Marketing trends for 2021 revealed

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Digital marketing in 2021 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Digital events look set to continue to dominate the marketing agenda of South West businesses in 2021. That’s according to a new survey into the latest marketing trends of the region’s businesses conducted by Astley Media.

The Marketing from the Edge report reveals how brands in the region are pivoting their marketing approach in response to the new challenges and opportunities emerging from the pandemic.

Key findings include:
● Videos and blogs are on the rise, with 40% of businesses making more use of them since the pandemic.
● 56% of businesses have started hosting more digital events.
● LinkedIn, Twitter and then Facebook were the three key social media channels used during the pandemic by South West brands.

The survey was carried out by Astley Media, an award-winning full service marketing agency based in Devon. A wide range of businesses took part including tech companies, recruitment professionals and law firms.

Dan Pritchard, Managing Director at Astley Media, said: “There are real positives we can take from the survey, with companies aware that marketing offers new opportunities in difficult times. They are the ones adapting their strategies and tactics accordingly.

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“Many stuck with familiar territory in troubled times but that’s not a reason to stand still in 2021. The South West has many fantastic brands. Those that truly understand what their customers need, and recognise the emergence of new channels and opportunities across the digital landscape, will be the ones to thrive.”

The results of the survey shed light on the methods and approaches used by businesses to engage and secure customers and clients in 2020. They suggest that, far from standing still and hoping for the best during the pandemic, many businesses took action to adapt to changing customers’ needs - whether by expanding into e-commerce, accelerating their social media strategy or introducing new product lines.

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Mandy Pearse, Chartered Institute of Public Relations President 2021, who contributes a foreword to the full report and is based in the region, said: “Covid 19 has seen the most fantastic response from business; whether that is pivoting production to produce hand sanitiser ventilators and personal, protective wear or reinventing operating models to deliver services in a Covid secure way. There have and continue to be opportunities to tell a story of innovation, support for local communities and for customers.

“The rise of social media continues with the public showing a huge appetite for compelling content to let them connect with their favourite brands. Video storytelling is the trend of 2020 where short videos showcase brands or products subtly explaining their origins, their environmental impact or the people who make them.

“Wise organisations will continue to invest in research, PR and marketing despite the tough times. They seek insights into customer needs, engage in relationship building to retain customer loyalty and grow business through connecting with new customers.”

The survey also reveals that, whilst the use of digital advertising intensifies, South West businesses continue to shy away from using traditional broadcast media. 90% of businesses reported never having used TV advertising, and 81% having never used radio.

Most companies in the region recognise the importance of marketing to drive customer retention and engagement. 80% report finding market research useful for understanding their target audiences. Although 77% of respondents say they have a marketing strategy in place,

alarmingly, over two thirds of respondents felt their marketing strategy was not maintaining or increasing sales revenue or increasing brand awareness.

As for the future, the key advertising platforms that South West businesses expect to be using are social media (79%), email marketing (68%) and other digital marketing (e.g Pay Per Click or online advertising on news/ business websites) (53%). When it comes to public relations, businesses predict an increase in the use of digital events, with 56% prioritising attendance at events and 42% of businesses prioritising hosting digital events.

Dan Pritchard of Astley Media added: “As technology advances and data insight improves, brands will need to be on top of their game. Those set to thrive in the coming years will be the ones who truly understand their audience, and bring meaning, empathy and solutions to the market.”

Visit to read the full report.

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