The 10 most important Marketing Technology trends for 2021
During the last 5 years, there has been an explosion of all kinds of marketing technology solutions. Back in 2015 we ‘only’ had around 2,000 solutions, now in 2020, we are at over 8,000 solutions and counting. A nice overview of those solutions is yearly made by the ‘Godfather of Martech’ Scott Brinker at ChiefMartech:
With so many tools and solutions, and a new shiny object around every corner, a CMO almost has to be a CTO in order to keep up with all the new developments. Not only do new solutions enter the market each day, but CMO’s also are spending more on Martech, even with the current pandemic and all its associated risks and budget cuts. Over two-thirds (68% to be precise) of CMO’s expect an increase in marketing technology spending in the near future, according to the just-published Gartner CMO Spend Survey:
With all those new technologies and increased spending, one might wonder what the budgets are spent on. We have made an overview of 10 marketing technology trends in 2021. A list of trends based on our experience, input from research agencies, and industry trends. Our predictions on Martech for 2021 are:
Trend 1: Integration of the Martech stack
Most marketers by now have the essentials of marketing technology in house. Solutions like marketing automation, CRM, email marketing, webinar software, advertising planning tools, conversion software, content optimization, chatbots, dashboarding and SEO tools have been bought over the last few years. They however live apart from each other, whereas the best results can be achieved when all tools are integrated. In 2021 marketers are going to start integrating those solutions into a well-oiled machine. Many vendors started offering eco-systems and integration help. Sometimes through native integrations, often through 3rd party solutions like Zapier, Blendr.io, and Automate.io. Companies like Philips, already have their Martech Stack ready:
Trend 2: Focus on measuring ROI ‘“ full-cycle reporting
Together with the first trend, comes full-cycle reporting on marketing activities. every online marketer knows that there’s hardly anything that cannot be measured online. There’s a huge pile of data available to every marketer and when systems are integrated, it makes life way easier for marketers when doing ROI (on marketing) reporting. Things like funnel reporting, revenue attribution (multi-touch), and revenue reporting are made possible when systems are integrated. Real-time dashboards can help here, but some solutions offer integrated reporting as well. Below an example from Act-On marketing automation software, combined with Salesforce CRM to get insights into the marketing funnel:
Trend 3: Data Privacy focus (Privacy Shield)
Last July, in a ruling, the European Court of Justice has annulled the Privacy Shield between the United States and the European Union. This decision has far-reaching consequences for data protection in Europe which is under GDPR legislation. As a result of that decision, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is no longer a valid mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States. The Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling that invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield and held that the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) remain a valid transfer mechanism. In practice, this means that European customers that use data services from US companies (so virtually any online solution, including Microsoft, Salesforce, and Hubspot for example….) need to have these SCCs in pace with their vendors. a nice job for 2021.
Trend 4: Personalized customer experiences/personification
People expect personalized experiences online. They are used to them in their daily lives already: just think of Netflix, which personalizes everything, even without you noticing it. Did you know that 80% of what people watch on Netflix, is a direct result of personalized recommendations? To get an understanding of how personalization a Netflix works, check out the Slideshare below:
So, people don’t expect anything else when they are visiting your website! Make sure you personalize the experience, using personalization engines. and not only on your website but also on your chatbot, in your ads, and in your email marketing. A nice overview of different solutions can be found in the Personalization Grid at G2:
Trend 5: Preparing for cookie abandonment
In January 2020, Google announced its plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. In those cookies’ place, Google is hoping that it can institute a new set of technical solutions for various things that cookies are currently used for. To realize that, it has proposed some new technologies (as have other browser makers like Firefox and Safari) that may be less invasive and annoying than tracking cookies have become. So, 2021 will be the year for marketers to prepare for that.
Trend 6: Use of video for sales and marketing
One of the good things about the Covid pandemic is the fact that the acceptance of the use of video calls (like Zoom and MS Teams) has been growing immensely. Instead of flying out to a customer or driving a couple of hours to a 1-hour meeting, sales, and marketing executives can now just as easily reach out through a video call. In the US we’ve already seen high adoption of video usage by sales and marketing professionals, and in 2021 we’ll see that expand to lesser high-tech industries, as well as to Europe. Platforms like Vidyard are used for prospecting and within proposals:
Trend 7: Podcasting mainstream in B2B
Almost 80% of Americans listen to a podcast on a weekly basis and this number is still climbing. Podcasting fits the way people prefer to listen to and watch media nowadays: at the time they prefer to and about topics that they are interested in.
More and more people are exploring business podcasts on very specific topics.
Podcasting is way more popular among young people, with 67% of the total podcasting audience being between 18 to 44 years old.It also attracts the educated and relatively wealthier sections of society more. In fact, it’s 45% more likely for a podcast listener to have a college degree, and 68% more likely to have a post-graduate degree. They are also much more likely to be HNIs (high net-worth individuals), with them having a 45% more likelihood of having a net household income of over $250,000, which is a quarter-million dollar, annually!
Did you know, on average the US podcast listener listened to 6 podcasts in a week?
With this many people listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, a B2B company in 2021 cannot live without a podcast in its content strategy!
Trend 8: Sales & marketing automation merge
With the integration of the martech stack (trend 1), also the sales automation stack will be taken into account. Where marketing uses marketing automation platforms (like Hubspot, Marketo and Act-On), sales people use tools like Outreach and Seismic. Because marketing and sale cannot live on separate islands anymore, neither can the technology they use. These will be integrated as well in order to deliver the right customer journey and experience.
Trend 9: Mobile-first at the heart of each omnichannel campaign
In March 2021, the final stage of the Google mobile-first indexing will come into effect. Desktop crawls will be completely stopped. So webmasters should now check whether they’re prepared for mobile crawling. Google’s John Mueller provided new information about the new Mobile-First Index. The big news is that desktop-only sites will be completely dropped from the index, gone.
Additionally, there are bugs related to m-dot sites and affirmed that the date for switching over to a mobile index is firm and not likely to change. Watch the video below:
Marketers will have to be ready for this in 2021!
Trend 10: No-code: get things done without code
The final trend I would like to point out is a nice one for marketers, as they usually are more creative and data-driven and not too much into coding. The first trend I discussed (integration of the Martech stack) luckily largely comes without coding. Most marketers are not just only using more tools, they are integrating them themselves as well, according to research done by ChiefMartec, an overview of the most commonly used tools:
This overview of trends has been brought to you by Elias Crum, CEO at Marketing Guys and host of the Marketing Technology Podcast: