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Jan 04, 2021 BY Jarrett Way Research, Marketing

2021 Trends and Predictions

The other night, I came across a tweet that made me stop and think about the year we just had.

“Marketing these days is all about data and not enough about authenticity.”

Now, we’re a data-driven agency. Data is our bread and butter. It goes into nearly every decision we make—especially when it comes to delivering quality services to our clients. In fact, marketing analytics (and tangentially, marketing technology) has been trending in the industry for years.

Would that tweet have the same kind of teeth at the beginning of 2020? As we compile our trends and predictions for the year ahead, it’s clear that they’ve been influenced by the circumstances of the last year. In a year where everyone was releasing statement after statement about how their organization has been navigating the year or contributing to those most affected, authenticity was about the only way to cut through the noise.

Organizations that spoke truthfully through the pandemic have continued to be honest as our environment continues to shift. The overall trend for the year ahead is really just a simple mantra: honesty pays off. Building trust as an organization will always be trendy. Perhaps the year behind us might have served as a reminder to get back to that very basic tenant of relationship-building.

So, with trust as the foundation, the pandemic drove some already-emerging trends:

Trending: Research

Given the economic downturn, organizations are looking to their websites to drive the bottom line. Organizations need to conduct insightful research to better understand the connections between their visitors and their websites. This year, people have gained a greater awareness of mission-driven organizations and the critical role they play in our society. With an increase in online activity and website traffic, you have an increased opportunity to bring in money (or members, or volunteers, etc.). You also have an increased opportunity to build trust. Don’t let your website be the reason a visitor’s interest and momentum are interrupted!

Trending: LinkedIn + Data Privacy

LinkedIn has gained more traction in the last year, becoming a space for community and conversations through shifting dynamics. With so many people looking for new work opportunities, they’re joining the platform to market themselves and their skills. Because it is so professionally-focused, you can target users in your advertising more confidently. LinkedIn is the platform to watch for generating awareness of your organization.

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On the other side of the coin is a growing distrust of Google and Facebook, specifically around privacy concerns. The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee issued a 400-page report in October 2020 after a 16-month investigation into competition in the digital economy. It confirmed what we already knew to be true: Distrust in big tech is increasing. In Facebook’s case, there’s been a conversation about the impact of unchecked misinformation. Without faith from their users that company leaders are doing what they can to improve the world, Facebook will continue to face scrutiny.

See what happens when you don’t develop trust (or worse, break it)?

Trending: Content Governance

We’ve been seeing more and more clients with content problems. They might not know their problems have a name, but they know something isn’t right. Some clients don’t have anything to show for their content operations, and their internal processes are not producing great content reliably or consistently. We often hear that clients feel the pain but don’t know what to do about it.

Content governance is a collection of rules for publishing. It’s arguably the most popular marketing and communications trend, aptly referred to as the SEO of this decade. Even further, content governance outlines how your organization maintains and eventually archives its content. While this method of publishing is popular, don’t fret if you’ve never heard of it. You can check out our guide to content governance, full of helpful information, tips, and tools:

Trending: Messaging

After last year, organizations are taking a harder look at how they present themselves to the world; the messages they’re sharing. These organizations want to act in honesty and truth to build trust, and they want to make sure their messaging is shored up. Too often, our clients’ messaging becomes convoluted and inconsistent across different departments and roles.

Creating a Messaging Platform is a great way to authenticate your messaging and get on top of this trend. The messaging platforms we develop for our clients are products of in-depth research. In the case of mission-driven organizations, defining (or redefining) who you are, what your mission is, and how you talk about your work is invaluable for building brand identity and trust.

Trending: Google Analytics 4 + AI in Marketing

We’re big fans of Google Analytics around here. But, as consumer behavior changes and industry standards shift to provide more privacy, a reinvention of analytics tracking has become necessary. New policies for cookies and new parameters for collecting data (like GDPR) are making it more difficult to capture acquisition data for marketers. In response, Google updated its platform to utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence. It accounts for new privacy measures so your data stays comprehensive and accurate through current and future privacy controls.

Note: Mighty Citizen has been playing around with Google Analytics 4 since its launch in October 2020. Like any new product, there are a few kinks to work out. We don’t recommend upgrading your accounts at this time (January 2021).

At the start of last year’s pandemic, we posted an article entitled “In Times of Need, Look to the Helpers,” encouraging the mission-driven organizations we work with to view themselves as “helpers” in their communities. Within it, our CMO, Rachel, highlighted your responsibility to keep your people in the loop, to be a source of good news, and to give your supporters a way to help. Those principles of building trust will never go out of style, and they’ll always be the best way to engage your audiences.

Here’s to a new year of making an impact. If there’s anything we can do to help you along with your goals for 2021, please let us know. After all, we’re your biggest fans!

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