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Scorpion Wrapped: 3 Top Marketing Trends of 2021

sitting around a table and working
Caitlyn Blair

Why Brands Had These Marketing Hits on Repeat This Year

To the avid music listeners out there, it’s that time of year again. No, not the holidays, although it’s a day we all look forward to (or dread) every year. Spotify has released their iconic “Spotify Wrapped,” a special slideshow that tells every Spotify user what they listened to the most this year. At Scorpion, we found the social media sensation so inspiring, and quite frankly, we couldn’t escape from it on our Instagram feeds, so we decided to make a yearly review of our own -- marketing style.

The year 2021 was a pivotal year for marketing. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we saw an explosion in digital marketing. Big brands and small businesses alike needed to adapt to stay relevant. On top of that, we also saw the importance of creating experiences for your consumers that reach beyond the digital space. We have gathered a list of three of the most prominent marketing trends that dominated 2021. We believe brands need to keep these tactics in mind if they want to crush 2022:

User-generated content

When we talk about user-generated content, we are referring to any type of content, whether that is a text, video, image, review, social media post, or another piece of content that is created by an individual or consumer instead of the brand itself. Over the year 2021, we saw user-generated content explode. During the pandemic, the typical aspirational content that brands would gravitate towards did not sell. The last thing people wanted to see when they were stuck at home was an advertisement of someone living a glamorous life, especially when that was not the reality for most. Instead, seeing real people interacting with brands in an authentic way is what has continued to be successful. When you are interacting with clients over social media, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make your customer or client feel special! They probably do not expect a company to interact with them over social media, so use this opportunity to engage with them in a genuine, conversational way. This will help your customers relate to your brand and feel more connected. Don’t be afraid to self-promote when you do this. You can see an example of this tactic being executed seamlessly by the presentation app Visme below:

  • Offer special rewards to your followers! Even if you are a company that is more service-based than product-focused, you can still show your followers you care by offering them something extra, like a free consultation. This is one surefire way to set yourself apart from the competition.

  • Share your followers’ content on your own page. Not only does this help your followers feel appreciated and increase your reach, but it takes some of the stress off of your shoulders when it comes to creating interesting content.

It is easier to trust a person who feels real than it is to trust a company that feels robotic. If clients are able to interact with the brand, it will help them feel like they are being taken care of, which will only increase brand loyalty and the overall success of the content marketing strategy.

Enhanced client experiences

For quite a few years now, experiences have taken the lead ahead of material items. In fact, according to a study conducted by the agency Momentum Worldwide in 2019, 76% of consumers prefer to spend on experiences instead of material items. This trend is not new, but we saw it catapulting in 2021. As consumers were able to regain some control over their experiences, we saw spending on related products increase.

If you are not a travel brand or a brand that sells travel-related items, you might think this trend is irrelevant to you, but that is not the case. The truth is that the concept of “customer experiences” runs much deeper than flying a plane or hiking a mountain. Consumers are seeking out experiences in their day-to-day lives, and after having those experiences taken away from them, they are not taking one second for granted. This creates an opportunity for brands to engage with their clients in a meaningful way.

One way you could enhance your clients’ experience is through a client appreciation event. This can be a great way for you to connect with them in a more casual setting and to build your relationship in a more meaningful way. If throwing an event is not exactly your cup of tea, another way to think about creating an experience for your client is through your annual gift. Instead of dropping off a box of chocolates and calling it a day, you might consider taking them out to a nice dinner or giving them a gift card to a venue where they can create an experience of their own. The data has shown that consumers are prioritizing memories and the same can likely be said of your clients. When clients feel like they are sharing experiences with you outside of the typical conference calls, it will only deepen your working relationship for the future.

Featured snippets

In years’ past, the goal of SEO has always been to get your brand featured on the first page of Google. While this is still a great initial goal to strive towards, in 2021, most digital marketers are reaching for an even higher goal -- the featured snippet. Many times, when your future customers are searching for their needs, they are not exactly sure what their need is. What they do know is that they have a problem, and it is your brand’s job to show them you can solve it.

The featured snippet gives you the opportunity to get in front of your clients in this way, and when you can solve one problem, they will trust you even more. This is a particularly effective content marketing strategy for small businesses, as they can surpass the competition by incorporating keywords like the location into their website content. To get your content featured in this way, it requires strategy and insight into what they are searching for, but it is bound to help your website reach new audiences. Some of the ways you can work to improve your SEO and reach for that coveted featured snippet spot include:

  • Write content that your target audience would be interested in. Think about the most common questions that you hear from clients about your services and cater to their needs with quality content.

  • Use keyword-rich phrases in order to help your content rank. For example, if you were a personal injury law firm in Phoenix, you would want to repeat the practices you offer to this specific location in your content to reach your ideal audience. Always remember that it is important for your content to flow naturally! You’ll want to repeat keywords where it makes sense, but not to the point that it seems robotic.

  • Utilize social media to promote your content. This will help you reach a wider audience and show Google that you are a force to be reckoned with.

Above all, the marketing ability that became the most important in the year 2021 was the ability to adapt. This is true for small businesses and big brands alike. The way we communicate with each other is changing every day, and if the past few years has taught us anything, it is how important it is to adapt and change with the times. Focusing on the consumer and their experiences and crafting an authentic message about what they can expect from your brand is a great place to start. Consulting with marketing strategy experts like the team at Scorpion can give you more insight into the trends of 2021 and make sure your marketing playlist is prepared for all the top trends of 2022.

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