2021 Marketing Trends

So let’s face it, 2021 hasn’t exactly got off to the start we had all hoped for.  To keep positive, the Toolbox Marketing team have predicted some marketing and creative trends that we expect to see in 2021.

Community is key

A big shift to community’s supporting people locally was seen in 2020 and it will continue long into 2021 and beyond.  As people began to work where they live, this shifted consumer behavior and spending patterns significantly.  The importance of shopping and supporting local was at the forefront of communications and decisions, therefore it is important to be authentic and honest, and acknowledge togetherness this year.  Rewarding loyalty and highlighting the good that can be found in every day is also vital, plus a really good sense of humour!

The power of digital is here to stay.

Virtual events started out of necessity to replace physical events but digital has shown a greater ROI. More brands are starting to believe in the importance of digital marketing and continuous engagement – YAY! More retail destinations are open to trying new digital channels and tactics where the ROI is clearer and marketing budgets go further. There’s still marketing budgets to be spent and with more people online than ever before it’s the perfect solution.


Word Of Mouth is no longer the most powerful marketing tool, but eWOM is! More consumers will look for feedback, customer reviews and opinions on social media and the web.  So customer service, product choice, green credentials and giving back to the community is now more important than ever – people have the time to consider which brands and products they are buying and why, linked to their passion and values.  We will see a rise in the importance of sustainability and provenance due to this. 

Engaging content

Content is so much more interactive. Focusing on polls, asking questions, sharing consumers’ own photos all give us much more engagement and impressions than ‘normal’ content posts.  It’s a bit of trial and error to see what works for your audience, but the beauty is that you get to be super creative and have fun! SoMe users seem to engage more with community posts like centre staff bios and real life photos help to increase the centre personality. 2021 content will continue to focus on this and evolve, along with an added splash of positivity and optimism.

Experience marketing

There will be a big focus on experiences and technology for queues, fitting rooms and more, to make up for the things that are missing in physical shops.  Technology evolved in 2020, and the way consumers shop in a physical space also changed too.  Yes people have been forced to shop online due to restrictions and safety, and yes Covid-19 accelerated the shift to online procurement, but people are going to love shopping again, not just because they have been deprived of it.  Technology and consumer demands mean that the most unpleasant parts of shopping in a physical place may no longer exist!  It will all be about added value and added experience. 

Creative trends

In a visual world, we expect to see marketing channels, online and offline packed full with outsized typography and geometric shapes.  As people get out for their daily exercise, we also expect to see some natural designs filtering through.  You should also keep an eye out for flat icons and illustrations to aid in communicating the key messages.  

Mental wellbeing

And last but not least, ignoring mental and emotional health is coming to an end and we will see even more of a focus on wellbeing.  Customers will look for products, services and experiences that boost their mental wellbeing.  Things that cause unnecessary stress or worry are out, and things that focus on positivity, growth and making people feel good are in. 

Other things to consider in 2021

– The impact of online shopping on physical spaces, and how online procurement and shopping in a physical space will have to learn to live with each other.  In harmony? Who knows! 

– The long lasting effects of Covid on consumer confidence.  The impact of hands, face, space and the fear factor are here to stay and will impact that ‘new normal’ people are so desperate for. 

– The return of holidays is going to be huge to all involved.  The heat that hits you when you get off a plane, that 3am pint at the airport, the excitement of buying a holiday wardrobe.  All of those feelings are still there to be experiences once again.

– The celebration industry will finally be able to celebrate again!  We predict elaborate gestures of love as families will be able to get together again to celebrate special occasions.

– The power of live events and audiences.  Whether it is a music concert, live sporting event or throwing your head back with laughter at the theatre, the power of live audiences and euphoria will return and will hit hard in the experience charts.  

– Not forgetting life’s simple pleasures like the sunshine, a pint of beer and giving loved ones hugs.

Written by Chloe Keith