The prevalent uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 will remain and be a part of 2021. There is no getting around it. The inevitable surge of the winter months into spring of 2021 will make sure of that. While vaccines offer a pathway to an increase in business activity beyond the computer screen, it is still a ways off.
Here are 5 predictions for 2021:
Optimism Returns In Fall 2021
For most of 2021, my prediction is we will see a majority of organizations remain in survival or holding pattern modes. All facets of business commerce will continue to be affected. It will not be until September/October of 2021, when budget planning begins for 2022, that we will see optimism return. There will be a flurry of pent-up demand companies will seek to fulfill at the start of 2022.
Marketing Will Face Buyer Backlash
For most of 2021, marketing will see that many strategies and tactics coming out of the last decade will undergo reassessment. Hyper personalization to Account-Based Marketing will discover COVID-19 has accelerated the bad versus the good of many of the approaches implemented. Causing a backlash amongst buyers who say “enough is enough” to the constant hyper-targeting and AI intrusion.
Sales Will Face Further Reduction And Be Better For It
As business commerce continues to struggle for growth, sales forces throughout will continue to experience reduction. Causing many organizations to question sales strategies and tactics. The questioning will lead to advances in new forms of buyer-sales interactions and roles in commerce. Sales will arise in the second half of 2021 and be better for it.
Buyer Behavior Changes Accelerate
Cataclysmic events such as what we are experiencing with COVID-19 cause people and organizations to undergo behavioral changes. Buyer behavior will continue to change in 2021. My prediction is we will see the pace of change speed up in 2021 as buyers take further control away from sellers. While some new changes are apparent today, there will be others that are not readily apparent and manifest in 2021. To recover and rebound, companies will need to continuously monitor buyer behavior changes.
Technology Shifts Focus From Activity to Interaction
Buyer backlash against intrusion and marketing activity measurement will lead to rethinking the role of technology. The shift will focus away from automation of measuring customer and buyer activity to enhancing behavioral interaction. Creating immersive experiences for buyers who desire seller-free interaction. Seller-free desires will continue to increase, forcing the adoption of interactive technologies.
The year 2020 was filled with the unexpected like never before. We will see 2021 be a year of tempered return to optimism. Yet, a year we can expect more occurrences of the unexpected.