Hello and welcome to 2021. There’s something about each New Year that feels like a reset button. Rather than a look back, I think many of you might prefer to look ahead to better times. Here are five trends that we expect to see in 2021.
- UX design, a critical differentiator – With more choices than ever, customer expectations are also on the rise and heavily influencing the user experience. Consumers have now come to expect a highly personalized and seamless interaction with their favorite brands. UX design will continue to be a significant differentiator, with simplicity and utility becoming ever more critical.
- Martech ecosystems will consolidate while the number of apps grow – Demand for all-in-one platforms will continue to fuel martech ecosystem consolidation and competition among emerging leaders like Mailchimp, Wix, and Squarespace. As we see consolidation, we will also see an explosion of new marketing technology apps, thanks to the cloud, open source platforms, and low barriers to entry.
- Ad tech collides with expanding privacy protection – As the browser cookie phases out and privacy legislation phases in, we can expect significant change in the ad tech landscape. The walled garden ecosystem, through its ability to gain marketing consent from the browsing consumer, will become even more valuable.
- Covid accelerates the digitization of all commerce – As Covid accelerated ecommerce adoption across the value chain, we will see the proliferation of ecommerce brands and the full digitization of the sales process. Face-to-face selling will continue to shrink while advertising costs will continue to increase across Google and Facebook. The results will present two significant challenges for small businesses: discoverability and affordable customer acquisition.
- AI, in all software – AI has generated a lot of hype and investor interest, but to many leadership teams, it still feels out of reach. That’s all changing. With the democratization of AI, business leaders are able to see appropriate use cases and recognize that AI is simply the part of software that allows users to apply machine learning and deep learning capabilities, such as natural language processing (NLP) and image recognition. Data science will be part of all AI applications, ensuring that products can deliver more insights and get smarter over time.