• Lauren Perna

Predictions for Marketing & Communications in a Post-2020 World

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

We are finally into the last few months of 2020, and the world is holding its collective breath, just waiting to see how this year will end.

Doesn’t it feel like people are thinking things will magically change when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2020? I wish! Unfortunately, this is not Cinderella and I don’t think we’ll see too much of a change immediately.

If we look at this year and all that has happened—a pandemic, social unrest, a divisive election, killer bees, Tiger King (ok, JK but seriously this year is nuts)—it has deeply impacted our country and our culture. It has changed how we do business, how we interact with people, how we spend time with our family.

The way businesses market their services and communicate with their audience has also changed. So, what does that mean for the future of marketing and communications?

Well, I don’t have a crystal ball (again, I wish!) but I can offer some insight based on what I have seen thus far. I have highlighted my top five predictions for the future of marketing/communications in a post-2020 world. 🔮

Fun fact, although I can't see the future I did play a wizard in my senior high school play. Yes, beard and all. 🧙‍♂️

Digital presence will be even more important.

This a no-brainer and obviously already happening, but it’s worth mentioning. Believe it or not, there are still many businesses that don’t have a digital marketing/communications plan. Or if they do, it’s not strategic. According to an informal poll by SmarterInsights, 45% of survey participants utilize digital marketing but do not have a strategy.

Businesses that haphazardly included digital media into their marketing strategy will realize the need to bring on digital marketing strategists, or the need to put some serious thought into the area. That leads me to my next thought.

Coaching and self-directed learning will rise.

Those small businesses that considered holiday posts a social media strategy, are also the same businesses that might not have it in their budget to bring on a digital marketing agency. Instead, I see these businesses investing in digital media coaching and courses.

Just about every single social media expert or digital marketing authority that I follow is also a coach or has a course. These are easy wins for the expert, as there is much less involvement than done-for-you services. And for a company with a small marketing budget, this is a great alternative to shelling out a regular fee.

Coaching services and courses are usually laid out in a way that a multi-faceted marketing person or an ambitious owner could understand and implement a basic strategy. The other aspect is that there is so much free information out there, businesses will undoubtedly utilize self-guided resources more.

Creativity will play a big part in strategy.

Those plug-and-play marketing strategies that worked before may not translate as well in our newfound world. They’ll need some bedazzling, i.e. some personalization and creativity.

The competition for attention on social media is fiercer than ever, so businesses will need to find ways to stand out. Not only that, but tried-and-true methods of marketing (like conventions or mailers) won’t have as much pull, so businesses will also need to be creative in their lead generation and customer loyalty programs.

People will find different ways to connect in place of events.

This dovetails on the above. For many B2B companies, events and conferences are a huge part of the sales and marketing strategy. And no matter how clever the digital event platform, nothing can replace the authenticity of an in-person event.

Therefore, it’ll be important for businesses to harness the power of social media and digital marketing to fill that gap as best they can. Whether that’s Facebook Lives or VIP roundtables there are ways, but it’ll take constant innovation as I also anticipate these strategies getting stale after a while.

Companies that stayed the course will do well.

I say this with reservation because I realize the deep impact that 2020 has had on businesses across the globe. For many folks, the impact of this year has simply been too much, and no strategy could have changed that.

However, for the businesses that can weather the storm—if they pivot their marketing strategies and maximize the power of digital platforms, they will do well.

One thing is for sure, our world will never be the same after this year.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my predictions. Agree? Disagree? Anything to add?

Shoot me a note if you'd like to see what else my crystal ball has to say. 🧙‍♂️🔮

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