January 14, 2021

By Nate

There is no doubt that the marketing landscape looks a heck of a lot different now than it did a year ago. But for all the discomfort, challenges, and limitations that 2020 imposed on us, it also brought about a healthy dose of lessons and takeaways to keep top-of-mind in 2021.

From new shopping habits to our prioritizing of health, hygiene, and cleanliness, the ways in which we do business have fundamentally changed. To better understand what to expect or pay close attention to in 2021, I’ve connected with my colleagues at Intrigue to gather their thoughts.

Here are their top tips and marketing predictions for the year ahead:

1. Make Convenience A Priority

“Lockdowns, quarantines, and retail closures have sent consumers online in record-breaking numbers in 2020. According to a global survey conducted by Shopify, “84% of all consumers shopped online during the pandemic.”

Everything from booking a dog grooming appointment to ordering groceries, there’s an amplified desire for convenience and immediacy — and that’s not about to change in 2021. Creating an online user experience focused on convenience will be the most competitive asset for your business.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Is your website lightning fast?

Is it optimized across devices?

Do you offer an online payment option?

How easily can customer support be reached?

Does it offer a dark mode option? (Yes, some audiences consider eye-strain to be an inconvenience on their user-experience!)

These are all things to consider this year, especially if you want your website to stand out against your competitors. A tool like SEOptimer is a good place to start for a snapshot into your website’s performance and effectiveness.” – Katie

2. Look For Opportunities To Better Serve Your Customers

“From a technological standpoint, COVID-19 has propulsed society forward by about 10 years. In many ways, this has made experiences for customers faster, more efficient, and more convenient than ever before. In the last 3 months, for example, I have experienced the following from local companies:

  • RideKleen brought car detailing and sanitization to my home.
  • Crafty Ramen’s monthly subscription meant that I had delicious ramen kits — with all ingredients and instructions — delivered to my home.

Both of these companies did not offer these services before the pandemic began. In addition, I also enjoyed:

  • Wine delivery within an hour of ordering it from Grape Big Love.
  • Catered lunch delivered for a virtual board meeting by Chef-alot.
  • A contactless quote for new windows and doors from George Kent.

These are just a few examples of how businesses are adapting to become more customer-focused and convenient. It is certainly pushing us to think about how we can improve our customer journey, and I hope it does for you too.” – Paul

3. Be Bullish On Email


“Every year, email marketing proves the juice is most definitely worth the squeeze, and 2021 will be no different. Last year, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), conversions via email were higher than direct and search, and double that of social media. What does that mean? It means that the average ROI of email marketing is going to continue to hover around 40:1. It needs to be a piece to every entrepreneur’s digital marketing puzzle.” – Andrew

Value of an email contact
The value of an email contact rose from $16 to $33 in 2020. Source: Shopify

4. Showcase The Humanity Behind Your Brand


“Less salesy and more empathetic messaging will dominate 2021. Highlighting the people that make up your team, the reasons why you do what you do every day, what differentiates you from the competition, and how you can help the consumer while being relatable and empathetic is definitely the way to go. Look towards humanizing your brand.” – Aphra

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5. Get (More) Social On Social

“As more and more people continue to browse and make purchases online, social media will continue to play an important role in strengthening your brand’s presence. Businesses that have seen the most success throughout the pandemic have leveraged their social media channels to provide value, showcase their team, and engage with their customers. Over time, this strategy will help build more trust and strengthen your relationships, leading to higher customer retention and more repeat business.” – Matt

Intrigue's Facebook page
Team members play a prominent role on Intrigue’s social media.

6. Become Laser-Focused On Your Customer Experience


“With increased competition online and attention spans on the decline, everything you do in your business needs to keep your core customer at the centre. This means engaging in conversation through your social platforms and over the phone. It also means going through your website as if you were a potential client to ensure a frictionless purchase experience. Even the simplest gesture like running a small but meaningful contest, highlighting other local businesses in your community, or offering an acknowledgment on social media can create customers for life.” – Tricia

7. Find Creative Ways To Deepen Your Connections


“In a time when we are physically disconnected from one another, building on other forms of human connection is more important than ever. Businesses that offer a deeper level of connection than a simple transaction are not only going to deliver a better customer experience, they’re going to win more business. Building a culture of picking up the phone to enhance communication — or sending video messages — will go a long way when people are bombarded with mass emails, instant messages, and chat bots.

As for your team, getting creative with video calls can be hugely powerful. Regular video huddles, trivia lunches, social coffee breaks, or happy hour on Zoom can help bring people together and strengthen your company culture. My personal favourite is the good news call. Between 4:30pm and 5pm, call a team member and let them know how much they mean to the team. This has been a game-changer for us!” – Rob

A Zoom call with the Intrigue team
With some effort, company culture can still flourish even amidst a pandemic.

8. Build And Nurture A Virtual Community


“In the early months of the pandemic, virtual events and webinars presented a form of human interaction that people so deeply craved. Of course, it was only a matter of time until Zoom fatigue settled in and people started feeling tapped out. But that doesn’t mean virtual events are no longer relevant or have gone the way of the dodo. Quite the contrary, it points to an opportunity to rethink and refine an outdated model, and improve the outcome for the end user.

Our prediction for 2021 and beyond? Virtual events that champion interaction, panel discussions, and break-out sessions with in-depth conversations around specific topics will be favoured. And businesses that create online communities to further engage their audience before, during, and after an event will come out on top.” – Zoey & Nate

We hope these tips and recommendations prove useful to your business as you plan out the year ahead. As Bruce Lee once put it, “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.

If you’re ready to take your business to new heights in 2021 — or would like a proven process that delivers a 5:1 ROI — Intrigue’s Marketing Action Plan® if for you. Learn more here, and book your free MAP® consultation today.

What are your biggest predictions and business recommendations for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nate works to drive Intrigue's growth goals through data-driven inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs free up their time so that they can focus on what they do best: run amazing companies. You can usually catch him riding his mountain bike or devouring a slice of pizza.

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