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Marketing 2021 and beyond: Are you listening?


The past two years have been unprecedented in many ways. Priorities have shifted, and behaviours changed, but we’ve all adapted and learnt more about what inbound marketing success looks like in an altered world. In this blog we bring you insights from HubSpot's 2021 ‘Not Another State of Marketing Report’ to help set you on the path to success in 2022. 

We are marketers. We find inspiration in the small things, keep our eye on the latest trends, analyse, and learn by taking notes from previous years. However, 2020 was unprecedented in many ways. Priorities shifted, and behaviours changed, but we all adapted and learnt more about what inbound marketing success looks like in an altered world.

Here we share critical insights from HubSpot's 2021 ‘Not another state of Marketing’ report. This report analyses data and trends from marketers around the world since 2020. We’ve done the leg-work for you and read the report from start to finish. So all you need to do is take a few minutes to read this blog to get the ‘best-of-the-best trends to consider in your own marketing programme. 


Trend #1- Campaigns Shifting Focus to Brand and Relationship Building.

Having a calendar of regular campaign activities is Marketing 101. Campaigns are typically used to promote specific products or services to generate leads and drive sales. However, post-2020, there’s been a significant shift. In 2021, marketers find campaign success in building relationships and optimising customer experiences to grow brand authenticity. Although lead generation is ultimately the end goal, it has become secondary to the more pressing goal of retaining and building connections with prospects and customers.

"Leads are a top marketing priority, but most campaigns are being run to generate brand awareness. Campaigns are now being associated with social media and influencer marketing, rather than just ebooks, events, or downloadable content." 

Trend #2 - Video Stays on Top and Goes to New Lengths.

The demand for video content continues to grow, and we’ve got the Covid-19 pandemic to thank for that. “The global pandemic has overwhelmingly impacted the amount of time people spend watching videos online.” While media uploads increased 80% year-over-year, minutes watched also increased 85% in 2020. 

Here’s a fun fact, people watched approximately 12.2 billion minutes of video last year, “that’s 23,211 years’ worth of content!” With these staggering numbers at hand, it’s not hard to believe that video is set to be the primary form of marketing media beyond 2021.

Short-form or long-form videos? 

With video volume up across the board, it’s helpful to know exactly what kind of video will convert the viewers. Short-form videos, ranging from 0 to 30 seconds long, increased in volume by 62% in 2020, with over 4.8 million uploads. 

However, long-form videos (30-60 minutes long) stole the show from a growth perspective. Videos in this category grew 140% in 2020, which suggests that “longer-form content is becoming a more popular option for businesses as more companies embrace video series and other long-form video content.”

Not only should you use video content to entertain and inspire, use it to educate, empower, and drive results for your brand. Here are some examples of the broad range of content we create for clients to do just that.

Trend #3 - Email Marketing gets Hyper-Personal 

Email has always been a top choice for marketers to connect with their audiences. And in a year where things were so uncertain, Marketers fell back on the authenticity and transparency of email communications to drive results.

Using hyper-personalised messages, email marketers have been more upfront with customers and employees than ever before. And the results are paying off, as 77% of marketers reported seeing more engagement with email over the past year.

What's more, Marketers this year are sending fewer weekly emails than last year, but they prioritise segmentation, personalisation, and automation.

Trend #4 - Are you Listening?

True Social listening looks beyond the numbers to discover the feelings behind the data. This allows you to establish authentic relationships directly with your audience, so you can learn exactly how to support, engage, and convert them into loyal brand advocates. 

So given the other insights from this report, it’s not surprising that social listening has become an important tactic to understand and connect with customers and brand protection. If you’re not doing social listening well yet, be sure to invest in social media experts and platforms that look beyond standard reporting and analytics as personalisation and conversation become increasingly important.

Trend #5 - Website SEO Performance is Top-dog!

Any marketer worth their weight in gold knows that SEO performance is fundamental to marketing success. In fact, 75% of marketers feel that SEO tactics are ‘extremely’ or ‘very' effective at helping them achieve their marketing goals, and 83% of respondents are either ‘very confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’ that their website is helping them reach their marketing goals. 

And with the ever-changing nature of Google’s algorithm, how browsers adapt and critical shifts in people’s security and privacy expectations as well as global mobility, it’s never been more important to keep a watchful eye on your SEO performance.

Unsure how your website is performing? Run it through our Website Grader now!

Our Key Takeaways:

At Engaging Partners, we’ve been looking at these reports for years. But this year, we’ve noticed a significant shift in the mood of the data. People seem to be really taking stock and thinking about things differently. The key insights we’ve taken from this report for our own and our clients’ marketing efforts are:

  • Authenticity should be your #1 priority.

  • Creating true connections with prospects and customers shifts focus from selling to brand.

  • Personalisation shows you care.

  • Take the time to listen and have conversations.

Try and incorporate a few of these insights into your marketing strategy, and watch your customer engagement change for the better!

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