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5 Marketing Trends to Ride Through 2021 and Kick Off Year 16th at Ideas Collide

Matt Clyde

By Matthew Clyde

It’s March 1st, 2021. 16 years from the day Ideas Collide was launched. After a historic and never-forget year, I see this time and date as the perfect launch to our 2021 marketing insights, with a few reflections on what got us here.  

Every year, we study data and insights to find the most creative and customized solutions. The list of our top 5 marketing trends for 2021 is the result of a study of the current market, client work and challenges brands face today. Already 60 days into the new year and we are putting these insights into action. But we didn’t stop there.

The list is further influenced after learning about the challenges and pivots the team at Ideas Collide took on last year, the investment in culture and brand formula we built for clients, and a deep focus on marketing technology. We invite you to read about these five trends and reach out to us to discuss our learnings and solutions, and how you can integrate them into your business and marketing mix.

  1. Taking another business pivot

COVID-19 and the constant disruptions from the pandemic brought in a new marketing standard. A standard where leadership and agility amid countless unknowns were the only true constants. The response determined the measure of any brand. The response for most may be to take a quick pivot, but back in April of 2020 we started outlining the importance of what we determined the “pivot with intention” approach, which represented the ability for business leaders to continually work smart as agile problem solvers. The ongoing pivot in the market in the months and years ahead will not change – the ability to pivot with intention will set a course for those that develop stronger foundations and long-term outcomes.

  1. Making a full brand investment

All the disruptions of 2020 demonstrate the importance of branding “from the inside out.” Brands are re-thinking their marketing efforts—but also their culture. Uncertainty may bring an organization to question its identity, and many brands are embracing the challenge of rethinking themselves as a result. Taking an audit of your brand from the inside out isn’t just about a name or logo—it’s about conducting a full brand audit that evaluates and refreshes the organization values, products, structures, customer journeys, segments, internal and frontline trainings, messaging and visual identity. Disruptive change needs to be met by further change—a change for good.

General Motors recently made a brand identity shift that may have been citizen-based on its identity mark alone, but it was a deeper and more strategic brand shift. The real investment and brand change from GM aligned to announcing a complete phase out of petroleum-powered cars and trucks with a goal to sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035. If you are shifting anything in your brand, invest in it to be foundational from the inside out.

  1. Delivering on innovation

And by innovation, we mean marketing technology and virtual experiences. 2020 forced all marketers to leap-frog in delivering on innovation at every point of customer contact. Like so many organizations, we tested this at every stage in the last year and delivered at a whole new level as the agency of choice of Fortune 500 companies that trust us to deliver results with our marketing technology and virtual marketing expertise.

From data science and chatbot technology to building engagement and enhanced storytelling for virtual events, turning innovation into real marketing action will continue to scale at rapid speed. It’s the year to deliver on innovation, identify the solutions you need now to continue to deliver on what your customers are expecting and where technology will be pushing them next.

  1. Putting data to work

To deliver on innovation, you need the data to back to your plan and help identify your customer opportunities, needs and expectations. Data insights are the true marketing matchmakers of connection and growth.

Want to stand out in the crowd? Then the answer is mapping the customer journey through data to personalization. Want to build tracking and processing consumer behavior data in a systematic way and in real-time? Data mapping is the answer.

Want to connect all the data insights and put it to work in a complete, simple picture? Central Intelligence Engine (CIE) is the answer. We started building a vision and implementation of CIE in 2016 –and with increasing pressures on revenue operations and data playing a central role throughout the marketing plan, the big opportunity is now to enhance your marketing impact through CIE tools. The result is ultra-personalized, dynamic content that’s tailored to customer needs and brings to increased conversions.

Additionally, the impact of CIE can be seen in meeting the check-list and requirements of any revenue operations officer. Their goal is to drive operational efficiencies and improve ROI while ensuring the best customer experiences. With a smart, integrated CIE platform it sets every stakeholder up for success from rev ops to the content marketer to the CMO.

Do you think the potential of this stops here? Think again. And think further on innovation delivery via chatbots.

Marrying chatbots to data science brings personalization to a whole new level. In everything that shifted from full-contact to completely contact-less. Health care, meetings and events, retail services and more. Chatbots can help take patient in-take basics, answer simple symptoms to determine if a call to the doctor is in order or a visit to urgent care is best. Chatbots helped funnel the rapid scale of technology engagement and data is the heart and center of all this conversational commerce momentum. Virtual FAQs, registration, appointment booking, troubleshooting any technical issues. Chatbots seamlessly make it happen. And they can do much more. Curious about where we see CIE tools and data going next? Reach out to our marketing technology team. Want to learn more about the potential for Chatbots and your brand? Check out Botco.ai.

  1. Finding the perfect match – media + content

Every media channel is different—and needs the right content to be relevant, personalized and anticipated. Invent, Integrate, Impact is our mantra, and we apply it to make magic happen. As part of our strategy, we truly believe in the importance of owning your own channels. This is particularly important in today’s hyper-digital world. Owning your own channels means creating and managing your own platform. It means telling your story via a curated, personalized newsletter. It means having a captivating website to house your content and welcome your audience to your “digital home.” Owning your channels and your content in every channel has always been key. In 2021, it has become essential and necessary.

One more trend, for good measure

Yes, we said five trends. But there’s one thing that couldn’t be left off at the mark of our 16th year in business: The Return on Investment in Giving (ROIG).

Giving is receiving

We kicked off 2021 with a mantra to never give up.

2020 changed everyone, it made us step back and rethink what’s most important and required us to go back to the core of our vision and mission as an organization. We came through stronger from the individuals, clients and agency partners that stepped up, sacrificed, collaborated toward solutions in unprecedented times.

In 2021, we continue to focus on never giving up on giving and growth.

We are an active member of our community, and we believe in the involvement of our leaders and team members in the causes that matter. We believe in the importance of authentic, diverse voices that not only speak for our brand—they build it. We are stepping up our commitments and efforts to important causes, diversity, inclusion and community programs. As we give, we will see a stronger community grow in new, incredible ways. You can track our efforts and progress here.

When we give without expecting anything in return, we meet the purpose of why we started Ideas Collide in the first place—that when you give with authenticity you gain 3-fold. Giving back to your team, giving further to your customers, and making an impact on the team, work and community around you.

2021 is a promising year, unknowns will remain the norm but with smart pivots, branding investment, marketing technology, informing data, building media and content, all the opportunities will far outweigh the challenges.

These trends, backed by a dedicated and talented marketing and creative team, are the propulsors of our growth and the benchmarks we are holding ourselves accountable to at Ideas Collide. There will be continuous disruption, but with mindful awareness and sophisticated marketing insight, we can bridge the gap of 2020 and conquer new horizons.

Team Ideas Collide is here, ready to provide input and assist you with the power of creativity, marketing technology and business intelligence—through the custom marketing solutions you seek and need.

Ready to ride through 2021 with us? Let’s talk and go put these trends into full action.

Put trends into action