affected by the pandemic in 2020 had become more active on social media to engage with their audiences. Those that didn't have a huge budget to optimise their websites essentially relied on social media to drive targeted traffic and sales. It'll be a big job for marketers to start tapping into different social media platforms and utilising co-creation to effectively engage an audience.



Fuad Hasanovic, Brand Management SpecialistKamps


Due to a unprecedented 2020, I believe that organizations in 2021 will heavily increase their digital spend and initiatives, invest in personalized experiences, and re-think their geo-targeting strategies. COVID-19 and the reaction to the pandemic across all industries is mostly responsible for this impact. Both B2C consumers and corporate employees are working and shopping from home. Those that are working in an office or going to shop in brick-and-mortar stores are limiting person-to-person interaction as much as possible. While restrictions may ease a bit, some habits we formed in 2020 will stick. Because of fewer in-person touch points, most (if not all) industries will turn to digital marketing even to spread their message and increase brand awareness. This will naturally cause higher competition across all digital marketing platforms - which will increase a business's spend as most digital marketing platforms work on a bid and demand system. Once a customer starts their journey with a brand or business, all other steps in the customer journey will need to become more digitized as well. Looking at B2B specifically, most meetings and negotiations will be virtual.. Because of this, digitally optimized and interactive brochures, booklets, and other forms of marketing will become more important than ever. Videos and digital product walk-throughs included. Personalized experiences will also be important as everyone was affected by COVID-19 differently and will have specific needs and require specific solutions. Lastly, with more individuals shopping and working from home, geo-targeting strategies will need to be re-evaluated as most employees are no longer located in their corporate offices nor will consumers be forced to do their shopping (grocery included) locally.



Ken Fortney, krFORT WiCM


1. Voice recognition Consumers have tackled the learning curve of switching from fingers/thumbs to voice searches/shopping. Producers have also improved AI hardware/software to better understand voice commands. Watch for this technology to grow in 2021. 2. Influencer marketing Influencers are more numerous than ever, and it's getting harder to fake the influence. There are also more efficient tools <https://grin.co/authentic-influencer-marketing/> for recruiting and influencer relationship management to streamline the process and convert more loyal customers on social media. 3. Personalization We have so much consumer data at our disposal. The trick is to make sense of the data and make more informed choices when serving our customers



Isabelle Wisco, SEO marketerLido


Artificial intelligence will continue to grow as it provides more opportunities for lead generation, content creation, sales, etc. While AI often seems like a technology exclusive to big corporations, it's now become accessible to companies of all sizes via chatbots, landing page generators, and more. AI's ability to deliver touchless outcomes will easily allow for companies to become more data-driven and efficient. Further, companies must increase awareness about balancing their data analytics strategy and preserving user privacy. While marketers can now access online and offline customer behaviors, it's important to prioritize trust and safety among users. Many apps in the past year have been released keeping these concerns in mind as well as ensuring companies stay compliant with increasing privacy regulations. 2021 will be no exception, and companies who can stay on top of this trend will stand out from their competitors and more effectively attract loyal customers.


Marketing Introvert


A key trend that will shake up the web rankings is Google’s emphasis on website speed and user experience. With the Core Web Vitals which was announced earlier this year to take place, it’s expected to cause changes to website owners. And with Google deciding to roll out a core algorithm update (December) without a warning, it’s a telltale sign that there are a lot of things in the works




Pranay Rathod, Digital MarketerMaruti Techlabs


2020 has been a lesson in more ways than one. But we can all agree that the ongoing situations have made marketers contemplate their current marketing strategies. It made us realize that with the absence of employees, we’ll need to up the game with AI for marketing and customer support. If it was an option before, it's become a necessity now. For example, Crayon Communications reaped the benefits of installing a chatbot called WotNot. They wanted to develop a launch campaign for their client’s new luxury watch line and although it practiced conventional marketing, they wanted a powerful communication channel that could engage the target audience. With the installation of Wotnot, they witnessed a massive increase in user interaction with 1800+ registrations, 400 social media engagements, and 10% more footfalls to their launch event. All this was possible because they integrated the chatbot with Facebook Messenger. There are still many organizations that are yet to explore the potential of automated conversational responses to consumers but in the coming year, marketing strategies will include chatbots to provide a wholesome customer experience.



Kelly Jacobson, Digital Marketing Strategist and Content CreatorMirabel Technologies


I think a game-changing trend in marketing for 2021 will be the use of product review websites. It's well-known that recommendations and referrals are the top source of high-quality leads, but many marketers don't know what to do with that statistic. That's why I think an influx of more robust product profiles, highly targeted influencer marketing strategies, and constant online reputation management will be at a priority for marketers next year. For example, in three months (August to October 2020), we received 55 percent of leads from this traffic source compared to the seven months prior. This is largely due to the increase in reviews, which build trust with proper high-quality leads, and an optimization for PPC performance. Because we focused on these marketing tactics, we got more leads from this traffic source in half the time.



Robert Weiss, MultiVision Digital, a New York City Video Production Company


Over the past 10 years we have created 900 videos spanning every business objective out there. Video is still a nascent marketing tactic for many businesses and as such they are building their strategy for a planned thoughtful and integrated approach to video content for all the sales and marketing objectives that they aim to achieve.



Antonio Wells, Chief Strategy OfficerNAMYNOT


My agency is seeing an influx of clients with one of two dilemmas. First, those businesses who had not relied on online sales are shifting and struggling with the challenges of running their business mostly online. Second, those businesses that need to pivot their core business model due to the negative effects of the global pandemic. To elaborate on both points more, the paradigms mentioned allow a marketer's creativity to flourish more and gain more approval rates. Before the epidemic, an eat-in restaurant would not consider shifting to a meal kit delivery service, since its core model is about dining, service, and ambiance. For example, one of my client's hosts a popular walking tour in Harlem. However, since the pandemic his core business model has shifted to virtual tours only.



Boyd Norwood, VP of MarketingNozzle Corp


PAA Expansion Deliverable: One new technology that is extremely useful to SEOs and content teams is the PAA Expansion Deliverable. Nozzle pulls all the data from the SERPs for your targeted keyword list and then sends this data from BigQuery into Data Studio which generates a report of hundreds of industry related questions for your content team to answer. These questions are sorted by most appearances in the SERPs across your whole keyword set and can be filtered by your different product/service categories to help you identify the most important ones to answer for your audience.



Mike Dragan, COO,Oveit, Inc


The two key trends we've noticed will be shaping 2021 for marketers are: - live, virtual events - live stream shopping We expect live stream shopping to be a defining trend for 2021 and beyond. Trend: live, virtual events One of the key trends we noticed this year has been that brands now engage with their customers via live streaming, whether in live events or in live shopping streams. Many companies (around 57% of our customer base) have shifted from live, in-person events to live streamed events in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a big change in many aspects: event planning has changed a lot, consumer behaviour has changed as well. We see that content creators need to stay focused on short bursts of attention (less than 30 minutes), with positive and clear messages. Consumers have less patience to absorb non-essential content so the content creation strategy has shifted as well. At Oveit.com we host over 3000 event and marketing professionals from 4 continents and stats have shown this was a defining trend for 2020 and we expect it to continue in 2021. Many companies have adopted this trend with the likes of MedLife, a large European health provider hosting one of the largest medical conferences online. The conference was attended by thousands of medical professionals all over the world. The key topic: how Covid-19 has changed the medical profession and how to deal with the psychological effects it has. We expect this trend to grow exponentially in the next years. It is a new type of commerce that allows consumers to engage with sellers through live communication. We now know more than $170 billion in goods were sold in China through live stream shopping in the past year. In 2021 we expect many consumer brands to have a go-to-market strategy that includes them engaging with the audience directly. We expect the market for live stream shopping to reach $160 billion in 2022 in the US. This new form of streaming content combines shopping and entertainment (shoptainment) and we expect it to become one of the key drivers of live streaming adoption worldwide.



Pathfinder Alliance, DirectorPathfinder Alliance


I run a boutique, digital marketing in Perth, Western Australia. Predicting the future feels particularly daunting after the year we just had. However, there are trends and themes underway that I anticipate will color marketing in 2021. The following are five important ones: The cookie-less future A sea change for online advertising is coming. Google’s industry-leading browser Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies by early 2022, significantly altering how digital ads are targeted and tracked. Yet, even among knowledgeable digital marketers, there’s considerable confusion about how campaigns will be affected. The coming year will provide a final chance for marketers to educate themselves about the impact of the cookie-less future and to prepare for it. The most important action involves improving access to, and effective use of, their valuable first-party data—and ensure agencies have a clear plan for placing and measuring campaigns after the change. Continued Covid assessment Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell reportedly said, “We’re not going back to the same economy—we’re recovering, but to a different economy.” So a key question for all businesses is: Which new customer behaviors and expectations will stick, and which will recede? Correctly answering this is integral to effective resource allocation. Currently, we have clues to act on. Case in point: how many restaurant brands, from Chipotle to Red Lobster, believe the elevated usage of home delivery will persist and are thus investing in operations such as ghost kitchens, which offer pickup and delivery only. Post-pandemic, business leaders must be clear-eyed in evaluating their earlier forecasts and deciding whether to continue with related priorities or adapt to unexpected realities. Ad spend following shoppers The pandemic-driven spike in ecommerce, and a related impact on advertising budget allocations, are both projected to continue. As Amazon, Walmart and other players have attracted more shoppers, they’ve also grown their ad sale businesses. According to eMarketer, advertising on ecommerce platforms jumped 39% in 2020 and will grow another 30% in 2021, capturing 13% of total U.S. digital ad spend. Measurability is helping drive this change. According to an April study from Catalyst and Kantar, advertisers believe leading ecommerce sites provide better measurability of ad ROI than many other digital ad types, including social media ads. Additionally, ecommerce sites know a lot about their customers, which is key to ad targeting without reliance on third-party cookies.



Jason BradshawPower of CEX


In 2021 I believe marketers who win will focus on three key areas 1. Creating opportunities for customers to connect with the brand in value-adding ways; 2. Fusing the online and offline experiences; and 3. Leveraging technology to make their products more accessible and convenient.



Rio Rocket, Primetime TV Actor, Rio Rocket


Marketers should expect audio only options for media and content in ways they never expected. Back in 2019, podcasts and audio books were forecast to be the most consumed content in 2020 and the forecast was correct. According to Apple at WWDC 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts and 18.5 million episodes. Today in 2020 there are more than 1 million active podcasts and over 30 million podcast episodes.  Even YouTube is rolling out an audio only option. Audible.com now has a library of over 500,000 audio titles. Nielsen and Edison research shows this meteoric rise is due to the fact that audio is very conversational, niche-focused, and can be consumed almost anywhere at anytime as opposed to video which often requires the viewer to be watching.



Damien Martin, Marketing ExecutiveShufti Pro


As marketing technology piles develop, several are predicting 2021 will observe additional progress towards martech consolidation and optimization. Allowing this is deeper and deeper consumer information being available. The world is progressing from the latent, stiff experience to the data, insight, and personalization-driven representative that comprehends how you want particular analytics to be served.



Bailey HahnSummit Digital Marketing


I believe authentic advertising in general is going to be the most effective approach to marketing in 2021. Personally, I believe authentic video is going to be a huge part of marketing for businesses of all sizes. By authentic video, I mean real, live testimonials and original videos taken by happy customers or happy employees. At Summit Digital Marketing, we are working to incorporate video testimonials shot simply on an iPhone in our advertising and landing pages in 2021 because we believe that authenticity is something that only intensified during the year that was 2020.




Samuel Scott, Columnist,The Drum


what used to be called direct response but is now known as lead generation or performance marketing. You simply look at the costs of, say, your Google Ads campaigns versus the number and quality of leads or the revenue from customers who have signed up. But as I note in a talk I give, the latest research from the IPA in the UK and LinkedIn's B2B Institute show that roughly 54% of B2B media spend should be allocated towards long-term, emotional brand building for maximum effectiveness . Any B2B company can run simple direct response ads on Google Ads or social media or anywhere. And they all look the same. It is the brand that will remain top of mind in the minds of potential users. Direct response focuses on people who are lower in the funnel and are more likely to buy today. But brand building focuses on everyone in the entire category who might want to buy tomorrow. That is how you truly grow over the long-term. I think more online marketers are beginning to realize that for next year.



Ron Evan, Digital Marketing SpecialistThrive Agency


An excellent strategy for SEO in 2021 will probably involve staying competitive for as long as possible. Advertisers are already paying large amounts of money to get their ads on the first page of Google, and there is a perfect chance that this trend will continue. The real question is whether or not you can beat that or if you are going to have to be the next major player. When we talk about a strategy for SEO in 2021, we are talking about something that will be done over the next couple of years. There will be changes to Google's search algorithm that will be implemented over the next few months. This is something that will eventually lead to changes in the way that many sites are ranked. Once the algorithms for Google are updated, there will be no going back. This means that you will need to begin an active campaign to ensure that your site remains on top of the search engine results page. The internet is a dynamic place, which means that the methods you use will also change with it.



Siddharth KumarPathak, ,TRACE INFO PVT. LTD.


The pandemic has changed the whole way Marketing was done. Lots and lots of Business are now upgrading themselves over Digital platform. Small to large, all the Marketers are attaining Digital presence so as to make there job easy and convenient. 1.) In 2021, Digital Presence will be the must for small businesses in order to operate efficiently. 2.) Marketers in the field job as well as Desk jobs will prefer Digital Conversation. 3.) People might prefer not to exchange Visiting card or Business cards and will look for alternatives such as Digital Visiting card and Digital Business Card 4.) Companies will focus on Digital Content creation such as Banners, Posters, Infographics, Vector Illustrations and other forms of Digital print media.



Simon Elkjær,Chief Marketing Officer, avXperten.dk


The marketing trends that will dominate 2021 are interaction-focused marketing strategies. Interaction has proven to be quite effective in enticing new customers and making them loyal to your business and service. In order to gain and retain customers, companies will dedicate more time to interacting with their audience, solidifying their brand, and expanding their reach. As early as now, we’ve already seen trends that will dominate the following year, and a few of those are video marketing, social media marketing, AI-backed marketing, and even a combination of all three. 2021 will be a challenging year for marketers. In such a difficult time, marketers need to find the right tone for their campaigns, show their compassion, while also building their brand.


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