In 2021, European marketers must prepare for a digital ecosystem without third-party cookies and device identifiers, all while navigating an unpredictable economy, legislative uncertainty thanks to Brexit, and reduced budgets and headcount. And all against a backdrop of a continued pandemic driving a shift towards digital.
Every autumn Forrester looks ahead to predict the major consumer, business and technology trends that will shape the marketing landscape for the following year. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented political, social, economic and healthcare disruption – and 2021 shows no signs of any of these trends slowing down. How then should European consumer marketing leaders prepare?
In 2021, European marketers must prepare for a digital ecosystem without third-party cookies and device identifiers, all while navigating an unpredictable economy, legislative uncertainty thanks to Brexit, and reduced budgets and headcount. And all against a backdrop of a continued pandemic driving a shift towards digital. This is a lot to take in.
Among many other marketing predictions, let me highlight three big trends in consumer marketing for 2021:
- Brands that fail to untangle consumer contradictions will lose billions in equity. Consumers’ experiences with COVID-19 will redefine how they behave, consume, and engage with brands as the economic and social crisis peaks in early 2021. Consumers want to support values like the environment, local community, and equality, but most will have to prioritise price. Consumers will feel frustrated, mistrustful and disappointed, and they’ll exhibit contradictory behaviour. In 2020 a few brands – like Boohoo, Crossfit and Ubisoft – made major mis-steps. More will do so in 2021, and they will cripple shareholder value as a result.
- CMOs will integrate marketing and customer experience as they shift budgets to retention. Customer experience has become the number one priority for European marketers, yet as of Q3 2020, only 33% of marketers in Europe have primarily responsibility for customer experience. We expect leading marketing leaders to integrate marketing and customer experience further in the coming months, taking a more holistic view of customer experience beyond acquisition. Consequently, spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by up to 30% as CMOs assert control over the full customer lifecycle.
- Marketers will learn to do more with less as they are forced to get creative again. To finance the shift to increased focus on client retention, customer service and products that drive growth, marketers have no choice but to reduce costs. Cost saving implies slashing media money, traditional advertising and corporate sponsorships, reduced headcounts and more pressure on agency partners through performance-based business models. Doing more with less means getting creative, and we expect spending on marketing automation to grow, reducing the time humans spend analysing data to determine what offer, content or experience best serves customers.
2021 will bring new constraints and opportunities. It is indeed time for bold consumer marketing leaders to reinvent themselves, their teams and hack their business models as they think beyond simply being ambassadors of the brand and become champions for the customer within their organisation. Its time to get creative again.
You can download Forrester’s 2021 European Predictions ebook here.
This post was written by VP and Principal Analyst Thomas Husson, and it originally appeared here.