Anticipate extra advertising and marketing copy and emails in 2021 than ever earlier than


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A new report from Forrester Research predicts consumers will receive more emails, texts, and push notifications in 2021 than ever before as brands seek to build more direct relationships with customers amid the pandemic and economic fallout.

Forrester's Predictions 2021: B2C Marketing report predicts that marketing message volume will grow 40% over the next year as brands seek to retain customers and make new purchases. The report's projections outline some of the trends that may have been sparked by the pandemic, but which are expected to affect marketing well into the next year.

In the early days of the pandemic, consumers noticed an influx of emails from brands and other organizations as companies tried to keep them updated on closings, security protocols, and programs like roadside pickup.

But even if the effects of the pandemic wear off over the next year, attempts to reach consumers directly will continue, particularly amid Google's plans to end support for third-party cookies and Apple changes affecting how Track mobile advertisers users.

"An unprecedented pandemic has challenged existing plans and strategies of B2C marketers, and new announcements from Apple and Google have accelerated data recovery. But these trends are no lightning bolt," the report said. "In 2021, marketers will need to prepare for an ecosystem free of cookies and third-party device IDs while navigating an unpredictable economy and reducing budgets and headcount."

The report predicts brands will spend more on loyalty and loyalty marketing to rely on existing consumers who could cut back on spending at an uncertain time. If consumers opt for loyalty benefits or shop from them directly through an app, marketers should be able to send personalized messages more easily even after privacy changes.

The additional reach will lead to increasingly overcrowded inboxes. Hence, expect marketers to build on their messaging programs, including text messaging, said Forrester analyst Stephanie Liu.

"They think if you don't come into our stores, we still have to take care of you," said Liu. "Window shopping is less of an occasion these days. So how can we stay in communication?"

Liu said brands may need to think about moving away from the more marketer-dictated messages where every consumer in a database receives a push notification at some point, a common tactic for retailers. These can be irritating and irrelevant.

"The downside of this is messages that are more responsive:" Based on how you've previously shopped with us or how you've interacted with us before, we think this type of message will be relevant to you " and take the time to build that logic instead of putting the same message across your entire customer list, "she said. "It's really like less is more."

Other predictions

Forrester expects marketers to cut budgets for traditional corporate sponsorship over the next year, in part because ratings for sports have fallen and stadium visits will be reduced or canceled over the next year. Liu said the channel has also been more difficult for marketers to measure return on investment, even before Covid.

Forrester predicts that some brands will reallocate budgets for cheaper opportunities like esports to keep reaching a large audience, but with more flexible contracts.

It also said marketers will focus on marketing more at the "neighborhood level" with more geographically targeted news.

"COVID-19 has seen a surge in newly built home sales as consumers flock to suburbs and rural areas for more space and affordability while enjoying flexible work opportunities," the report said. "In response, brands will move from urban messaging to more geographically targeted efforts to interact with local neighborhoods."


Katherine Clark