Crossroads Communications
A purple graphic with a white line starting at one side creating "2021" and ending on the other side of the graphic, with text below that reads "Crossroads Predicts 2021 Marketing Trends" crossed out with a red line. Underneath that is more text that says "Were we correct?"

Assessing Our 2021 Marketing Predictions: Make or Miss?

July 23, 2021

In January, the Crossroads Team made our predictions for what the 2021 marketing landscape and trends would look like. Now that we’ve reached third quarter, we thought it might be fun to look back and assess those predictions and whether they’ve rang true throughout the last seven months.

We’ve developed a handy ranking system to give a visual representation of how spot on (or not) our predictions might’ve been. Let’s dive in.

Prediction #1

Consumer behavior will continue to operate around convenience in 2021.

“Having groceries delivered to your door or having a Target employee drop your order into your trunk without so much as a card swipe is a luxury that many weren’t aware of prior to this year. It saves time and effort, and as we begin the slow integration back into societal norms, we think people will value their time with other humans even more – at least for a little while.”

Prediction #1 Assessment:

According to a PwC’s March 2021 Global Consumer Insight Pulse Survey, people are shopping more exclusively online in 2021, with an emphasis on delivery speed and reliability.

It’s also no secret that bite-sized video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are making it easier than ever to meet consumers right where they are – scrolling through their feed. With Instagram’s recent acknowledgement that the platform will no longer be a photo sharing app, we don’t see video content taking a backseat anytime soon. Meeting consumers in their feed is the ultimate display of a convenience-based consumer climate.

Prediction #1 Accuracy:

We don’t know about you, but we’re not giving up our Instacart and Shipt memberships anytime soon. Thumbs up.

Prediction #2

Our online lives will continue to be highly important – platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Teams are likely to stay a part of the workflow for companies.

“That means your marketing may also have to adapt (or continue to adapt) to a sales cycle paradigm that remains strongly digital. How can you help people grasp the experience of working with your company, touring your facilities, meeting your people, using your product(s), and so on?”

Prediction #2 Assessment:

While many businesses have reached some form of an integrated, in-person structure, the digital tools we grew accustomed to in 2020 are still very much in use (and growing) in 2021. Grand View Research recently published an article with the following video conferencing statistic:

Prediction #2 Accuracy:

Pajama pants during meetings are going to be a thing for years to come. Spot on.

Prediction #3

We think the last Internet Explorer holdouts will be forced to finally relinquish grip of their beloved browser as it will no longer be supported by Microsoft.

(insert cheering!)

Prediction #3 Assessment:

Say it ain’t so! Microsoft recently announced that their support of IE will continue until June 15th, 2022. Their recommended browser moving forward is Microsoft Edge.

Prediction #3 Accuracy:

Unless Microsoft changes their mind, we missed the ball on this one. We’re not cyber security experts, but we do recommend you retire this browser before its end-of-life date, however. Nobody has time for a security breach. Overall, thumbs down.

Prediction #4

We predict that brands will realize that diversity in representation is no longer an option.

“It will be the mainstream, not the niche market. Authentic visuals (meaning, not using stock photos of a team that isn’t your actual team) of a diverse company workforce, culture statements with teeth and meaning, modern representation of the diversity of humans in marketing – all these things matter to today’s well-informed consumer and that importance will continue to grow.”

Prediction #4 Assessment:

Consumers do continue seeking out brands who are inclusive in their marketing efforts. While this is incredibly important to incorporate into the foundations of a marketing strategy, it must be done authentically, in a way that is true to your core values. Need help defining exactly what those might be for your business? Crossroads can help.

Prediction #4 Accuracy:

A study by Deloitte Digital from July 2020 found that 69% of brands who developed ads that were perceived as diverse and inclusive gained brand love over the past two years. So, while every good marketer already knows diversity is more than just a box to tick, the jury is still out on whether the rest of the world has come to the same conclusion.

We’ll leave it up to you – how do you think we did?

Prediction #5

Brands must continue to humanize. Smart businesses understand being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable is smart marketing in 2021. People connect with people.

“This means the brand should be personified in a way that reveals who they are and what they stand for. We’re not talking about political party or platforms here… we’re talking about having values that you communicate and deliver upon. No marketing is as powerful as that which happens when a company promises “X” as an experience or outcome, delivers big on “X,” and the customer tells others about it. The first step isn’t the telling of others, or the delivering… it’s the promising. That’s what we mean when we say brands should reveal who they are and what they stand for.”

Prediction #5 Assessment:

Microsoft and Hubspot’s 2020 joint market study revealed that 72% of people are more likely to support brands with authentic advertising – how do you humanize your brand based on who you are? Perhaps it’s creating content that expands the awareness of your company values. Maybe it’s committing to some original photography of the actual humans doing the actual things instead of the stuffy stock photos you’ve used thus far. Whatever it might mean, the Crossroads team is ready to help you define the path ahead.

Prediction #5 Accuracy:

Call it Human-to-Human marketing, empathetic marketing, personified marketing – whatever. The point is, after a year of witnessing each other’s ungroomed personal lives through our virtual conference calls (yeah, we’re looking at you – guy who flushed the toilet while forgetting to hit the mute button), people see through inauthenticity faster and more accurately than ever before. In our opinion, we must humanize our brands. That’s all there is to it.

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