Opinion: Marketing trends to bid goodbye to in 2021 – ETBrandEquity.com


Ishan Bose, CMO, KreditBee.

By Ishan Bose

The year 2020 has been a catalyst for innovation and digital adoption across all industries. Marketers and advertisers, too, need to be forward-thinking and creative to give consumers a personalized and interactive experience. Let us have a look at the list of marketing trends that should be bid a fond farewell to if marketers are to embrace new, more exciting possibilities in the year to come.

1. Advertisers considering top-of-the-funnel metrics like impressions, reach, clicks, and installs as a benchmark for acquisition marketing performance

With COVID, it’s not just businesses that have become more sensitive to the bottom line parameters. Even the respective business functions have now started benchmarking themselves based on criteria that are much closer to the business barometer. It’s time for all the digital marketers to move away from yardsticks on which they have a tighter leash but which don’t necessarily translate to money in the bank.

2. Affiliates sticking to cost models about digital metrics like installs and in-app events

The movement towards business-friendly criteria won’t just be limited to the demand side, but is highly likely to spill over to the supply side as well. Affiliates (self-serve advertising platforms, ad networks, and publishers) need to move on from cost models pertaining to digital metrics like installs and in-app events. Instead, they should embrace cost models relating to revenue and profitability. The evolution of UAC (Universal App Campaigns) on Google is a prime example. It started putting the machine learning algorithms on its entire mobile-based inventory to scale UAC Install (and later UAC Advanced Install) campaigns, where it would optimize the scale, cost, and quality of installs. From there, it moved to UAC Action campaigns, which would optimize in-app events, and in 2020 we saw beta launches of UAC Value and UAC re-engage campaigns, which would optimize the lifetime revenue from newly acquired users and funnel movement for existing users, respectively. This is an interesting trend likely to be adopted by other affiliates as well since the advertisers would be quick to make this tectonic shift to evaluate ROAS based on not just event count but the lifetime value (LTV) of the user acquired.

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3. Entities relying on standard CRM communication practices like SMS, Email, OBD, and IVR

CRM communication to end users must grow past yesteryear practices to incorporate a plethora of path-breaking changes. Some of these would be WhatsApp taking over SMS, Social media DMs taking overpromotional emails (Case-in-point: LinkedIn Inmail), In-App Notifications taking over App Inbox and pre-recorded IVR & dynamic robocalls taking over customer service outbound calls. Whereas the advent of automation has already been realized, 2021 will see it graduate to the next level of incremental utility, leading to a much larger impact in both top-of-the-funnel acquisition and bottom-of-the-funnel conversion.

4. Affiliates counting entirely on standard first-degree ad placements by the advertisers or agencies directly, or run-of-the-mill targeting techniques

In 2021, proactive derivative techniques (like placing native ads and pursuing content marketing) at the end of ad serving platformscould see a larger adoption. One may call it smart targeting (ripping off the analogy from smartphones). This would influence users to consider a particular proposition both via direct earmarking and indirect maneuvering.

Even on the targeting side, using a phone’s microphone for ads and stories (enabled by user permission) could start garnering a larger prevalence among ad-serving platforms. What we saw on the Netflix original series ‘The Social Dilemma’ might be the new norm. This would impact consumer behavior heavily, since in many cases, such collaterals would assist users in high-involvement purchases, thus playing a pivotal role in purchase decisions.

5. Advertisers and Ad-serving platforms banking only on static ads to pursue users

Marketers should move away from purely static ads and explore the potential of dynamic, personalized ads in 2021. These ads would use names, pictures, or even behavior on particular platforms as a part of the narrative (in written or verbal format, in a text, image, or video ad as appropriate) to pitch ads to users. The experience would be akin to being welcomed by a shopkeeper with a personal greeting. Dynamic personalization would be far more attention-grabbing than static ads and lead to a higher probability of conversion.

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6. Product Marketers applying standard product flows for all users

In 2021, product marketers should consider customized product flows specific to user cohorts, rather than a solitary standard product flow for all users. While that sounds a tad risky, if backed by proper research and a seamless user experience and interface, this could turn out to be a game-changer in the digital ecosystem. Depending on the details of the user received at the outset (which could range from explicit PIIs shared by the user to demographic or geographic coordinates of the user identified via attribution platforms), the entire app flow can be custom-designed to ensure that different users are targeted in a way that is relevant to their existential and behavioral reality. This has a large possibility of replicating a personalized, offline purchase experience on mobile apps. However, this would require the product and marketing teams to work very closely and lay more importance to the Product Marketing function in an entity.

Rapid and wide-spread innovation will only get better in 2021, and marketers should use all the tools at their disposal to meet consumers where they are. They have a responsibility to ensure that consumers’ needs are met. By effectively deploying these trends in 2021, marketers can help bring brands and their consumers closer than ever.

The author is the chief marketing officer at KreditBee. Views expressed are personal.

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