Deloitte Digital has today announced its key Global Marketing Trends for 2021.
Deloitte Digital’s Global Marketing Trends for 2021 focus on the key ways brands will effectively connect with consumers in the year ahead, underlining that Covid-19 has intensified demand for authentic, human brand experiences.
Key takeaways from the report include:
Becky Skiles, partner and chief marketing officer (CMO) of Deloitte Digital, said: “Covid-19 rapidly raised the bar for customer expectations. Consumers placed their loyalty in brands that were acting with transparency, prioritising the safety and wellbeing of their employees, communicating authentically and developing a more ‘human’ digital experience.
“As CMOs focus in recent months has been on responding to the impact of the pandemic and recovering from this, 2021 will be the year that they turn their attention to initiatives that will allow them to thrive. Consumers are ready and willing to embrace a better digital customer experience and marketers must throw their weight behind initiatives that will create authentic, human online experiences.”
Deloitte Digital’s Global Marketing Trends for 2021 include:
Purpose: Built to flourish
Organisations that know why they exist and who they’re built to serve are uniquely positioned to navigate unprecedented change. They are often able to respond more quickly in times of uncertainty and can turn tough decisions into simple choices because they know how to invest, how to engage with their employees, and how to meet the needs of stakeholders and consumers.
Becky adds: "The message is clear to brands – if you do not take care of your people, then customers will vote with their feet. Gen Z are the generation most likely to abandon a brand due to its response to Covid-19 and as any brand thinking about Customer Lifetime Value knows, it is this age group who make lifetime brand associations. Alienate someone at this critical point, just as they are becoming an empowered consumer, and brands will feel the ripple effect of that for years to come."
Agility: Changing the playbook
Covid-19 tested business models in unprecedented ways and made it clear that agility is crucial for organisations. In 2020, CMOs will turn to digital tools such as social customer relationship management (CRM) and social listening capabilities to forecast future consumer demands, using customer feedback to rapidly prototype new products and services.
Deborah Womack, director in Deloitte Digital, said: “The upsurgence of video-sharing and social messaging platforms for customer service has opened new connections between brands and consumers in ways never thought feasible before the Covid-19 pandemic. With this comes a wealth of rich insights into consumer opinions, wants and needs that are accessed through new technologies, providing brands with immediate feedback on products and services and the capability to pivot quickly. For brands, these social listening tools will be a powerful force for innovation in the year ahead, allowing them to create products and services that their customers are, often literally, calling for.”
Human Experience: Know thyself
When the pandemic made technology the primary way for customers to interact with companies, in some cases, it proved insufficient in building connections. Deloitte’s research suggests leaders must stay proactive in aligning their values with shareholders and view their organisations as human entities that mirror — and support — the values of those they are built to serve.
Deborah continues: “Technology has improved many areas of the customer experience, but it’s yet to replace the power of human interaction that underscores the humanity and authenticity of brands. Particularly in times of crises, consumers value connections. In the year ahead, marketers must plan for interactions that are meaningful to people and build vibrant connections within communities and wider society. Successful brands will proactively advocate for the values that matter to customers most, whilst reminding them of the human faces behind the brand.”
Trust: The promises we keep – or don’t
While trust takes years to build, it only takes seconds to destroy. In today’s digital age, data privacy is often at the core of building consumer trust.
Libby Cousins, advertising, marketing and commerce practice leader at Deloitte Digital, said: “Customer data is the most valuable asset for brands today. However, consumers are wary over the amount information they are giving away online. As brands further develop their digital channels in 2021, they must clearly outline how the data they are collecting will improve brand experience. Our research shows that consumers value a personal customer experience but they are not afraid to abandon brands that overstep on their privacy.”
Talent: Marketing disrupted
As the pandemic shifted ways of working and impacted budgets and even headcount, marketing organisations have focused on ways to make their most valuable asset – their talent – a strategic force.
Libby added: “AI has the potential to automate many marketing tasks, allowing more time and space for marketers to think creatively. Leading brands won’t use AI to replace their teams, but to allow more time for their teams to create personal, human campaigns and experiences that will resonate with their audiences. In addition, working with freelancers will be a step-change for many brands as they can provide a specialist perspective in particular for campaigns reaching new audiences, or to be pushed out on new channels.”
Two further trends Participation: A two-way street and Fusion: The new ecosystem are included in Deloitte Digital’s Global Marketing Trends report, available to download here.
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