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Five important retail marketing trends

Ross Kimbarovsky
Ross Kimbarovsky

Marketing is essential to increase your brand’s exposure and drive revenue.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur working on your first business plan and starting a new business, working on your third startup, or helping a small business grow its revenues as a marketer, marketing will influence the business’s success or failure.

1. Purpose-driven marketing

The global pandemic has pushed smart brands to change how they communicate.

Many smart brands embraced purpose-driven marketing.

In purpose-driven marketing, a brand connects with its audience through a common cause they both believe in.

Some brands promote environmental awareness, while others focus on human rights, poverty, race, gender inequalities, and other social issues.

Businesses that pursued and publicly defined a clear and consistent purpose did better in 2020 than brands that did not articulate a clear purpose.

That’s not surprising. A recent study by the Zeno Group found that consumers are 4.5 times more likely to recommend a brand, and four times more likely to purchase from the brand when a brand follows and articulates a strong purpose.

If you’re still communicating using brand messaging developed before 2020, take a step back and reassess what you’re doing. This includes carefully assessing whether the messaging on your website design is consistent with your messaging on social networks and in paid campaigns.

2. Reconnecting with your customers

In 2020, brands struggled to find the right words when communicating with customers and prospects.

Some brands chose to stay silent. Others mostly ignored the pandemic and continued to communicate as if nothing was happening. And, some leaned-in to important and controversial issues that polarized their target audience.

As things calm down in 2021, brands must find ways to reconnect with customers and prospects.

One-on-one feedback, surveys, and questionnaires can provide personable and unique responses to help you understand how the pandemic impacted your customers and how they’re currently thinking about the world.

These questions will help you reassess how your target audience views your brand, whether your brand identity continues to be appropriate for your target audience, how people view the products and services you sell, and whether it’s time to rebrand your business.

3. Loss aversion

People don’t like to lose. In fact, people make buying decisions that are motivated by their desire to avoid a loss.

This is the principle of loss aversion, and it’s one of the most important principles of marketing psychology.

A 1992 study from Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley shows that loss aversion is twice as powerful, psychologically, as the acquisition of something.

Smart brands understand how to leverage loss aversion to improve their messaging and marketing campaigns.

In marketing, a loss aversion strategy takes the form of limited-time deals, expiring coupons, holiday sales, or even limited resources.

But, in 2021, loss aversion strategies need to be more human.

To effectively use loss aversion in 2021, you must appeal to your audience’s situation and present your product or service in a way that helps them avoid loss. But you must recognize that people have incurred huge losses in 2020 so the messaging must be more sensitive than ever.

4. Relatability will drive growth

User-generated content (UGC) has been growing exponentially for the past five years (largely due to influencer marketing). It is a great, authentic way to market your products and improve your brand image.

UGC is created by customers or users, not by the brand.

UGC has many benefits. For example, studies from Tint by Filestack show that people are 28% more likely to engage with UGC than traditional company-based posts. And, user-generated content reflects relatability and trustworthiness.

UGC’s use of real people breaks the mold of traditional, often cold marketing campaigns. By leveraging UGC, brands can showcase honest reviews, real emotions, natural reactions, and real people – a marketing campaign’s gold mine.

And, UGC is more likely to become viral. Tens of millions of people watched a video of a man riding the back of a truck while drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice and lip-syncing to a soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

Hundreds of people posted their own videos doing the same thing.

That’s the type of free publicity that most brands only dream about.


5. Video and storytelling will rule

Videos are quickly becoming the king of attention-grabbing marketing. Videos allow you to integrate more content but in a more friendly and bite-size serving. TikTok and other streaming platforms’ popularity is signaling a significant shift to the way we consume content.

The best videos are usually fast-paced and share your brand’s product, story, and call-to-action quickly and efficiently.

There are many great examples of how brands use video, including in industries that target more sophisticated consumers. For example, M1 Finance, a popular fintech startup helping people build and execute long-term stock investment strategies, recently launched its TikTok channel with this video.

Use video strategically to enhance, extend, and reinforce your existing content marketing efforts. In the M1 video example above, the video is based on an original blog post on how to choose stocks.

The new normal requires brands to adapt, evolve, and rethink what they’re doing. Keep these marketing trends in mind as you’re planning your 2021 marketing strategy.

Ross Kimbarovsky is founder and CEO of crowdspring

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