• Johanna McFarland

2021 Marketing Trends

Updated: Feb 5

A lot has changed in a year. Before I get into what I think we can expect to see in Marketing for 2021 I want to recap some of the things we learned in 2020.

  • how to make an event virtual

  • how to use user-generated content in major campaigns

  • how to fill social pages with content

  • how to use our platforms for good

  • how to make bread - oh wait... Ummm nevermind

2021 is basically 2020 with bangs, so with these learnings here are some Marketing trends that I think we can expect to see in 2021.


1. Easy to consume content! Now is the year to get that podcast started. We need to go into this year thinking that people are mostly staying at home, browsing the internet for content. Online creators made a killing in 2020 - YouTubers, Podcasters, Tweeters, Bloggers. Within a year, literally, everything that a human could experience moved to an online platform. People are starving for content. So if you're hiding a special talent, nows the year to get it online! Please. We're begging you.

2. Focus on 1-2 Social Media Platforms! I have been waiting for this one. Just a few short years ago, it was vital for businesses to appear on every social media platform under the sun. Now that consumers are set with their preferred networks - it's time to master the more well-established platforms. Take a minute to read Hootsuite's Social Trends 2021. There, you'll find out that more than half of businesses increased their Instagram budgets. With Stories, LIVES, IGTV, and more recently Reels. Instagram has quickly turned into consumers' one-stop-shop for snackable content.

3. User-generated content is QUEEN! If you told me two years ago that I'd be watching and enjoying advertisements that were filmed on someone's phone... I would have punched you in the face. But here we are! The world's biggest brands are using user-generated content to advertise their product or service. It's acceptable, it's responsible and it's wild to see. Gone are the days of elaborate campaign video shoots and months of editing. You have the power to market anything, with the little rectangle that's probably sitting right beside you.

4. Sense the tone. A lot of important things are going on right now. Yes, more important than the flash sale that you have going on from Wednesday to Sunday. Brands that know when to speak up and when to be silent WILL, I repeat, WILL stand out. Keep that explore page open and the news turned on. Businesses should not ignore what's going on in the world just to "keep things light" and "stay positive". The world is done ignoring changes that need to be made and your business is no exception.

5. PIVOT! (another Friends reference, you're welcome) There is no shame in changing up your content. If you need to reset, nows the time to do it. Everyone is going to remember the brands that took this time to shift their focus to accommodate what's really needed right now.

I want to finish this off with a message for the consumer. This year, your favourite brands and businesses need your support! It was a tough year for everyone, but here's how you can help:


Engage on Social Media with your favourite businesses. Follow them, SAVE their posts (this is a big one with the new Instagram algorithms), like and comment on their posts, share their content, subscribe to their newsletter, and/or write a review. A little tip: I've been asked a few times how people can get rid of "suggested posts" on Instagram and Facebook.... the answer is unfortunately you cannot. These platforms are working to show you things that it thinks you want to see. However, there is a way to tailor these posts and even limit the amount that you see and it has to do with how you engage on the platforms. I share some tips on how you can manage these things better in my review of Netflix's The Social Dilemma. Check it out!


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