As marketers, we are always looking to understand how to adapt to the latest methods of communicating and connecting with our audiences.
I for one have had to make a lot of changes to the way that I do business this year and I’ve put a lot of thought into how I can apply the lessons I’ve learned to the years ahead.
In this article, I share the top 5 marketing trends for 2021 that will change the way you drive demand for your business.
I won’t leave you in suspense any longer: here they are.
The Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2021
Relationship Generation Over Lead Generation
I’m going to call it, lead generation is dead.
There comes a time when certain words need to be retired.
“Lead” is one of them.
It reinforces all the wrong behaviors.
Think about it.
If you focus on only generating leads, then you will immediately start to lose your focus on understanding the needs and desires of your potential prospects, whether you realize it or not.
Your “lead” becomes a participant in a transaction rather than a person that you may be able to help with the value that you offer.
Instead, focus on creating real relationships by genuinely engaging with your prospects.
Reach out to them with no agenda besides understanding them as people.
You’d be surprised at how guarded people will be at first, even when you take this perspective.
People are so used to being sold to that genuine interest can be hard to believe.
Make that your advantage.
Focus on Education, Not Advertising
Good copy is important — it always will be —but the perfect words will never produce any results for your business if they are conveying the wrong message.
With everything that you communicate about your company, you should be hyper-focused on educating your market on how you are different and why your customers should care.
Focus on delivering audio, video, and written communication that delivers the information your prospects are interested in without expecting any immediate result.
People are not opposed to exploring new solutions that can solve their problems. What they don’t like is being manipulated by tactics marketers have gotten away with for too long.
While there is a place for direct advertising, your marketing efforts need to be focused on driving demand.
Demand is only generated at the moment you create certainty in the mind of your customers that you are the brand that they have been looking for.
It is hard to be patient when it comes to marketing your business, but true demand comes from the strength of your brand and your brand is built on how you deliver for your customers.
Don’t wait until they buy to take care of them, start now.
Content Distribution at Scale
Content isn’t easy. Video, podcasts, and repurposing content aren’t easy things to manage. A lot of marketers talk about their content strategy, but few of them are doing it at the scale they need to be.
A great content strategy comes from working hard to refine processes, technology, and tools to create high-quality content with a distribution system that other businesses can’t compete with.
Produce quality and quantity. That’s how you win.
Not every business can distribute its content on every platform. But that shouldn’t stop you from starting.
Build a foundational piece of content, such as interviews, how-to guides, or recaps of industry news, then repurpose it on as many platforms as you can.
This is what I do with my podcast and I’ve found that it makes life so much easier.
Shift Towards Account-Based Marketing
If you are marketing to other businesses, you know there are many decision-makers involved no matter what your price point is.
As you cultivate relationships with key prospects, you may find there are unspoken concerns from other members of the organization that you never had a chance to address.
There is nothing worse than thinking that you are moments away from inking a deal and learning that, “It’s just not the right fit”.
That is why account-based marketing (ABM) is vital for modern business.
Account-based marketing is a strategy that involves taking a personalized approach to winning new business by marketing to multiple stakeholders of an organization you want to work with. Not just the top decision-maker.
In a recent study, LinkedIn found that 56% of B2B marketers globally are using account-based marketing. Over 80% of them plan to increase their budget for it in the coming year.
That’s more than a trend, it’s a warning sign.
As millennials begin to occupy more decision-making positions throughout industries across the globe, we are starting to see a lot more decisions by committee.
You do not want to miss out on potential business by failing to adapt to this shift in the buying process.
How do you do it? Start simple.
As you double down on your content distribution, you’ll learn that the first step to engaging members of a prospective account is connecting with them on social accounts like LinkedIn so you can share your ideas with them as well.
As you engage more and more, opportunities present themselves for more meaningful conversations.
Community Building for Genuine Engagement
Simply posting content online, isn’t enough. You may resonate with some, but for most, it will only be the first step.
If you want to generate engagement and interest in what you do, shift your focus towards building something more lasting and meaningful from a consumer perspective, deliver experiences.
Build an online group of customers on a similar journey. Create an environment in which everyone can share ideas, collaborate, and help each other.
This will build real momentum around what you offer and give you insight into what questions have yet to be addressed in your market.
You can be the one who puts out little fires for people at scale, without ever asking anything from them in return.
Go live. Create a slack channel. Build a group-text.
There isn’t one way to do it, but the important thing is that you start.
Take 2021 as an opportunity to throw out the old rule book.
Generate relationships and you will generate demand.
Educate your target audience by delivering content at scale and if you want to make a deal happen, do not limit your efforts to just the top decision-maker. Influence the influencer.
Build a community around what you do and be the one who is always looking to provide the most value.
Consumers want to be led, not convinced. And this is your time to lead them.
No matter what you are marketing, be a thought leader.
If you have any questions on how to apply the marketing trends for 2021 to your marketing strategy, please reach out!