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Happy winter to everyone! As we like to do every January/February we bring you the most important trends affecting the world of marketing, digital and business in general.

The world continues to change rapidly due to Covid-19, and these changes are directly affecting every business. In general, things have started to look up a bit. The number of Covid-19 cases had dropped, businesses in most categories have started to bounce back, and the stock market, which was down -32% from its February 2020 high, has roared back quite dramatically. We have two highly effective Covid vaccines being widely distributed around the world (Pfizer, Moderna), a third one being used in Europe (Astra Zeneca), and two others which could be approved over the next few weeks (Johnson & Johnson and Novavax). But on the risk side, there are new Covid variants (UK, South African, and Brazilian) which could create problems, and many continued geo-political risks across the world (China, Russia, Iran, etc.) which will certainly challenge the new Biden administration.   

So as we’re now both feet into 2021, let’s have a look into the ‘crystal ball’ to see where the marketing and business world is trending. I’m pleased to provide the 10 marketing trends and predictions I believe all businesspeople need to keep in mind, and to integrate into their 2021 planning and execution. In addition, these can help answer the question on everyone’s minds… What can I do right now from a marketing and sales perspective to grow my business despite the trials and tribulations of Covid-19? After you read these, I’d love to get your feedback as to whether these do justice for what is really going on within the marketplace, so please feel free to connect via e-mail, Linked In or Twitter.

Yosi’s Crystal Ball – 10 Marketing & Digital Predictions for 2021!

And here they are…

1. Digital is Accelerating Historically & Many Related Business “Pivots” Are Likely to Become Permanent

Since the pandemic began, there has been major transformation in the ways we interact with our families, get our work done, talk to our doctors, travel, spend leisure time, and conduct virtually all of our “way of life” tasks. According to McKinsey, these changes have accelerated the migration to digital technologies at a stunning scale and speed, across every sector. As one CEO remarked…“We are witnessing what will certainly be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digital access to services across literally every domain.” Through the Covid-19 recovery, and well beyond, digital will play a defining role…or even the defining role. And most of these changes will likely be somewhat permanent.

Hence, it becomes critical to quickly accelerate your digital efforts. Ask yourself…Do I leverage and monetize my website and your other digital channels as well as I could? We’re now in a new world. As customers continue to interact with digital more than ever, companies need to quickly rethink their customer journey and accelerate the development of digital solutions….whether their website, e-commerce, e-mail, blogging/content, social media, search, lead generation via Linked In, Amazon, video, etc. 

2. “Virtual” is the New Modis Operandi, And Welcome to the New Remote Working Culture (Where Zoom Rules)

Forrester predicts that the remote working culture will be up 300% since before the pandemic. In fact, pre-pandemic, I used to have 3 meetings per quarter via Zoom Today, I’m have 3 meetings per day, whether I’m in my office or at home working virtually! It almost feels like you’re actually sitting in front of the other person. Zoom will likely affect how and where we conduct business going forward. And virtual “events” are also growing dramatically.

Who needs to fly out to Los Angeles for a meeting or a seminar when one can accomplish the same thing via Zoom? The travel industry will likely continue to suffer for some time as business travel will decline even after the pandemic recedes. And Zoom’s stock price? Up over 500% in 2020! 

3. Video continues to be the most influential form of digital content for business

Per Forbes, this is because as our attention spans decrease, marketers are relying more on creating short video content to get people’s attention, boost search engine rankings, increase engagement, and website traffic. And no wonder…With 5x higher recall than the written word, video is the most engaging media format and the most effective in assisting conversations. In fact, 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate.

And videos really deliver for marketers. For one, videos on landing pages increase conversion by 86% and shopping cart sizes by 125%! In fact, according to Forbes, YouTube has the best ROI of any social platform. 

And don’t just think YouTube for video dissemination. You can also post videos or start a live broadcast on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook as well. So are you ready for this revolution yet?

4. Shopping is Witnessing a Major Migration to Digital & Social Media is Quickly Becoming Not Just For “Discovering”, But For Purchasing As Well

According to McKinsey, consumers vaulted five years in the adoption of digital in just eight weeks. Across the world, people are turning to digital and reduced-contact ways of accessing products and services. This digital trend is magnified for Gen Z, millennials, and higher-income consumers in general. Social commerce is on the rise as well: 34 percent of people say they have shopped on Instagram based on an influencer recommendation. Clients are asking me not only how to grow digital revenue in general, but how to better leverage Linked In, Instagram, Facebook and Amazon to drive more sales.

And this shift is likely to stick, to a large extent simply because e-commerce is often more efficient, less expensive, and safer for customers than shopping in physical stores. Moreover, as social distancing and protective measures remain the norm, shopping from our couches will seem even more convenient by comparison. For marketers, this means rethinking how to connect with consumers. Clearly a stronger emphasis on e-commerce and digital channels is crucial, including consideration of the role of direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce channels. Have you developed a plan to capitalize on this?

5. Amazon continues to dominate e-commerce and “change the game” in so many ways and in so many categories

Another trend that is here to stay….Since Covid-19 started, virtually every day, there are Amazon delivered packages on our home’s door step. Why? Because nothing is simpler and more convenient than ordering from Amazon Prime. To illustrate…I ordered a package of socks a few weeks ago on a Saturday night, and it was delivered (On Sunday at 6pm!), less than 24 hours later! 

In fact, E-Marketer reported that with an incredible 49.1% market share of online shopping, Amazon is bigger in e-commerce than eBay, Apple, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy and Macy’s combined! (And those retailers are all ranked in the Top 10 online!) And with Amazon’s stock price up over 75% in 2020, the proof is in the pudding. If what you sell can be sold on Amazon, you should look for ways to do it.

6. Marketing Automation is Quickly Becoming “Hyper Automation” (as Gartner Calls it)

For business, marketing automation and artificial intelligence are now at the heart of global business and industry. And for consumers, machine learning and artificial intelligence will penetrate further into our lives and impact a lot of processes that used to be manual, especially in digital and online. For example, with tools such as Intercom and Drift, marketers can use artificial intelligence powered live chat tools to communicate with customers. 

Interesting that marketing used to be mainly a ‘creative’ pursuit. Today, it is much beyond that especially given the intricacies of content, social media and search data. So you need more of a digital platform to manage it all. Marketing automation and AI make it much easier to segment contacts, capture and process new leads, schedule e-mail distribution based on consumer behaviors, automate social media postings, manage content flow, track a customer’s lifecycle, integrate cross channel programs, automate workflows, and measure the impact and ROI of specific programs! 

Businesses adopting MA & AI technology will experience significant cost savings, and accelerate their revenue growth…giving them an edge over their competition. Does your 2021 plan have this technology in it yet?

Yosi’s Final Predictions for 2021:

As there is so much to say, and we’re out of room here, please join me in a few weeks for the second half of this report when I’ll lay out the second set of 4 additional marketing predictions. We’ll discuss some of the other hottest topics and trends of the day including voice search/chatbots, Linked In Sales Navigator, “purpose” marketing and more. Be sure you’re on our subscriber list, so you’ll get them hot off the press. 

So until next time, good luck and good selling in 2021… and please stay safe!

Yosi