Just as consumer buying behavior is influenced by trends, so are the marketing efforts that put those products in front of online shoppers. Digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry; it has to be, or else you would see a consistent decline in the number of successful brands across each marketplace. 

While consumers are self-aware that their preferences and affiliations with brands change, and brands are cognizant of a need to constantly update their digital marketing strategies, not many people actually dive into the reasons why marketing initiatives are so fluid. What many people don’t realize is just how heavily marketing is influenced by cultural trends, which impact the way brands market to all generations from boomers to Gen Z.

As you begin thinking about your 2021 marketing strategy, these are some of the cultural trends that are happening right now that could change the way you reach your customer base next year:

More body positivity

This isn’t a new cultural trend, but it’s one that becomes even more prevalent with every passing year. Brands that use ads or language that promote an ‘ideal’ body type are being met with a lot of resistance and anger. Consumers are paying attention to how brands are promoting positivity and self-love. Famous clothing brands like Anthropologie and Adidas are using plus-sized models in their marketing campaigns, and even companies like CVS and Dove are ditching Photoshop so as not to misrepresent their products. 

Becoming activists

Companies often try to stay as neutral as possible when it comes to controversial topics like global warming or racial discrimination so as not to stir the pot or paint targets on their backs. However, a company’s silence speaks volumes, which can do more harm than good. Today’s consumers believe that brands can make a difference in the world if they speak out against societal injustices. As you plan your marketing strategy, have a plan for how you’re going to address ongoing issues, as well as individual situations that arise over the course of the year. 

Influencer distrust

You’ve heard of influencer marketing, but do you know just how prominent this form of marketing really is? One survey found that over 66 percent of brands use mid-level influencers, 59 percent use micro-influencers, and 44 perfect use macro-influences. However, as more consumers begin to distrust data, they also begin to distrust influencers. And they should. The social media lead at Kellogg’s, Joseph Harper, shared his own experience at the Digiday summit, saying: “One agency we work with said a campaign was a success, but when we dug deeper into the report, we realized that the influencers we’d paid had just gone to a WhatsApp group of other influencers and asked them to make all of those [positive] comments.” If you use influencers as part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to analyze how effective their outreach is and research the people you work with to avoid any distrust with your own organization.

The world is constantly changing, and so will your digital marketing efforts. Pay attention to what’s happening in the world around you and use that information to not only enhance your marketing campaigns, but to continue to give your consumers what they want and need from your brand.