How does one predict the future? Have as an accurate (and unromantic) view of the present as possible, and expand out what you’re already seeing a couple more months and shoot for a year. Past that – I have no idea!
Certainly – other 2021 marketing predictions have Chatbots, automation, and voice speakers at the center of their predictions, but I’m not so sure those items haven’t reached a fever pitch at present and like VR – may need another decade to perfect, to really be used in HUMAN-CENTERED marketing.
As you’ll see in my predictions, human need and empathy for humans is the #1 driving force in my 2020 marketing predictions:
1. Focus on website page speed becomes mainstream.
- Because it frustrates everyone when websites are slow.
- Shame on those that don’t focus on it (commercial WordPress themes, and too-large of images, Squarespace)
- Gzip in the htaccess, WP Fastest Cache, Images under 1500 px, and HTML & JS Minification become commonplace as higher executives start to look closer at what’s slowing down their website.
2. Privacy policies become more strict, interests come to a head.
- Because Facebook is scrutinized, Google is called-out, and Europe is cracking down.
- There will be advances in the display, and likely these types of items will be systematized into browsers, and social networks in a more standardized way.
3. Everyone will take security a little more seriously.
- People’s websites are being blocked by Google Chrome because of hacks.
- Even small businesses will care about this as they will have had a hack, or have seen someone’s business who has.
- Hosting companies like WP Engine are increasing the effort to take care of the security in their hosting – companies who don’t and have allowed vulnerable websites on their servers more often (like GoDaddy) will decreasing in popularity.
4. Content targeting deepens.
- Companies have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on content no-one is reading.
- If there isn’t a distribution strategy for a particular piece of content, either through SEO targeting, or expected ad spend – it should never be created in the first place.
- Marketing managers and directors may familiarize themselves with keyword research or should be adamant that they work with a specialist in this area.
5. Methods around tapping subject matter experts expand.
- People don’t trust the content they read on most company’s blogs.
- SEO companies will need to find ways to increase connection to internal experts and work with people in the company to outline important points and utilize subject matter experts in new and strategic ways.
- Using video to harvest insights, phone calls with writers, bullet-pointed outlines for articles – SME’s will communicate with a writing team to up the quality and value of content – while still being guided by an SEO team that understands an outside point of view and is still focused on not creating content no-one wants.
6. Marketers master vertical video.
- People are advertising heavily on Vertical video channels like Instagram, but the videos don’t match the size.
- Finding ways to shoot that don’t require peripheral items, and that keep the subject in the center of the shot will be important.
- You don’t need to shoot video 5 times, just keep the point of the focus centered in the shot, and cut the video twice (or three times if you are shooting for square as well.)
Note: If you haven’t started creating square videos with a title up-top, and subtitles below (people often don’t have sound on when watching) – it may be worth considering, as I have seen increases in engagement on our client’s videos, and our videos where we use this method.
7. “Influencers” become a dirty word, and smaller groups are considered influencers.
- TV Shows like ‘The Bachelor” are already making fun of people who consider their actual career – an “influencer”.
- While the effectiveness of ‘User Generated Content’ is on the rise, people who are JUST known for influencing will fall out of fashion.
- Utilize ‘influencers’ still who have other points of value – people who provide value and entertainment to their audiences in other ways than just ‘being an influencer.’
8. Customers and clients become a huge part of companies marketing – and are integrated into campaigns
- No one trusts companies – and instead, are much more likely to listen to an existing customer.
- If you don’t have ‘testimonial videos’ – stop what you’re doing and spend your marketing budget on telling your ideal customers story and making them look awesome.
- Finding ways to do this at scale will be huge. Service-based companies – should also incorporate heavy-duty campaigns to incorporate referral partners into their campaigns and make those referral partners look amazing so that those referral partners have a reason to spread their story far and wide.
9. Brands learn to create content with honesty, transparency, and quality at scale
- The ubiquitous ‘brand video’ is not enough content – and regular video campaigns are needed to satisfy the appetite for video content.
- Creating too much content that’s untargeted and uncompelling is an issue for many companies – who want to see more mileage out of every piece of content they produce. (i.e. GaryVee’s strategy to create 30 pieces of content from one piece of ‘pillar content’.) This involves taking something like an hour talk, turning it into a video for youtube, a podcast for iTunes and Spotify, a square post for social with headline and subtitles, 5 quotes for social / twitter – and getting crazy mileage out of one video basically.
- On the other hand – creating one piece of content every quarter isn’t really driving engagement for other companies who think ‘quality is more important than quantity.’ Well – congratulations no one knows who you are – so there has to be a balance.
Create a machine – that creates content at scale.
As Joe Pulizzi in ‘Content Inc.’ says – turn your company into a media company (or buy one), and make content central to your companies service to the community.
Along with serving the community through charity and events – educating and entertaining in the form of content marketing is still the central thrust in marketing right now – and will continue for the next 5-10 years.