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Winnie Pua

Marketing plans & trends for 2021

We are rounding off one of the last few client brainstorming workshops for the year.  As such, it’sd timely to summarise some key areas that surfaced during these sessions. Off the back of a rough 2020, clients will certainly wonder what to put forth in 2021 marketing plans? Do we stick to tried-and-tested marketing techniques? Especially those that have yielded Return-of-Investments over time? Or do we be adventurous in the face of new opportunities?

2020 marks antics@play’s 11th year in the business. Boy, what a year! We have always believed in fun and impactful marketing. Being brand-led, play-inspired and experience-driven led us to conduct our workshops focusing on exploration, discovery and creative ideation. We believe this yields aligned  marketing results. And will also chart new grounds for both our clients and us.

Below are some thoughts gathered between antics’ Players;  a team of adventurous and knowledge-driven creatives and consultants, who are excited about sharing knowledge and inspiring clients, supporting clients from boardrooms to marketplaces.

1. Clients want agencies to support in marketing planning, customer insights and experimental marketing.

Clients are roping in agency partners for marketing planning, brand relevance building, trends leverage and other experimental marketing.

Beyond campaigns, we support CMOs in building plans, justifications, ideas for the boardroom. We are expected to support marketing plans with data, case studies benchmarks and KPIs etc. for maximum buy-in. This is where competitive scan and analysis will be most helpful. Beyond their industry, studying best practices, especially in IMC, should set hearts beating faster in the boardroom, in a good way!

There is always a need for clients to discover the changing norms of customers, whether B2B or B2C. And explore how we can establish common ideals between our clients’ brands and their customers. Clients want consultancy, advisory, mutual learning and knowledge sharing in the fast-changing landscape of customer behaviours.

In terms of execution, for more routine tasks, most clients have a well-greased engine, made up of in-market teams, in-house creative or production teams to quickly roll out set marketing plans and central brand and marketing assets.

2.  What will brands consider in 2021?

seeding a young plant

seeding hope and ideas for 2021

It could be we have extra time to stop and calibrate this year, or maybe due to a global humanitarian crisis, our focus swings to humanisation – messages and communication styles that are more empathetic, more supportive of social good. Beyond business KPIs, marketing work needs to address and provide other social impact, measured in social KPIs.

This questioning of social responsibilities of brands by customers prove that brands, now more than ever, must communicate the value they create in terms of social impact too. How to communicate this meaningfully, to relate and inspire consumers have been exciting. The planning of human experiences (HX) and social impact goes beyond the usual logical path of customer journey mapping or purchase funnel. The thinking of our impact on society and environment leads to us thinking on Total Experience (TX) terms.

In the post-pandemic world, communications and marketing plans need to speak to the heart rather than heart. So customer insights in terms of decoding customer values will be important, whether B2C or B2B. There are data and reports on various consumer segments emerging in 2021.

Being brand-led, antics@play has always leaned unto research to test proof strategies and work. Research methodologies will be quicker or even real-time, enabling agility and adopting best practices of design thinking.

With home environment as a focus in the post-pandemic world, we will need to consider activities and experiences while at home. New platforms and mediums and content consumption habits will influence and drive more diverse forms of content and formats.

Other antics Players may have shared other views via antics@play’s blogs. More can be read regarding anticipated post-pandemic insights including marketing for social impact.

3. How can brands innovate in 2021?

AI technology

Surprises in 2021

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

Great marketing, like any great work, should go beyond delivering KPIs. It should break new grounds, inspire, impact people and lives.

With changing customer needs, and technology and data as enablers, there is huge room for brands to innovate their marketing. Many clients secure experimental marketing budgets, and we co-plan areas their brands want to experiment with in 2021. From planning, implementing, tracking … these trials often yield exciting breakthrough for our clients.

The art of brand storytelling will continue to be important, as brands evolve and relate to changing habits and eras of consumers.

Besides delivering business KPIs, social KPIs and impact, excellent HX( human experience) planning will also be imperative. Beyond effective and kick-ass marketing, we should touch hearts and evolve society.

Now, let’s raise our glasses to 2021.