The Future of Post-Pandemic Marketing: 5 Predictions for 2021

Summary: If you’re new to the WSI blog, each year we publish a set of predictions of what’s ahead of you digitally. This gives us a theoretical platform to analyze and predict the future of marketing and, if we are right, outperform our competitors.

Well… this post is going to be a little different from the previous ones, right? I think this is true for most things in 2020, so it’s not surprising anymore.

Usually, when December rolls around, we poetically talk about the joy of Thanksgiving, which flows into the fun and wonder of the holiday season, culminating in Christmas and New Year’s. Then we write our annual marketing forecast post and all is well in the world.

We are still going to do all of the above. And we sincerely wish that you continue to find the joy and fun of yesteryear in the 2020 holiday season while staying safe and sound.

If you’re new to the WSI blog, each year we publish a set of predictions of what’s ahead of you digitally. This applies to 2014 (see past projections for 2015 2016 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020) and gives us a theoretical platform to analyze and predict the future of marketing and, if we are right, outperform our competitors.

Here is the ratings legend we created for the original post back in 2014:

  • Oracle (+2) – when we’re so right it’s like we sent that nice lady from TMatrix
  • Oracle In-Training (+1) – we didn’t quite see the whole picture, but hey, we did see the future
  • Clean as dirt (0) – We were wrong, but we weren’t wrong either.
  • Slightly outside (-1) – we tried to paint the corner of the plate, but the pump did not call us
  • Swing and miss (-2) – like a batter who expects a fastball and gets a curve, we weren’t close

As usual, before we dive into 2021 predictions, let’s take a look at what we’ve done in 2020. Fair warning, this may or may not be a rough set of predictions as it was made in December 2019 before we knew what 2020 would bring. really prepared for us:

#1: Zero click search will continue to catch on

Rating: +1

I have no doubt that “Zero Click” searches have increased again in 2020, although the data to support this is harder to come by than last year. Oddly enough, the three fairly large sites I work on saw about 20% less organic traffic on an annualized basis during the 11 months of 2020 compared to 2019. That’s enough to put an end to it.

While in most cases data is extremely important for us to win, it is clear that Google is trying to keep users on their pages. Read our post here for some of the changes to featured snippets since early 2020 and this post on why you should care about SERP SEO.

On the Moz blog, they actually excluded the blog content from the featured snippets, just to test if a true #1 rating is actually better than an answer box or other featured snippet. It’s not, but the fact that they even considered and then acted upon something like this tells you what they think Google is trying to achieve.

#2: It’s time to consider other communication channels (besides email) as key conversion points

Rating: +2

While we’re not happy about it in any way, it’s a big win, and the pandemic has helped in part. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken retail to the brink as more and more brands move their sales online. Obviously, human touch points with customers through email and phone lines have played a huge role in this, but so have chatbots.

Here are some statistics to support our two-point claim:

#3: Software vendors will focus on customer data compliance

Rating: +1

See #2 for reasons why this definitely happened, though we’re not thrilled about why.

The pandemic has not only pushed more people to shop online, it has also sent home the vast majority of those in the digital industry. Posts like this one indicate that real-time data compliance is improving all over the world right now.

#4: Influencer marketing will continue to grow

Rating: +1

While looking for statistics to support this, I found this here: “…influencer marketing is the fastest growing online customer acquisition method.”

There are many other nuggets in this article that suggest that influencer marketing remains a hot tactic in 2020 and will only grow, for example almost 70% of big brands indicate they will spend more on influencer marketing in the future.

I also think it’s a big win (and certainly something I’ve been looking forward to) that SparkToro has finally launched its core product offerings in 2020. Paid service to help you “discover publications and people that influence any group of people online” this is definitely a sign that influencer marketing has come and will stay.

Must Read:  Post-COVID Digital Trends that are Here to Stay

#5: Alternative search engines (NOT Bing or Yahoo) will appear on their own

1st class

As much as I thought it should come true, especially when Google failed, I don’t think this chart indicates we were right:


So take L and move on!

Final score: +4

Well, we are again a point or two behind last year’s result, and we are three behind our all-time record made in the 2018 prediction package. But given the extremely volatile year we’ve all had in 2020, we’ll take those results and move on to bigger and better things in 2021, thanks a lot!

Moving on, let’s put 2020 in the rearview mirror! Here are a few things we think will be implemented in 2021:

#1: Sales will continue to shift towards e-commerce

We are a bit embarrassed to make this prediction because this has been happening throughout 2020 and will definitely continue. But not everyone sees this as obvious, and this includes some businesses that would rather lament “lockdowns” and “restrictions” than adapt their business to changing times and market conditions. It may be difficult, but it’s true.

Because here’s the thing. While the pandemic has pushed companies to step up their e-commerce game and expand their digital presence, consumers have quickly realized how easy and convenient it is to shop online. This is dangerous for businesses that don’t like change.

#2: The workforce will remain as remote and digital as possible

Again, this is a common sense prediction. Most of the workforce that could work seamlessly from home did work from home in 2020. In a post-pandemic world, offices will still matter, but for a workforce that has seamlessly transitioned entirely to remote work, businesses will be far less office-centric than they used to be.

Need to go to the office once a week for a team meeting? Certainly. But the days of commuting to and from the office, spending hours a day just getting from point A to point B when you can do everything you do at point B, from point A, are over. And this is an extremely positive thing in many respects.

#3: Communication – both internal and external – will matter more than ever and improve

By this we mean that as a result of Prediction #2, employees and teams will communicate better with each other. This has already happened in 2020, but it will continue. Working remotely has been a positive for keeping meetings short and communication concise and to the point, allowing everyone to make better use of their time.

In the same vein, businesses will need to update their lead and customer interaction funnels if they haven’t already. Customer retention is very important in these difficult times, as we all know, it’s easier to retain a customer than it is to find a new one, so let that dictate how and when you communicate with your existing paying customers.

#4: Virtual Events Will Grow and Evolve

Out of necessity, many already planned 2020 events have been moved online. Some of them were, to put it mildly, difficult, but we all went through it because there was no other way out.

In 2021, events will initially be planned as virtual, and they will be much better off for that. We even wrote some tips for you.

In addition, virtual events will improve as more tools and services are launched to make it easier to host large online conferences and meetings. This leads to our more general fifth prediction…

#5: New digital tools and services will emerge

Tough times breed innovation. The 2020 pandemic is living proof of this as the world is on the cusp of the fastest vaccine development and distribution in history.

Similarly, we sincerely believe that in the coming years, starting in 2021, there will be huge innovations in almost every major industry. There will be tools, software and devices, some of which have not even been invented yet. that change our lives.

This is a general prediction, yes. But it’s important to use it to stay open to adapting and changing on the fly. When something new comes along, the very first adopters are often the biggest winners. Keep this in mind and pay special attention to new things or ideas when they come up – you never know where they will take you or what success they will bring.

And this is enough for our forecasts for 2021! From all of us at WSI, we look forward to what the New Year brings as we hope it will be brighter and more optimistic than 2020. We wish everyone a happy holiday season and, most importantly, continued health and safety!

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