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Top Forecasted 2021 Marketing Trends


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Top Forecasted 2021 Marketing Trends," uncovers the innovative trends and growth opportunities brands should have in play in 2021.  Marketers that are paying attention know that marketing trends are shifting and understand how these trends can become defining moments in the marketing archives hall of fame.  We have all experienced and witnessed consumer behavior changes as a result of the pandemic.  Consequently, some marketers have implemented strategic shifts in their marketing due to a hobbled economy, notwithstanding the onslaught of digital communications by a continually growing remote workforce and an accelerating and still rocketing e-commerce marketplace.  The big takeaway from these top forecasted trends is rooted in the belief by iconic brands that we may never return to "normal business operations."   The challenge for organizations will be to operate in a more agile fashion as more changes are on the horizon.

Further, as we watch the economic, healthcare, and social crises under repair, it is paramount that brands embrace and support a focus that aligns with a digital transformation while remaining relevant and competitive at its core.  It is critical to remember when gauging trends that there will be differences of opinion. Therefore, brands should keep an eye on these trends and evaluate any implemented strategies based on these trends to track their effectiveness or the lack thereof.

Quote of the Day: "Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing. Sometimes they have more imagination than men."  – Katherine Johnson, NASA Scientist 

Buyers Are In Control via Personalization

Personalization was the number-one buzzword in 2019.  To that end, some marketers felt that the art of personalization was nothing more than a fashionable, in-vogue idea, generally delineated by first name, last name.  However, personalization has moved from basic to individualization, with consumers craving one-to-one interaction from B2C and B2B sectors.

To that end, in 2021, organizations should focus on elevating the customer experience.  Upgrading the experience will require that the focus remains on creating an improved buyer's journey with more individualized messaging. IQ CMO Carol Volk states, "This change in dynamic requires a highly personalized customer experience that aligns to how buyers now want to do business."

In addition, Volk suggested that product delivery will be a targeted hotspot for invoking personalization. We've already seen the trend as customers demand access to both digital and physical products.  Consumers now have the mindset that they can do anything online that they can in-person. Further, they also want to be able to choose between delivery and curbside pickup.  They expect that they will have options that make their lives easier, such as available timeframes, payment methods, or any other expeditious process.  Therefore, in 2021, marketing strategies that tailor each customer interaction will yield better sales results.

Digital Ads Are Less Effective

Digital ads are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future; however, their effectiveness is suffering as consumers become numb to digital advertising.  With consumers in lockdown for the better part of 2020, they have become indifferent to digital advertising.  Accordingly, it will be necessary for brands to think beyond this affordable, go-to-media leaning to more divergent methods such as direct mail, influencer marketing, and partnerships to attract customers.

A great example of thinking beyond occurs in the movie "Hidden Figures," when Kevin Costner says to Taraji Henson, who plays the character Katherine Johnson, "We have to think beyond," ... "in order to have a chance to get to the moon."  In short, there was no mathematical solution to get to the moon as the characters had not yet calculated the solution.

Similarly, marketers and brands will need to think beyond to create new marketing experiences that will rocket sales to the moon.  As more people gain access to vaccines and begin to venture outside again, out-of-home advertising will become a compelling format.  Of course, this trend will depend entirely upon the vaccines' efficacy and the CDC's recommendations.

A recent PwC (Price Waterhouse Cooper) study that included 15,000 global customers found that 73% stated that a good experience is critical in influencing their brand loyalties.  Therefore, expect loyalty to rank higher as a result of the CX.

Meaning and Purpose

Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC states, "Meaning and purpose are the marketing trends that allow companies to transcend transactions.  Knowing your 'why' helps differentiate you from the competition and stand in an authentic place."  Authenticity is not only attractive but essential for a meaningful relationship.  By coming from a place of purpose, you can drive marketing to new heights and attract customers that are better suited for what you have to offer.

Moreover, "Meaning and Purpose," can represent the backbone problem solver that makes a real difference in consumers' and prospects' lives.  In 2021, the more problems an organization can solve with its offerings, the greater the competitive advantage for these brands will have.  Therefore, in 2021, solving problems will bring brand differentiation to a higher level and garner more trust and more sales.

Direct Mail Grows Exponentially

Most brands and marketers were already aware of the power of direct mail marketing before Covid-19.  With its track record for engagement and response, particularly in pointing recipients to digital destinations, it is also the most trusted medium, with 75% of consumers preferring direct mail marketing, including Millennials.

Joy Gendusa, PostcardMania, states, "Direct mail is growing exponentially. People are spending more time than ever at home, and businesses are tapping into this with physical touchpoints, such as postcards.  As the founder and CEO of a direct mail tech company, I've seen this firsthand. Our 2020 numbers are record-setting.  Expect to see more ads in your mailbox in 2021."  2021 heightens direct mail marketing's effectiveness when you require engagement, responses, and recipient confidence that the message is from a respected, trustworthy enterprise.

Social Media Alternatives

Social media is a surprisingly powerful yet challenging tool for most marketers.  While it can help achieve business goals, social media requires skills, time, resources, and the ability to scale.  A significant trend bubbling just below the social media surface relates to the number of advertisers growing weary of Facebook, even though many currently use the channel.  In 2021, expect to see new social media alternatives emerging.

Video Shorts on the Rise

Video shorts made famous by TikTok, OnlyFans, and Instagram Reels suggest that other social media channels will follow suit.  Marketers should watch this area for brands to begin emulating and engaging fans.  Everyone should understand that video shorts will become an outsize portion of the marketing mix.

Markus Hetzenegger, NYBA Media GmbH, states, "I think short videos with quick edits will continue to gain popularity worldwide. The trend, initiated by TikTok and adapted by Instagram, will continue to move up the popularity scale, and not only among the younger target groups. Its power cannot be underestimated, especially from a business perspective."  In 2021, create and attract with video for better engagement with social media communities.

Other Notable Trends to Watch

You've probably heard that Google will eliminate third-party cookies by 2022.  Third-party cookies track code generated on a website that is not the website the user is browsing (e.g., Google generating third-party cookies for ESPN.com).  A website owner, such as ESPN, stores first-party cookies on their domain (e.g., ESPN storing codes on espn.com).  However, stricter data privacy laws will continue to impact this space related to the end-user.

Influencer marketing is climbing to new heights, and many believe that this type of marketing will sit atop some content marketing initiatives.

Building brand ambassadors or advocates continue to be one of the most effective and affordable marketing strategies available to brands and marketers.  Data shows that brand influencers are more trusted than any marketing message.  Keep a watchful eye on this trend in 2021.

Programmatic advertising is another rising trend for 2021.  There are now insights that cover real-team reporting, enhanced fraud protection, detailed budget spending optimization, and finite targeting options.  There are many reasons to engage in programmatic advertising in 2021, mainly if the brand is a proponent of paid advertising.

The Net-Net

Along with many others, these trends will likely emerge and grow in 2021 to help brand marketers deliver on the brand promise.  While the year is young, you can expect the brand will be keen on trends that produce the desired outcome for every dollar spent.  The market expects 2021 to be the year consumers will feel safer venturing outdoors, and as a result, forecast spending is buoyant due to pent-up and delayed spending.  Already marketers are creating the best times to travel, places to dine, and shop in 2021. We wish all a successful 2021 and encourage all to take advantage of these forecasted trends and, just maybe, create a movement or two of your own.  Thanks for reading "Top Forecasted 2021 Marketing Trends." We trust you enjoyed this post.

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience.  Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. We can even create a demo file for you.  For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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