A recent study by Forrester Research, the US-based market research company, forecasts that in 2021, customers will receive more marketing emails, texts and push notifications than ever before as companies try to develop more direct customer relationships in the midst of the pandemic and economic fallout.
Forrester’s “Predictions 2021: B2C Marketing” report predicts that as brands continue to hold on to customers and drive new sales, marketing message volume will rise by 40 percent next year. The forecasts of the study detail some of the patterns that may have been triggered by the pandemic, but are expected to continue to impact marketing well into next year.
In the early days of the pandemic itself, customers started to experience a flood of emails from brands and other organizations, as companies tried to keep them in the loop about closures, safety precautions and services such as curb-side pickup.
But even if pandemic effects subside next year, efforts to reach consumers directly will continue.
“An unprecedented pandemic rendered B2C (Business to Customer) marketers’ existing plans and strategies moot, and new announcements from Apple and Google put data deprecation on a fast track. But these trends aren’t a flash in the pan,” the report says. “In 2021, marketers must prepare for an ecosystem without third-party cookies and device identifiers, all while navigating an unpredictable economy and reduced budgets and headcount.”
Focus on existing customers
The study predicts that brands will invest more on marketing loyalty and retention to lean on existing customers who are likely to limit spending in this uncertain time. Getting customers to opt in for loyalty benefits or to shop with them directly through an app can also give marketers a way to deliver customized messages more easily.
The additional outreach would lead to increasingly cluttered inboxes, so we can expect marketers to choose other ways like text messages.
“They’re thinking, if you’re not coming into our stores, we still need to be top of mind for you. Window shopping is less of an occasion these days. So how can we remain in communication?” experts say.
Other pattern changes
Forrester expects marketers to cut budgets for traditional corporate sponsorships next year, partially because sports ratings have been down and attendance at the stadium will be decreased or withdrawn by next year. Liu said the channel is also more difficult for advertisers, even pre-COVID, to calculate return on investment.
In order to continue targeting large markets but with more flexible contracts, Forrester expects that certain brands would reallocate budgets to cheaper opportunities such as e-sports.
The report also said that marketers would focus on more geographically targeted messages which will be a “neighborhood-level” effort.
“COVID-19 has driven a surge in sales of newly built homes as consumers flock to suburbs and rural areas for more space and affordability while taking advantage of flexible working options,” the report said. “In response, brands will scramble to transition from urban-oriented messaging to more geographically targeted efforts to engage with local neighborhoods.”