The past year has been a roller coaster within lots of industries for many reasons. Whenever something new happens and people have to adapt to a new reality, it’s natural for new trends to occur. Some of the industries most affected by COVID-19 included airlines, leisure facilities, restaurants, and more. But is that all? Surely not. 

💡 Read Creating a Marketing Strategy that Works: Benefits, Steps, Tools

When it comes to the marketing industry, and marketing professionals in general, to say that a lot has changed would be a massive understatement. New trends, the need to adapt to the new way of life, constantly changing customer behavior, and lots of confusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – these are just some of the factors that have heavily impacted the way marketing looks now.

In this article, we’ve gathered the opinions of highly educated and experienced marketing professionals, and CEOs of various industries. They were kind enough to share with us their insights into what they think were the key trends that influenced marketing this past year. 

Let’s get ready for an insightful dose of knowledge and to add a bit of fun, let’s see if you guessed these trends right!

One of the most commonly noticed trends in marketing is the use of video content.

Video marketing has been one of the most popular marketing trends for many years now, and it is only expected to continue to grow ever more rapidly. With more than 80% of all adults using YouTube to watch videos, it’s not hard to see why companies are turning to the medium of video to share their message with an engaged audience.

We’ve really started to see the emergence of video marketing & YouTube SEO. Search engine results pages have increasingly started showing more video results, especially in B2B SaaS. This trend has increased a lot over the last few months and should further accelerate in 2022.

Luke Genoyer, Marketing Director at United World Telecom

But YouTube is not the only platform that is seeing growth. Let’s not forget an app that has become insanely popular since the pandemic started, making thousands of people rich from posting often short and funny videos. These videos are essentially all about trends, challenges, guides, and even just everyday life things – That app is TikTok.

One of the biggest marketing trends of 2021 has to be video marketing! With the rise of TikTok over the past few years, short-form video marketing has become increasingly popular and effective. As marketers, we know that part of a good ad is not coming off as annoying to your target audience. With video advertising, your ads can be placed seamlessly into people’s feeds without causing disruption. TikTok is also a free platform, and if you’re able to become viral, you gain a form of free advertising (earned ad). Instagram even announced that they will begin pushing reel content rather than pictures to compete with TikTok. I believe that video marketing is something that’s here to stay and is definitely worth looking into!

Chloe Sisson, Outreach Coordinator at Zen Media

With video marketing still being highly popular, it’s definitely worth seeing how your brand can benefit from it. Video marketing campaigns can be a great opportunity to show off your products and services in a way that is both engaging and interactive.

In order to make the most of this opportunity, it is important to carefully consider the message you want to convey, as well as how to convey it. By focusing on these two points from the outset, you will be able to create an effective video marketing campaign that will connect with your target audience and bring you profitable results. Don’t miss out on this trend!

Providing value as one of the key goals 

Another significant pattern noticed by many creators is the need to provide additional value to customers in order to fully meet their expectations. Nowadays, simply launching a new product doesn’t seem to be enough. 

People are looking for something more than just another product or service to spend their money on. The new era consumers demand that their products come with added value. This desire is more than just an option. It’s an expectation. This means that companies must step up their game in order to compete in a market that often has many other companies who claim “better quality, better results” for every product they offer. 

Educating your audience was a key trend in 2021 — consumers want to be empowered when making a purchase and all the ad spend in the world won’t convert a customer if they don’t feel knowledgeable about what they’re buying. This has taken place everywhere from question-driven blog content to Q&As on Instagram Lives and Stories. User-generated content also helped fuel this trend by showing actual customers using products and sharing the benefits, which builds far more trust than the most clever copywriting can accomplish. The customer journey has become more complex than ever and brands that kept education at the heart of it were the ones that succeeded in 2021.

Eli Ratansi, Director of Marketing at Vegano Foods

Along with their products, consumers like it when you, as a company, go that extra mile and provide real value in the form of, for example, free guides and educational blogs, various open courses, and more. This extra mile can even be as little as a leaflet containing some knowledgeable info. A lot of the time, it’s like with gifts: it’s not the form that matters, but rather the initiative and gesture itself.  As soon as you provide something, you instantly have a competitive advantage over those who are just looking to act as cash grabs and offer nothing in return instead of invoices and receipts.  

Influencer marketing is still effective

This next trend probably won’t surprise you. Along with providing value, ideally through video marketing on platforms like TikTok, we also need to mention influencer marketing. The pandemic has turned many shy and introverted people into influencers who have hundreds and thousands of viewers. 

Those viewers are people who are always happy to get some advice and recommendations from their favorite influencers, which leaves plenty of room for you to use as a marketing opportunity and start some interesting collaborations with some of the hottest Internet stars out there. 

One of the most undeniable marketing trends of 2021 is the growth of influencer marketing. Every social media platform on the market has upped their creator funds to encourage more user-generated content. Brands can now upload their affiliate program information to the back end of social media platforms and creators can select companies to collaborate with, without a middleman.

Michael Steele, CEO at Flywheel Digital

In addition to this, one of the many conclusions that can be drawn is that influencer marketing is profitable because it helps small brands get their start. After all, we all know about these small, fully-online, small businesses and startups that are able to grow thanks to platforms like TikTok and people like influencers. Some people also say that influencer marketing has encouraged people’s creativity by opening up new opportunities to artists, and we couldn’t agree more with this. Not to mention, it’s a really profitable niche:

Influencer marketing has been gushing for two years, especially with the build-up of micro, mid-level, and macro-influencers on social media networks like Instagram. In fact, the influencer marketing niche is expected to grow to be worth $13.8 billion by 2021 end and might even grow larger. For many businesses, including startups, 2021 is the year they’ve had a budget for influencer marketing, prompting us the evolution of this form of marketing. Reels, Shorts, and TikTok are coming out as the most usual ways for Influencers to entertain and educate their audience via short and engaging video content. I sense a big potential in it!

Mudassir Ahmed, Owner/Author at Blogging Explained

The conclusion is rather simple here. If suitable, go for influencer marketing. The benefits could be huge! 

The value of community has increased 

As we continue to look further into what others may think is worth highlighting, we can’t help but notice the value of community and how much this has increased over the last few months. Some specialists notice that it’s aspects like global restrictions on various social events and the massive shift to remote work that stands behind the huge growth of the importance of community marketing. 

2021 is the year of community marketing, an industry shift that can be seen in established companies like HubSpot and startups alike. With global restrictions on social gatherings and the transition to remote-first work, building communities of existing and potential customers has become the hottest thing in marketing. Community marketing bridges the gap between isolation and social gatherings by providing a place for people to belong. Content communities can be seen in places like Twitter Spaces, new Slack channels popping up and in more traditional forums like HubSpot Community.

Chris Tweten, CMO at Grow Surf

Community marketing is all about reaching out to members of your community in order to help them grow in some way. One of the most effective ways to do this is through social media, but there are certainly other effective ways to approach your community.* 

The importance of remembering your mission and staying visible

Last but not least, this past year was all about going back to the very beginning, back to the core of many people’s businesses. The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty to the lives of many, as well as negatively influenced many companies in various ways. 

Those who couldn’t keep up with the fast-changing environment were sadly left behind. Both 2020 and 2021 have been all about fighting to stay visible, especially with so many new trends and brands constantly popping out of nowhere. 

The year behind us was definitely filled with a lot of uncertainty, making it difficult to initiate campaigns that would actually be beneficial and provide a high ROI. However, the biggest marketing trend was simply staying visible. 

Some companies pushed the pause button on their marketing efforts, which meant that their brand became less recognizable and far less relevant to consumers. Unfortunately, they were left behind as companies who thought outside the box and budgeted for lower-priced strategies (such as content and email marketing) retained the trust of their customers.

Staying foremost in the mind of a target audience was extremely important from 2020 and moving into 2021. And as the year progresses, we are sure to see this marketing trend continue, as visibility becomes even more imperative in these unusual times.

Marc Atiyeh, CEO at PAWP

What are your thoughts?

Would you agree with these thoughts? We’re sure that we can all admit that the marketing industry is one that is strictly connected to, and managed by people. After all, marketing is all about influencing people, whether we like it or not. Therefore, a lot of the trends and behaviors that people adopt are usually reflected in the ways that marketing is performed – sooner or later.

We truly hope that you enjoyed this article and, most importantly, learned something new! If you’re interested in similar publications, make sure to check out our other publications on our blog where we touch upon various marketing-related topics. 

What other trends, in your opinion, will shape the way marketing looks in the future?