Digital customer experience in 2021

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Digital customer experience in 2021


For digital professionals, predicting and preparing for a new year is always a challenge—and 2021 is shaping up to be exceptionally unpredictable. But even with the uncertainty brought on by the ongoing pandemic, there’s one thing we can be sure of: companies that stay in tune with customers’ needs and provide an exceptional customer experience in this difficult moment will shine. Here, we explore 12 digital customer experience trends that brands should keep top of mind in 2021. 


1. It’s more important than ever to reassure your customers

We can’t consider what our customers will want and need in the coming year without accounting for the unpredictable effects of the ongoing pandemic. For this very reason, companies must continue to provide reassuring and informative messaging for customers and potential customers. 

This messaging might include how your company is prioritizing the health, welfare, and safety of both customers and employees. It might also include information about aspects of your organization’s user experience that have changed as a result of the pandemic. These communications serve to reassure people who are spending conservatively right now, and let them know what to expect when they do spend with your company. 

In a recent webinar hosted by our partners at Qualtrics, Ona Anicello, Manager of UX Research at Alaska Airlines, said: 

“We’ve done some things along the guest journey, just to make sure that every step along the way people feel safe, that they feel secure in traveling. Specifically within the booking path, we’re looking at ways that we can communicate to our guests that we do take sanitation and their safety seriously. But also to communicate that if something does go wrong or if you get sick prior to your day of travel, that we’ll take care of you, that there’s ways that we’ll work with you to avoid any change fees and that sort of thing.”

Whatever industry you’re in, it will continue to be critical in 2021 to communicate with wary customers early and often about the ways in which you are prioritizing their needs—from health precautions and cleanliness standards, to return and cancellation policies. Reassure your customers that you will protect them in this time when so many things are outside of their control. 

2. Digital transformation is top-of-mind (and it needs to happen fast)

You’ve been hearing the phrase “digital transformation” for years. But as peoples’ lives become increasingly digital-first, the concept is quickly moving from buzzword to serious strategy, guiding many organizations’ short- and long-term business goals. 

In a recent interview, Margaret Wise, Chief Revenue Officer at a leading digital consultancy, said: 

“I think of digital transformation as the effort to de-silo digital, moving from digital as a separate channel to digital as embedded across an organization … It’s critical to develop your digital strategy in line with your organization’s strategic goals. Digital transformation is enormous and you can’t bite everything off at once; you’ll always have to prioritize limited resources.”

Organizations that invest heavily–and strategically–in digital transformation were three times as likely to have significantly exceeded top business goals in 2019, according to Adobe

And the challenges and benefits of pursuing digital transformation aren’t restricted to any one industry. Read more about how digital leaders from three different industries approach strategic digital transformation in our recent three-part interview series. 

3. Cross-functional team collaboration is key to efficient remote work

In 2020, we saw massive shifts to remote work, with nearly 20 percent of the global workforce now working from home. This, paired with budget cuts at many companies, has highlighted inefficiencies in daily practices that were less evident in a traditional office environment. 

According to Adobe, 53 percent of large organizations report that outdated workflows slow down their processes and stand in the way of meaningful digital transformation in 2020. Adobe provides the example of data silos as an outdated practice that inhibits progress: in an organization where stakeholders don’t share expertise, data, and resources, customer experience can’t evolve at the speed of the market. 

In 2021, companies should focus on replacing outdated, overly time-consuming workflows with more automated, and therefore more cost-effective, processes. This will likely involve rethinking how teams across your organization collaborate and share information, resources, and goals. 

For many companies, ironing out the wrinkles in working from home and reducing costs go hand in hand, and will require you to focus on restructuring teams, aligning on goals, and breaking down data silos. 

4. Customers gravitate toward brands that are socially and environmentally conscious 

Across the board, companies are competing for consumer dollars and loyalty by offering low prices, free shipping, and any number of other enticements. But smart brands are escaping this race to the bottom by offering customers something they’re willing to pay for: shared values. 

With issues like climate change and social justice occupying more space in peoples’ minds, many consumers are looking for ways to align their values with their shopping habits. When given the choice between two nearly identical brands—one that upholds a particular consumer value and one that doesn’t—people choose values, even if this means paying a slightly higher price. 

  • When it comes to eco-friendliness: 77 percent of consumers say that looking for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible is very important or moderately important to them, and 72 percent of those consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. (IBM)
  • And on the topic of social change: 81 percent of consumers say that their ability to trust a brand “to do what is right” is a deal breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision, and 69 percent of consumers have growing concerns about brands’ impact on society. (Edelman)

The logic behind this buying behavior is easy to see. In the eye of the consumer, shopping with a brand that supports one of their values is like killing two birds with one stone: they get the product or service they need, and they feel like they’ve contributed to a worthy cause. 

Chances are that if your organization is built on a philanthropic concept (like Bombas’ sock donation for every purchase), that messaging is already part of your marketing strategy. But for other companies, there might be other initiatives you can highlight to demonstrate your values to your customers. Maybe you ship your products in 100 percent recycled packaging, or your organization has committed to a set of employee diversity goals. An organization’s principles are increasingly meaningful to shoppers, so it’s important to consider ways to be vocal about your values. 

5. Storytelling and content are front and center for digital marketers

When it comes to the competitive digital advertising space, standing out from the crowd and winning consumers’ attention has been a growing challenge for brands over the past decade. As the competition for consumer attention grows fiercer, brands are finding new ways to relate to their audience and build loyalty through storytelling and content marketing. 

Rather than traditional product advertising, many digital marketers are focusing their efforts on building emotional connections and relationships with their audience. This trend of marketing through storytelling isn’t a new one, but it’s only becoming more prevalent. 

In an article for Common Thread Collective, Aaron Orendorff writes: “The power of content lies in entering an audience’s heart and mind through a consistent story well told; one with people, not products, at its core.”

And though the concept of storytelling and content marketing has been around for some time, many companies are still figuring out how to do it—and measure it—effectively. Digital Marketing Institute reports that while 86 percent of B2C companies use content marketing, only 33 percent have a documented strategy and less than half actually measure the ROI of content marketing efforts. 

These numbers add up to one fact: marketers who thoughtfully document and execute on a content strategy, and then measure and iterate on that strategy, will excel in the advertising space. 

Similarly, interactive marketing content is also becoming more popular as we enter 2021. This category includes any type of marketing that a user can get involved in rather than just looking at (or scrolling past). A few examples include: 

  • Video content that appears across various channels 
  • Quizzes that curate some kind of personalized experience or information for the user
  • Augmented reality ads, like a 360 degree view of a store or hotel

The bottom line? Marketing that centers humans—whether by telling a story or by involving the target audience—is the most direct path to a customer’s heart in 2021. 


For digital professionals, predicting and preparing for a new year is always a challenge—and 2021 is shaping up to be exceptionally unpredictable. But even with the uncertainty brought on by the ongoing pandemic, there’s one thing we can be sure of: companies that stay in tune with customers’ needs and provide an exceptional customer experience in this difficult moment will shine. Here, we explore 12 digital customer experience trends that brands should keep top of mind in 2021. 


1. It’s more important than ever to reassure your customers

We can’t consider what our customers will want and need in the coming year without accounting for the unpredictable effects of the ongoing pandemic. For this very reason, companies must continue to provide reassuring and informative messaging for customers and potential customers. 

This messaging might include how your company is prioritizing the health, welfare, and safety of both customers and employees. It might also include information about aspects of your organization’s user experience that have changed as a result of the pandemic. These communications serve to reassure people who are spending conservatively right now, and let them know what to expect when they do spend with your company. 

In a recent webinar hosted by our partners at Qualtrics, Ona Anicello, Manager of UX Research at Alaska Airlines, said: 

“We’ve done some things along the guest journey, just to make sure that every step along the way people feel safe, that they feel secure in traveling. Specifically within the booking path, we’re looking at ways that we can communicate to our guests that we do take sanitation and their safety seriously. But also to communicate that if something does go wrong or if you get sick prior to your day of travel, that we’ll take care of you, that there’s ways that we’ll work with you to avoid any change fees and that sort of thing.”

Whatever industry you’re in, it will continue to be critical in 2021 to communicate with wary customers early and often about the ways in which you are prioritizing their needs—from health precautions and cleanliness standards, to return and cancellation policies. Reassure your customers that you will protect them in this time when so many things are outside of their control. 

2. Digital transformation is top-of-mind (and it needs to happen fast)

You’ve been hearing the phrase “digital transformation” for years. But as peoples’ lives become increasingly digital-first, the concept is quickly moving from buzzword to serious strategy, guiding many organizations’ short- and long-term business goals. 

In a recent interview, Margaret Wise, Chief Revenue Officer at a leading digital consultancy, said: 

“I think of digital transformation as the effort to de-silo digital, moving from digital as a separate channel to digital as embedded across an organization … It’s critical to develop your digital strategy in line with your organization’s strategic goals. Digital transformation is enormous and you can’t bite everything off at once; you’ll always have to prioritize limited resources.”

Organizations that invest heavily–and strategically–in digital transformation were three times as likely to have significantly exceeded top business goals in 2019, according to Adobe

And the challenges and benefits of pursuing digital transformation aren’t restricted to any one industry. Read more about how digital leaders from three different industries approach strategic digital transformation in our recent three-part interview series. 

3. Cross-functional team collaboration is key to efficient remote work

In 2020, we saw massive shifts to remote work, with nearly 20 percent of the global workforce now working from home. This, paired with budget cuts at many companies, has highlighted inefficiencies in daily practices that were less evident in a traditional office environment. 

According to Adobe, 53 percent of large organizations report that outdated workflows slow down their processes and stand in the way of meaningful digital transformation in 2020. Adobe provides the example of data silos as an outdated practice that inhibits progress: in an organization where stakeholders don’t share expertise, data, and resources, customer experience can’t evolve at the speed of the market. 

In 2021, companies should focus on replacing outdated, overly time-consuming workflows with more automated, and therefore more cost-effective, processes. This will likely involve rethinking how teams across your organization collaborate and share information, resources, and goals. 

For many companies, ironing out the wrinkles in working from home and reducing costs go hand in hand, and will require you to focus on restructuring teams, aligning on goals, and breaking down data silos. 

4. Customers gravitate toward brands that are socially and environmentally conscious 

Across the board, companies are competing for consumer dollars and loyalty by offering low prices, free shipping, and any number of other enticements. But smart brands are escaping this race to the bottom by offering customers something they’re willing to pay for: shared values. 

With issues like climate change and social justice occupying more space in peoples’ minds, many consumers are looking for ways to align their values with their shopping habits. When given the choice between two nearly identical brands—one that upholds a particular consumer value and one that doesn’t—people choose values, even if this means paying a slightly higher price. 

  • When it comes to eco-friendliness: 77 percent of consumers say that looking for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible is very important or moderately important to them, and 72 percent of those consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. (IBM)
  • And on the topic of social change: 81 percent of consumers say that their ability to trust a brand “to do what is right” is a deal breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision, and 69 percent of consumers have growing concerns about brands’ impact on society. (Edelman)

The logic behind this buying behavior is easy to see. In the eye of the consumer, shopping with a brand that supports one of their values is like killing two birds with one stone: they get the product or service they need, and they feel like they’ve contributed to a worthy cause. 

Chances are that if your organization is built on a philanthropic concept (like Bombas’ sock donation for every purchase), that messaging is already part of your marketing strategy. But for other companies, there might be other initiatives you can highlight to demonstrate your values to your customers. Maybe you ship your products in 100 percent recycled packaging, or your organization has committed to a set of employee diversity goals. An organization’s principles are increasingly meaningful to shoppers, so it’s important to consider ways to be vocal about your values. 

5. Storytelling and content are front and center for digital marketers

When it comes to the competitive digital advertising space, standing out from the crowd and winning consumers’ attention has been a growing challenge for brands over the past decade. As the competition for consumer attention grows fiercer, brands are finding new ways to relate to their audience and build loyalty through storytelling and content marketing. 

Rather than traditional product advertising, many digital marketers are focusing their efforts on building emotional connections and relationships with their audience. This trend of marketing through storytelling isn’t a new one, but it’s only becoming more prevalent. 

In an article for Common Thread Collective, Aaron Orendorff writes: “The power of content lies in entering an audience’s heart and mind through a consistent story well told; one with people, not products, at its core.”

And though the concept of storytelling and content marketing has been around for some time, many companies are still figuring out how to do it—and measure it—effectively. Digital Marketing Institute reports that while 86 percent of B2C companies use content marketing, only 33 percent have a documented strategy and less than half actually measure the ROI of content marketing efforts. 

These numbers add up to one fact: marketers who thoughtfully document and execute on a content strategy, and then measure and iterate on that strategy, will excel in the advertising space. 

Similarly, interactive marketing content is also becoming more popular as we enter 2021. This category includes any type of marketing that a user can get involved in rather than just looking at (or scrolling past). A few examples include: 

  • Video content that appears across various channels 
  • Quizzes that curate some kind of personalized experience or information for the user
  • Augmented reality ads, like a 360 degree view of a store or hotel

The bottom line? Marketing that centers humans—whether by telling a story or by involving the target audience—is the most direct path to a customer’s heart in 2021. 


For digital professionals, predicting and preparing for a new year is always a challenge—and 2021 is shaping up to be exceptionally unpredictable. But even with the uncertainty brought on by the ongoing pandemic, there’s one thing we can be sure of: companies that stay in tune with customers’ needs and provide an exceptional customer experience in this difficult moment will shine. Here, we explore 12 digital customer experience trends that brands should keep top of mind in 2021. 


1. It’s more important than ever to reassure your customers

We can’t consider what our customers will want and need in the coming year without accounting for the unpredictable effects of the ongoing pandemic. For this very reason, companies must continue to provide reassuring and informative messaging for customers and potential customers. 

This messaging might include how your company is prioritizing the health, welfare, and safety of both customers and employees. It might also include information about aspects of your organization’s user experience that have changed as a result of the pandemic. These communications serve to reassure people who are spending conservatively right now, and let them know what to expect when they do spend with your company. 

In a recent webinar hosted by our partners at Qualtrics, Ona Anicello, Manager of UX Research at Alaska Airlines, said: 

“We’ve done some things along the guest journey, just to make sure that every step along the way people feel safe, that they feel secure in traveling. Specifically within the booking path, we’re looking at ways that we can communicate to our guests that we do take sanitation and their safety seriously. But also to communicate that if something does go wrong or if you get sick prior to your day of travel, that we’ll take care of you, that there’s ways that we’ll work with you to avoid any change fees and that sort of thing.”

Whatever industry you’re in, it will continue to be critical in 2021 to communicate with wary customers early and often about the ways in which you are prioritizing their needs—from health precautions and cleanliness standards, to return and cancellation policies. Reassure your customers that you will protect them in this time when so many things are outside of their control. 

2. Digital transformation is top-of-mind (and it needs to happen fast)

You’ve been hearing the phrase “digital transformation” for years. But as peoples’ lives become increasingly digital-first, the concept is quickly moving from buzzword to serious strategy, guiding many organizations’ short- and long-term business goals. 

In a recent interview, Margaret Wise, Chief Revenue Officer at a leading digital consultancy, said: 

“I think of digital transformation as the effort to de-silo digital, moving from digital as a separate channel to digital as embedded across an organization … It’s critical to develop your digital strategy in line with your organization’s strategic goals. Digital transformation is enormous and you can’t bite everything off at once; you’ll always have to prioritize limited resources.”

Organizations that invest heavily–and strategically–in digital transformation were three times as likely to have significantly exceeded top business goals in 2019, according to Adobe

And the challenges and benefits of pursuing digital transformation aren’t restricted to any one industry. Read more about how digital leaders from three different industries approach strategic digital transformation in our recent three-part interview series. 

3. Cross-functional team collaboration is key to efficient remote work

In 2020, we saw massive shifts to remote work, with nearly 20 percent of the global workforce now working from home. This, paired with budget cuts at many companies, has highlighted inefficiencies in daily practices that were less evident in a traditional office environment. 

According to Adobe, 53 percent of large organizations report that outdated workflows slow down their processes and stand in the way of meaningful digital transformation in 2020. Adobe provides the example of data silos as an outdated practice that inhibits progress: in an organization where stakeholders don’t share expertise, data, and resources, customer experience can’t evolve at the speed of the market. 

In 2021, companies should focus on replacing outdated, overly time-consuming workflows with more automated, and therefore more cost-effective, processes. This will likely involve rethinking how teams across your organization collaborate and share information, resources, and goals. 

For many companies, ironing out the wrinkles in working from home and reducing costs go hand in hand, and will require you to focus on restructuring teams, aligning on goals, and breaking down data silos. 

4. Customers gravitate toward brands that are socially and environmentally conscious 

Across the board, companies are competing for consumer dollars and loyalty by offering low prices, free shipping, and any number of other enticements. But smart brands are escaping this race to the bottom by offering customers something they’re willing to pay for: shared values. 

With issues like climate change and social justice occupying more space in peoples’ minds, many consumers are looking for ways to align their values with their shopping habits. When given the choice between two nearly identical brands—one that upholds a particular consumer value and one that doesn’t—people choose values, even if this means paying a slightly higher price. 

  • When it comes to eco-friendliness: 77 percent of consumers say that looking for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible is very important or moderately important to them, and 72 percent of those consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. (IBM)
  • And on the topic of social change: 81 percent of consumers say that their ability to trust a brand “to do what is right” is a deal breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision, and 69 percent of consumers have growing concerns about brands’ impact on society. (Edelman)

The logic behind this buying behavior is easy to see. In the eye of the consumer, shopping with a brand that supports one of their values is like killing two birds with one stone: they get the product or service they need, and they feel like they’ve contributed to a worthy cause. 

Chances are that if your organization is built on a philanthropic concept (like Bombas’ sock donation for every purchase), that messaging is already part of your marketing strategy. But for other companies, there might be other initiatives you can highlight to demonstrate your values to your customers. Maybe you ship your products in 100 percent recycled packaging, or your organization has committed to a set of employee diversity goals. An organization’s principles are increasingly meaningful to shoppers, so it’s important to consider ways to be vocal about your values. 

5. Storytelling and content are front and center for digital marketers

When it comes to the competitive digital advertising space, standing out from the crowd and winning consumers’ attention has been a growing challenge for brands over the past decade. As the competition for consumer attention grows fiercer, brands are finding new ways to relate to their audience and build loyalty through storytelling and content marketing. 

Rather than traditional product advertising, many digital marketers are focusing their efforts on building emotional connections and relationships with their audience. This trend of marketing through storytelling isn’t a new one, but it’s only becoming more prevalent. 

In an article for Common Thread Collective, Aaron Orendorff writes: “The power of content lies in entering an audience’s heart and mind through a consistent story well told; one with people, not products, at its core.”

And though the concept of storytelling and content marketing has been around for some time, many companies are still figuring out how to do it—and measure it—effectively. Digital Marketing Institute reports that while 86 percent of B2C companies use content marketing, only 33 percent have a documented strategy and less than half actually measure the ROI of content marketing efforts. 

These numbers add up to one fact: marketers who thoughtfully document and execute on a content strategy, and then measure and iterate on that strategy, will excel in the advertising space. 

Similarly, interactive marketing content is also becoming more popular as we enter 2021. This category includes any type of marketing that a user can get involved in rather than just looking at (or scrolling past). A few examples include: 

  • Video content that appears across various channels 
  • Quizzes that curate some kind of personalized experience or information for the user
  • Augmented reality ads, like a 360 degree view of a store or hotel

The bottom line? Marketing that centers humans—whether by telling a story or by involving the target audience—is the most direct path to a customer’s heart in 2021. 


For digital professionals, predicting and preparing for a new year is always a challenge—and 2021 is shaping up to be exceptionally unpredictable. But even with the uncertainty brought on by the ongoing pandemic, there’s one thing we can be sure of: companies that stay in tune with customers’ needs and provide an exceptional customer experience in this difficult moment will shine. Here, we explore 12 digital customer experience trends that brands should keep top of mind in 2021. 


1. It’s more important than ever to reassure your customers

We can’t consider what our customers will want and need in the coming year without accounting for the unpredictable effects of the ongoing pandemic. For this very reason, companies must continue to provide reassuring and informative messaging for customers and potential customers. 

This messaging might include how your company is prioritizing the health, welfare, and safety of both customers and employees. It might also include information about aspects of your organization’s user experience that have changed as a result of the pandemic. These communications serve to reassure people who are spending conservatively right now, and let them know what to expect when they do spend with your company. 

In a recent webinar hosted by our partners at Qualtrics, Ona Anicello, Manager of UX Research at Alaska Airlines, said: 

“We’ve done some things along the guest journey, just to make sure that every step along the way people feel safe, that they feel secure in traveling. Specifically within the booking path, we’re looking at ways that we can communicate to our guests that we do take sanitation and their safety seriously. But also to communicate that if something does go wrong or if you get sick prior to your day of travel, that we’ll take care of you, that there’s ways that we’ll work with you to avoid any change fees and that sort of thing.”

Whatever industry you’re in, it will continue to be critical in 2021 to communicate with wary customers early and often about the ways in which you are prioritizing their needs—from health precautions and cleanliness standards, to return and cancellation policies. Reassure your customers that you will protect them in this time when so many things are outside of their control. 

2. Digital transformation is top-of-mind (and it needs to happen fast)

You’ve been hearing the phrase “digital transformation” for years. But as peoples’ lives become increasingly digital-first, the concept is quickly moving from buzzword to serious strategy, guiding many organizations’ short- and long-term business goals. 

In a recent interview, Margaret Wise, Chief Revenue Officer at a leading digital consultancy, said: 

“I think of digital transformation as the effort to de-silo digital, moving from digital as a separate channel to digital as embedded across an organization … It’s critical to develop your digital strategy in line with your organization’s strategic goals. Digital transformation is enormous and you can’t bite everything off at once; you’ll always have to prioritize limited resources.”

Organizations that invest heavily–and strategically–in digital transformation were three times as likely to have significantly exceeded top business goals in 2019, according to Adobe

And the challenges and benefits of pursuing digital transformation aren’t restricted to any one industry.

3. Cross-functional team collaboration is key to efficient remote work

In 2020, we saw massive shifts to remote work, with nearly 20 percent of the global workforce now working from home. This, paired with budget cuts at many companies, has highlighted inefficiencies in daily practices that were less evident in a traditional office environment. 

According to Adobe, 53 percent of large organizations report that outdated workflows slow down their processes and stand in the way of meaningful digital transformation in 2020. Adobe provides the example of data silos as an outdated practice that inhibits progress: in an organization where stakeholders don’t share expertise, data, and resources, customer experience can’t evolve at the speed of the market. 

In 2021, companies should focus on replacing outdated, overly time-consuming workflows with more automated, and therefore more cost-effective, processes. This will likely involve rethinking how teams across your organization collaborate and share information, resources, and goals. 

For many companies, ironing out the wrinkles in working from home and reducing costs go hand in hand, and will require you to focus on restructuring teams, aligning on goals, and breaking down data silos. 

4. Customers gravitate toward brands that are socially and environmentally conscious 

Across the board, companies are competing for consumer dollars and loyalty by offering low prices, free shipping, and any number of other enticements. But smart brands are escaping this race to the bottom by offering customers something they’re willing to pay for: shared values. 

With issues like climate change and social justice occupying more space in peoples’ minds, many consumers are looking for ways to align their values with their shopping habits. When given the choice between two nearly identical brands—one that upholds a particular consumer value and one that doesn’t—people choose values, even if this means paying a slightly higher price. 

  • When it comes to eco-friendliness: 77 percent of consumers say that looking for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible is very important or moderately important to them, and 72 percent of those consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. (IBM)
  • And on the topic of social change: 81 percent of consumers say that their ability to trust a brand “to do what is right” is a deal breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision, and 69 percent of consumers have growing concerns about brands’ impact on society. (Edelman)

The logic behind this buying behavior is easy to see. In the eye of the consumer, shopping with a brand that supports one of their values is like killing two birds with one stone: they get the product or service they need, and they feel like they’ve contributed to a worthy cause. 

Chances are that if your organization is built on a philanthropic concept (like Bombas’ sock donation for every purchase), that messaging is already part of your marketing strategy. But for other companies, there might be other initiatives you can highlight to demonstrate your values to your customers. Maybe you ship your products in 100 percent recycled packaging, or your organization has committed to a set of employee diversity goals. An organization’s principles are increasingly meaningful to shoppers, so it’s important to consider ways to be vocal about your values. 

5. Storytelling and content are front and center for digital marketers

When it comes to the competitive digital advertising space, standing out from the crowd and winning consumers’ attention has been a growing challenge for brands over the past decade. As the competition for consumer attention grows fiercer, brands are finding new ways to relate to their audience and build loyalty through storytelling and content marketing. 

Rather than traditional product advertising, many digital marketers are focusing their efforts on building emotional connections and relationships with their audience. This trend of marketing through storytelling isn’t a new one, but it’s only becoming more prevalent. 

In an article for Common Thread Collective, Aaron Orendorff writes: “The power of content lies in entering an audience’s heart and mind through a consistent story well told; one with people, not products, at its core.”

And though the concept of storytelling and content marketing has been around for some time, many companies are still figuring out how to do it—and measure it—effectively. Digital Marketing Institute reports that while 86 percent of B2C companies use content marketing, only 33 percent have a documented strategy and less than half actually measure the ROI of content marketing efforts. 

These numbers add up to one fact: marketers who thoughtfully document and execute on a content strategy, and then measure and iterate on that strategy, will excel in the advertising space. 

Similarly, interactive marketing content is also becoming more popular as we enter 2021. This category includes any type of marketing that a user can get involved in rather than just looking at (or scrolling past). A few examples include: 

  • Video content that appears across various channels 
  • Quizzes that curate some kind of personalized experience or information for the user
  • Augmented reality ads, like a 360 degree view of a store or hotel

The bottom line? Marketing that centers humans—whether by telling a story or by involving the target audience—is the most direct path to a customer’s heart in 2021. 

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