What changes are in store for marketing communications in 2021? Here are the trends we see at BTC. We will be helping our clients leverage the ones that make sense for their brand and ambitions.
After an unprecedented and challenging 2020, people have no choice but to be optimistic about 2021. That will show in graphic design. Look for creative to portray optimism and playfulness, with a tone of positivity for the future. Palettes that exude harmony and peacefulness, with cool and natural colors, will be most popular. Also, after almost 12 months of significantly more screen time, expect soothing colors and textures to give our eyes a break, yet keep our attention.
The theme that stands out here is simplification, harnessing the power of minimalism. Animation and creative design will continue to help emails pop, but quick load times are critical. Layouts will be simpler with less flashy color schemes and high-quality imagery.
Businesses and executives will continue to undervalue LinkedIn as a content platform, until they wise up. The reach and opportunity for organic awareness is huge, even beyond your direct connections. Video and other forms of engaging content are being shared with increased frequency and people are following relevant hashtags here too!
During 2020, everyone became more acclimated to virtual ways to interact. A huge surge of live streaming on Facebook and Instagram kept brands and influencers in front of their audiences. Though 2021 will see more in-person interactions, this new live connectivity will continue and savvy organizations will continue to produce live virtual content, in addition to more traditional outreach events.
Media relations will continue to become more virtual. Media outlets are more open to conducting online interviews, television stations are using third-party video, and print publications are open to photography directly from sources. Conducting interviews via Zoom or other online platforms is becoming commonplace, so interviewees need to practice and get comfortable with the medium in order to deliver their messages most effectively.
Not surprising, everyone is still bullish on video. A few things that stand out:
- Video is more accessible to small and mid-sized businesses. While high-end production has its place, not all video needs to be a highly polished live action sequence. You can make static messages more interesting with simple movement and music.
- Video’s popularity is proven. It’s the way customers want to learn about new products. After viewing a video, 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor. If a web site includes video, it’s 50X more likely (50 times!) to drive search results (people want video and Google knows it). Put “video” in your subject lines to increase open rates by 19%. Empirical evidence.
- Merchandise, merchandise, merchandise. Your video transcripts can become a blog post, help rankings when included with video on YouTube, be shared on various social media platforms, or be used as a podcast. Simple but effective.
Virtual events, a COVID necessity in 2020, will continue to be popular because they are more accessible, attracted new and larger audiences, and had positive ROI. People don’t have to travel, costs are lower, and individuals are getting more used to experiencing brands, consuming information, learning, and even networking from afar. The key is to get creative and drive engagement with great speakers, rich content and fun!
Updating and refreshing old web content that performed well at one point will help rankings and drive traffic. Google looks for natural language that people use. John Mueller said it best, “Rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.” And content is still king: 88% of B2B content marketers agree that creating content makes their audience view their organization as a credible and trusted resource. Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs and content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods.
Remote work will remain prevalent and in many cases become permanent. That means offline engagement will become even more important and effective as we all deal with screen fatigue. This is true of prospects, as well as employees, so think about direct mail to bolster internal communications . Let’s face it, we are all online, all the time. Unique, creative and now unorthodox ways of delivering your messages offline will get noticed.