2020, the year of going back to the drawing board, erasing and rewriting content calendars and rerouting sales strategies. This time last year - long before Covid was in our crystal ball - we made several PR predictions on our blog. In hindsight, some were accurate, while others off-base. Arguably, the tech marketing landscape fast-forwarded several years in just 9 months. So, as we enter a new (hopefully normal) year, our Army of Awesome took a moment to pause and discuss the marketing trends we’re most excited about in 2021.
Time for Agility in Marketing
Agile marketing will take on a whole new meaning in 2021 as marketers need to adapt budget line items and priorities to stay in line with the ever-changing world around us.
If the next year is anything like 2020, we’ll see a lot of budget reallocation throughout the year. Over half of tech marketers are expected to sit out next year’s event circuit, leaving a lot of budget on the table as it is. With no budget template to copy-paste for this coming year, marketers will need to take some calculated steps to plan accordingly.
People Like People
We know that people want to do business with PEOPLE, not brands. That’s why 82% of buyers are more likely to trust a company whose leadership team engages with social media. But the crises of 2020 made that even more apparent. Brands that took a stand, brands that showed empathy, and brands that showed humanity, like Slack, were the winners this year. I’m excited for such authentic messaging to become even more common in 2021 and beyond, especially in B2B marketing, which is often known for product-centric messaging that prioritizes speeds and feeds over human connections and storytelling.
What does this look like? Stay tuned in to our social feeds, where we’ll soon share a new video series in which we’re helping client Updox do just this.
Hyrid Work is Here to Stay
In 2021, we’ll see more companies investing in people with hybrid skill sets that include digital and traditional marketing backgrounds.
ARPR has conducted dozens of audits for clients this year that further validate how competitive the B2B tech space is becoming - from cybersecurity to fintech to healthIT and beyond. Companies will be wise to carefully consider individuals who have a demonstrated knack for both storytelling and technical expertise to make their brands pop and reach targeted personas. Smart CMOs will look to build a team that understands the power of both earned and paid media and dynamic content creation.
Endless Virtual Event Space
When the world’s biggest tradeshows were canceled this year, major events from MGMA to CTIA went virtual. Simultaneously, content marketing spiked in importance, with 80% of marketers reporting an increase in email marketing engagement over the last 12 months. Virtual events provide a longtail opportunity for digital content marketing, social media engagement and customer interactions. Several of our clients saw great results with virtual event marketing this year and the trend is on the rise for 2021.
According to panelists on ARPR’s recent post-COVID marketing strategies webinar, in-person conferences may never return to the level we saw pre-COVID. Even if they do, recent ARPR survey data shows that over 50% of tech marketers may not participate in tradeshows anyway. Virtual events are here to stay, and I’m excited to see more creative, engaging and thoughtful content emerge as a result of it.
Newfound Media Relations Trends
If COVID-19 taught marketers anything, it’s that we need to be flexible and pivot quickly. This was especially true for how the news cycle shifted as COVID-19 touched just about every continent in the globe.
Newsjacking is the rapid response media relations technique in which brands attempt to insert their key messages into the narratives that are consuming the news cycle. This approach will be more important in the New Year now more than ever as COVID-19 and its effects on consumers, industries, economies, etc. continue to dominate national headlines in 2021.
COVID-19 forced tech marketers to dismantle their plans and rethink their budgets. Our 2020 Data Report entitled Marketing in a Post-COVID World, illuminates where marketing resources are now being reallocated and what campaign programs will look like in the months to come. Download it today.