The global pandemic has upended the way we shop online and in stores in many ways, forever. Consumers’ needs, wants and shopping behaviors continue to evolve at a rapid pace, which has made 2021 marketing strategy planning a challenge for all of us.
While 2020 was difficult for most brands, it was inspiring to see how swiftly brands responded with creativity and innovation to put consumers first.
Here are two of the top trends we see continuing and evolving into 2021…
Selling direct-to-consumer (DTC) is not a new trend. For nearly a decade, consumers have been making the switch to DTC niche brands for an authentic engagement, great service, innovation and tailored offerings.
For some brands, making the move into DTC selling amidst COVID has provided a much-needed opportunity to reconnect with shoppers and build back revenue streams lost in store.
Heading into the new year we are likely to see more brands adopt DTC selling that previously relied heavily on 3rd party retailers.
Making the leap is not simple but might be exactly what will keep your consumers engaged and your brand relevant. Here are just a few benefits:
· Brands have complete control of the shopping experience
· Eliminates branding and communication restrictions on how to tell your brand story and educate consumers
· Brands will acquire a vast amount of shopper data on buying behaviors, interests and preferences
· Reduces reliance on 3rd party vendors
· Allows brands to create unique experiences, build meaningful engagement and deepen brand loyalty.
The US has experienced waves of extreme challenges throughout the year - the pandemic, political and social unrest and economic recession. More than ever, consumers are expecting brands to be part of the solution and contribute to “social good.” Consumers are also quick to boycott brands that do not support their values.
Cause marketing is when a brand partners with a charity organization with a shared goal usually to raise money and awareness for that organization while the brand benefits from the campaign exposure.
Brands typically integrate the initiative into a long-term strategy as opposed to a one-off campaign. The charity organization should be carefully selected and vetted to ensure it’s a perfect fit - the two entities should have some commonality that makes sense to consumers.
Here are just a few benefits of cause marketing for brands:
· Create shareable content that your consumers care about and want to promote
· Drive trial. Consumers are more likely to try a new product if its connected with a cause
· Choosing the right cause to partner with can help you connect with a new target market segment that has similar or shared values
· DO GOOD! Cause marketing is a win-win when executed correctly - it’s good for the brand and the selected charity.
· Oh, it can also help recruit new talent to your organization so we’ll call it a win-win-win!
At IMC, we’re optimistic about the year ahead. Our thinking caps are on and we’re ready to tackle these new challenges with you with a winning, innovative spirt.
Let’s do it!