2021: Marketing message volume will increase by 40% in B2C

The way you craft your marketing messages have got to change as consumers are set to get bombarded with messages in 2021. In 2020, the pandemic left many B2C marketers’ existing plans and strategies in a limbo. New announcements from Apple and Google also put data deprecation on a fast track. To counter these challenges, marketers are preparing for an ecosystem without third-party cookies, banking on loyalty and retention marketing to double down on retention efforts and lean on brand loyalists (and their wallets) to help weather the economic storm.

According to Forrester, loyalty vendors are reporting a significant uptick in new business leads, and smaller direct-to-consumer brands are launching loyalty programmes, having identified that customer retention and recurring purchases are revenue drivers. Spend on loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30%.

This move towards loyalty programmes will also see a rise in content and messages disseminated to consumers, and as brands seek to retain and reengage customers, consumers will be inundated with messages in direct channels like email and mobile. 

Marketing message volume will increase by 40%

To stand out amid crowded inboxes, marketers will innovate their email marketing and mobile messaging programmes to be more contextually relevant and responsive to customers’ needs. Marketers have to as such shift time and effort away from batch-and-blast campaigns and instead double down on predictive analytics and prioritise anticipatory, moments-based messaging.

More and more marketers will also shift to local, retention-based marketing and make renewed investments in automation capabilities. They will need to focus on product- or performance-based marketing. According to Forrester’s COVID-19 digital marketing forecast, marketing automation spend will grow 3%. This expansion will be driven by investments in campaign optimisation, which reduces the time humans spend analysing data to determine what offer, content, or experience to serve customers and to drive a specific outcome, such as sales or enrichment.

Brands need to now analyse which processes require substantial man-hours and whether technological upgrades can help ease time burdens on employees.

Overall, in 2021, the industry should expect another year of reduced media expenditures, scanty teams, lean tech and agency partner networks, as well as the continued vacancy of business in the travel and hospitality sectors.

Marketers who are content to run promotions, sales support or media buying teams, which Forrester labels as "outdated CMOS", would not be able to hide their "lightweight contributions" behind the strong returns of a good economy. As predicted last year, Forrester said tough times will bring on the reckoning that CMOs would either step up to spearhead customer obsession or hand over this role to a chief customer or experience officer.

According to Forrester, forward thinking CMOs must retrench the foundations of their marketing functions instead of continually repairing fundamentally broken systems. Additionally, Forrester said that an overhaul needs to occur now because legacy structures cannot meet new customer needs or market dynamics that have drastically changed overnight.

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