10 Growth Marketing Tactics & Trends For 2021

It’s 2021, there’s finally some hint of light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and a lot of brands are considering where their growth marketing needs to turn next.

So we’ve put together this list of growth marketing tactics and trends we think everyone should pay attention to. Let’s dive right in.

1. Set your strategy first

The thing with tactics is that they’re not much use without sound strategy. It’s no use diving into all the latest trends head first if they don’t fit the problems you’re really trying to solve.

Marketing strategy is about deciding who you need to reach, what you want them to do, and what you need to say to them in order to change their behaviour.

All of this starts with research. Qualitative first – get out there, talk to people, find out what their drivers and decision-making factors are and look for trends. Then quantitative – measure the market, measure the trends. Once you have that information you can start to build a picture of where you want to play – which customers to target, and what will change their behaviour in the way you want.

2. Take another look at your funnel

One of the best ways you can ensure you’re making the right marketing decisions is doing a full funnel analysis.

The cookie cutter marketing funnel usually goes something like this: awareness > consideration > conversion > advocacy. This is a helpful template, but every organisation should have its own marketing funnel that reflects the reality of their customer experience.

Talk to customers and build your own custom funnel based on what they say. After that, measure that funnel – use data to analyse the drop-off between stages. By doing this exercise you’ll very likely spot things that you can improve in the funnel’s efficiency. If you’re not sure on how to do this, don’t worry. That’s the kind of thing we at Growth Division can help you with.

3. Reward customer loyalty

Every business wants loyal customers. They provide consistent revenue, they help with your marketing by talking to their friends, they leave good reviews.

Many businesses try to create loyalty with incentives or offers.These can work, but generally loyalty is a matter of trust. If a customer feels like your brand’s promise was fulfilled by reality, that customer is more likely to be loyal. They’re even more likely to be loyal if you surprise and delight them beyond their expectations. Even a little thing like a personalised thank you note in the parcel along with your product can make a huge difference. The move to this kind of mentality can be seen in a lot of brands trying to move from ‘customer support’ based terminology to ‘customer success’.

Beyond this, look for ways to reward the customers who are already loyal. Rather than tell them ‘if you buy from us this many times, we’ll reward you’, surprise them – send them a freebie after they’ve reached a purchasing threshold. That surprise freebie will mean a lot more than one they expected.

4. Explore social commerce

Facebook, Instagram and Google have been trying for a long time to reduce the number of steps between research and purchase. Last year it became possible for customers to purchase directly from an ad on Instagram, allowing users to shop directly on the platform without leaving.

It’s understandable to see this as an encroachment by the social media giants – putting themselves firmly between brand and customer. However, it does drastically reduce the number of steps a customer needs to take in order to make a purchase and this can only be a good thing for marketers. Shoppable ads are still fairly new, but the data so far is indicating that they could completely change the way social media users shop.

5. Have a community focus

The next step up from creating individually loyal customers is creating a true customer community. A community of customers who interact with each other and the brand naturally and voluntarily.

One way of doing this is true two-way communication through organic social channels. Don’t use your Facebook or Twitter as a megaphone – try to foster genuine back and forth with customers in the comments or replies. Some negative responses are to be expected – in order to do this properly brands have to be able to deal with that.

Or you could take it a step further. A lot of companies, especially in the tech space, are creating customer forums for users to share tips, tricks, troubleshooting advice and generally chat about the product line. This helps customers to feel like they are part of a community, and if company representatives are active in the forum it helps customers feel more connected to the brand they buy from.

We built Growth Division around a core digital marketing community, we love it!

6. Get chatty with AI-driven conversational marketing

AI-driven conversation has come on leaps and bounds in the past year alone, especially when it comes to chatbots. Where before they were annoying, unwieldy, and had a negative effect on customer experience, they can now become a core part of the ‘customer success’ function of a business.

Instant chat is by far the preferred method of direct communication with a brand today, and chatbots are able to effectively carry out these communications without irritating customers. And it’s not just about what customers prefer. The presence of instant chat drives purchasing decisions – Kayako have claimed that 79% of businesses that have implemented live chat have found it has resulted in increased customer loyalty, sales and revenue.

Once a customer is into the consideration/conversion/advocacy part of the funnel, a large chunk of their interactions with a business will be direct communication. Offering easy, instant ways for them to carry out these communications can only be a good thing.

7. Get ready for the cookie to crumble.

This is a big one, folks. Privacy-first cookie policies are on their way and that will dramatically change the way ad targeting can be done on digital platforms through 2022 and beyond.

There are two main ways to ensure brands aren’t negatively affected by the changes to third-party cookies:

  • Ensure your performance marketing spend doesn’t rely on hyper-targeted ad buying. This means thinking about the platforms you’re using, and it means spending more time and energy making sure your creative is absolutely fine-tuned to the kind of people who will want to use your product. This is because your options for having your ads ONLY seen by the right people will be extremely limited – so properly targeted, relevant, exciting creative will become more important.
  • Improve your first party data and relationships. Collecting your own data about your own customers to improve loyalty and lifetime customer value will be crucial. Using the right tools to do this will be equally crucial, which is something we can help with at Growth Division. We build martech stacks for clients who want to better understand their prospects and their customers, and we’re damn good at it.

8. Prepare for Google’s algorithm changes

Google plans to make algorithm changes in May 2021 introducing new metrics called Core Web Vitals. These will measure (and place more emphasis on) site load time, interactivity and content stability.

The best way to prepare for these changes is to make your website as user-friendly as you possibly can. That may seem obvious, but many brands aren’t sufficiently customer-focused when it comes to website experience. They put what they think is cool, or interesting, or easy to build on their website, without thinking about how a user will browse and interact with their site. It’s amazing how often companies neglect something as simple as the load time of their site, when it has a huge impact on customer experience and will increasingly have a huge impact on SEO.

So make your site fast, make it user friendly, and make it stable. That will keep you on the right side of Google’s law.

9. Use your voice

People have been predicting the rise of voice search almost as often as they’ve been predicting the end of the world.

However this time, in 2021, it really does look like voice search is going to become vitally important. Consumers are increasingly making use of their phone’s voice search capability and, finally, it’s actually working and delivering the results they want.

What does this mean for brands? It means they need to think about how users will search using their voice instead of typing. Searches are likely to be more conversational, and likely to be full sentences or questions rather than just a few keywords. SEO strategies should therefore adapt and focus on longer-tail keywords.

10. Think micro when it comes to influencers.

Influencer marketing has been generating headlines for a while and has delivered serious results for big consumer brands.

However, prices have completely skyrocketed. It can be hard to justify the spend on big-name influencers – precisely because they are so in-demand. Their prices aren’t tied to results, just to what people will pay. It can also be the case that because they are so big, their following is more diverse and therefore less targeted to your ideal customer persona.

The solution is to think smaller. Micro influencers, with followers in the 1000s or 10,000s rather than the 100,000s, can be much cheaper because there is less demand for their advertising space. It can be cheaper to use 10 micro influencers with followings totalling 100,000, than to use one with a following of 100,000.

The other side of the coin is that because these influencers are smaller in following, their audiences can be closer to an ideal customer persona. Depending on the sector their followers may be the more passionate early adopters that can drive taste for the rest of the market.

We hope these 10 tactics and trends for growth marketing in 2021 have been helpful. Keen an eye on our blog for more articles in the coming months on growth marketing, digital marketing and growth hacking. 

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