Marketing – what is it? It’s a question we ask ourselves every day, perhaps because of how often the answer changes.

With the evolution of technology in the 21st century, the attention of audiences across the world has drastically changed. Furthermore, living in the age of social media means that these shifts are felt quickly and the ramifications of such are felt around the world.

What changed the marketing sphere?

Was it the creation of social media, beginning with Myspace or Facebook? Was it the technological advances that continue to occur, from IM’ing to sending an email? Or was it people such as K-POP superstars, BTS, transforming the meaning behind marketing into relationship-building?

It is no secret that what marketing truly means has changed and continues to evolve every day. As technology and society continue to advance, so do the attention and interests of audiences. While the primary goal behind marketing is to increase revenue, many are realizing that marketing needs to be audience-centric and about people.

What are the goals of marketers?

  1. Conversion
  2. Build brand awareness
  3. Increasing brand engagement
  4. Increase client value (or their perceived value)

Listed above are some goals that marketers have historically shared, most predominantly to be drive revenue for organizations.

While important, these goals can arguably miss out on the most crucial aspects of marketing – building relationships. A key idea of marketing today is that it needs to feel human, it needs to build connections and it should aim be interactive.

Therefore, market as if you were the client. Market to yourself to market to others.

How to market in 2021.

Marketing is dynamic – as people and societies across the world change, it will continue to evolve. But what does marketing look like when half of the world’s population is living a life that is perceived to be normal and the rest of the world is still trying to find their ‘normal’ in a world full of restrictions and fear.

It’s all about people.

“Marketing’s north star will be evolving in 2021. Marketing has always been about understanding people and acting on that knowledge. A key difference in 2021 is that marketers are able to know more than ever. It’s the rise of the psychologist, and the rise of the digital marketer.”

Caroline Tien-Spalding, CMO at Aptology

Whether in the safety of our homes or travelling around the world, we, as human beings, need to be with people. Marketers need to continue to create campaigns around people, striving to build relationships that are sustained by trust, loyalty, and interest. The reason influencer marketing has seen such success must be attributed not only to the growth of social media but also the relationships that influencers have with their followers. This is because this style of interaction and engagement appeals to the need humans have to be in relationships and a part of communities.

How to market in 2021? Build relationships by telling your Story.

What’s next?

As the world around us changes, so does our business. The last 18 months have seen such drastic and unprecedented shifts not only within the economy but also in the actions we take when approaching our lives. The world has changed and as has what business means and how marketing is done.

Marketing goes where the world is going and we are living in a people-centric, digital age right now. Machine learning and AI are becoming common tools in the world and in-person meetings are becoming obsolete. While we are moving further into a technological-digital space, people still have and are driven by the innate desire to interact with others. The next step for marketers is to create common ground between the digital space and building valuable, long-lasting relationships with consumers.