2021 Global Marketing Trends

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2021 Global Marketing Trends

Customers are looking to brands to navigate the path forward. Are you focused on leading the way?

From the way we work out to how we connect with our friends—most familiar life scenarios have gone digital due to the need for social distancing. In these changed times, companies should break out of their often-defensive mindsets to more holistically—and authentically—meet human needs. Our 2021 global marketing trends report explores how executives can respond to needs as they unfold, pivot as these needs evolve, and foster the human connection we all crave.

Purpose
Built to flourish. Organizations 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 their employees, and how to meet the needs of stakeholders and consumers. This clear sense of purpose is directly impacting businesses’ bottom lines. According to Deloitte’s “Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey,” 1 in 5 customers will support a brand that has positive brand actions while 1 in 4 will walk away if they do not agree with brand decisions. Keeping this in mind, organizations should look to put their “why” at the center of their operations and work to amplify purpose both within and outside the enterprise.
Agility
Changing the playbook. The current environment has tested business models in unprecedented ways and made clear that agility is a crucial, cultural mindset for organizations. According to Deloitte’s “Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey” of 2,447 global consumers, 58% of respondents could name a brand that quickly pivoted its offerings to better react to the effects of COVID-19. 82% said that these new, relevant offerings made them want to do more business with the brand. To ready an organization for these real-time shifts, CMOs and other C-suite leaders can look to digital tools such as social CRM and social sensing capabilities to forecast where conversations are headed and leverage customer feedback to rapidly prototype new offers.
Participation
A two-way street. As part of the “Global Marketing Trends C-suite Survey,” Deloitte surveyed 405 C-suite executives about their response to COVID-19 and over two-thirds of respondents said that they transformed the way they engage with consumers because of the pandemic. Many brands have had to rely more heavily on digital technologies and less on in-person interactions but rather than limiting participation, this shift has increased the opportunity for brands to digitally collaborate for extended customer loyalty. Evidence of this success? An impressive 56% of respondents in Deloitte’s “Consumer Pulse Survey” reported that they participated directly with a brand over the last year with acts including posting on social media, developing original content and even co-creating product offerings.
Human Experience
Know thyself. Striving for efficiency is a logical path forward for organizations scrambling to find any possible means to preserve their business. However, when the pandemic made technology the primary way for customers to interact with companies, it proved insufficient in building connections. According to Deloitte’s HX In Uncertainty research, which surveyed 16,000 individuals earlier this year, more than 56% of respondents reported they specifically desire a more “human” experience from virtual environments. How can companies become a bit more human? Deloitte’s research suggests C-suite leaders stay proactive in aligning their values with shareholders and view their organizations as human entities that mirror — and support — the values of those they are built to serve.
Fusion
The new ecosystem. Fusion is the art of bringing together new business partnerships, customer insights, and digital platforms to create ecosystems that more holistically address human needs. While partnerships were important ingredients to growth before the pandemic, an overwhelming majority of C-suite executives (78%) agreed that new relationships forged during COVID-19 will continue to be part of a long-term strategy after the pandemic subsides. And although executives are still operating with a defensive mindset – 42% of respondents are looking at digital investments as a way to improve efficiency while very few (17%) are looking to grow revenues. Through pioneering partnerships that address customer needs beyond what their organization does today, companies can establish a new, proactive mindset focused on growth, differentiation and disruption.
Trust
The promises we keep – or don’t. Trust is built on a brand’s promise and the delivery of their product or service. Even in the most turbulent of times, when delivery meets expectations, brands build trust. When the gap between messaging and delivery widens, trust breaks down and reputation suffers. 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 and Deloitte found that consumers are 2.8 times more likely to continue purchasing from a brand after a data breach when brands are transparent in their intentions. Deloitte’s “Consumer Pulse Study” reported that even during the global pandemic, a third of respondents most concerned with data privacy are willing to share data with businesses helping with the pandemic given that they were trustworthy organizations operating both transparently and ethically.
Talent
Marketing disrupted. As the pandemic shifted ways of working and impacted budgets and even headcount, marketing organizations have focused on ways to make their most valuable asset – their talent – a strategic force. The Deloitte “Global Marketing Trends C-suite Survey” found that a vast majority of CMOs (77%) have turned to AI to automate work during the pandemic, but on a small fraction of those (6%) have also tapped the gig economy – an option that could allow companies to scale their workforce up or down as needed. An interesting layer to the CMO response regarding the role of gig workers, the Deloitte “Consumer Pulse Survey” found that 14% of respondents had entered the gig economy for the first time during the pandemic.

 

 
 
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