March marked one year since the first of pandemic shutdowns, and it’s no secret that a lot has changed in the digital world since then. We’ve rounded up this month’s top trends in innovative marketing to help you stay ahead of the curve and prepare for emerging trends that may impact your business or market segment. Here’s what we’re predicting for April:
The New Baby Boom
In just a few years, Gen Z will make up about 40% of the consumer market. If they want to gain members of the group as loyal consumers, brands will need to match their fast pace. Gen Z is different than previous generations when it comes to their marketing reception, and it’s already starting to show in a variety of places.
Facebook is currently in the process of beta testing a new platform—an Instagram dedicated to kids 13 and under. Different regulations, permissions, and filters will need to be put in place to make it a safe digital space for children–as of Dec. 14th 2020, the FTC enacted 6 orders to Amazon, ByteDance Ltd. (operator of TikTok), Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp and Youtube to share how their companies are using consumer data.
And it’s no secret that kids have influence over their parents’ buying decisions, accounting for a yearly spend of $500 billion.
Blockchain in Marketing
Blockchain is hot right now—and brands are taking notice. We’re seeing more and more hoopla-esque marketing plays using blockchain, as well as brands exploring more practical applications. Blockchain and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) allow for the selling and collection of one-of-a-kind digital items (the digital art/collectible market was valued at $5B in 2020). Blockchain also allows for the ability to target audiences who naturally fall into some parallel categories, such as gamers, early adopters and Gen Z.
We’re already seeing how marketers are taking advantage of the growth in this space–last year, AFM was the first brand to use blockchain in a Super Bowl campaign, and Charmin recently incorporated NFTs into a PR campaign to raise money for Direct Relief. Even more, all Pizza Huts in Venezuela now accept Bitcoin as payment. The bottom line? Marketers have to be knowledgeable, integrating blockchain in a way that makes sense.
As people resume pre-pandemic activities, they are paying more attention to out-of-home advertising. This is a great opportunity for marketers—the average price of OOH ad spaces across the US is down 23% compared to pre-pandemic and 45% of consumers say they notice out-of-home ads more post-pandemic than they did before.
Most importantly, people are getting back outside. 72% of consumers are expected to commute, at least part-time, in the coming months, and everyone’s getting tired of digital device ads—75% of consumers tuning them out. This means brands have an opportunity to reach them elsewhere by reinstating OOH as part of a strong marketing mix before the space becomes more crowded and expensive.
Marketing in Disguise
The growing value of user-created content as the world leans into influencer marketing is having a sneaky effect on the way brands are reaching their audiences—it’s 1-to-many marketing under the guise of being 1:1. Consumers want personalized experiences and expect brands to use personal info to provide them.
We’re seeing this psuedo-1:1 marketing style in the ever-growing influencer marketing space with content creators on TikTok as well as in a growing market for livestream shopping experiences (which have already proven successful for companies including Amazon, L’Oreal and Estée Lauder). All of this points to the idea that consumers are craving engagement with ideas from individuals rather than faceless companies–a concept we’ve seen before in the business models of journalism, venture capital fundraising and consulting. Now, it’s time to embrace the idea in marketing.
Social Media Updates
As emerging platforms innovate and test new features, the world of social media is taking note of what seems to be working, and we’re seeing the adoption of some of their new strategies by current platforms. So, what are some of the latest updates?
Platforms are following TikTok’s lead by upping the emphasis on creator tools. Youtube is rolling out a TikTok-like feature, Facebook is launching its own website creation platform and Twitter is introducing “Spaces,” an audio-driven feature on the heels of Clubhouse’s success. These new updates and the growing appetite for creator content could mean more sponsorship opportunities for brands in the near future. We’re here for that!