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In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss upcoming 2021 marketing trends. It’s that time of year when everyone’s pontificating on what’s next in marketing. Listen in as we discuss:

– Analytics infrastructure
– Agile marketing
– Private social media communities
– Customer data privacy and sales
– Value exchange

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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Christopher Penn 0:02
This is In-Ear Insights the Trust Insights podcast. Do you want to use AI in your marketing but you’re not sure where to start? Take a class with Trust Insights and the marketing AI Institute. The AI Academy offers more than 25 classes and certification courses to start you on your AI journey including our intelligent attribution modeling for marketers certification. One membership gets you access to all 25 classes. Visit Trust insights.ai slash AI Academy to learn more and enroll today. That’s Trust insights.ai slash AI Academy to enroll today. Are you struggling to reach the right audiences? Trust Insights offers sponsorships in our newsletters, podcasts and media properties to help your brand be seen and heard by the right people. Our media properties with almost 100,000 people every week from the In-Ear Insights podcast to the most timely and in the headlights newsletters. Reach out to us today at Trust insights.ai slash contact to learn more. Again, that’s Trust insights.ai slash contact. In this week’s in In-Ear Insights it’s the most wonderful time of the year Katie? Actually, it’s not it’s the time of year when everybody in their cousin is sending us all pitches to podcasts or blogs to YouTube’s saying, hey, person, what are your 2021 predictions, advice, forecast all this stuff about you know, marketing and analytics and AI and machine learning and all this stuff. So I figured why don’t we talk about our 2021 prognostications with our best understanding of the landscape as it stands right now. And that way, when people ask us for our predictions, we have this wonderful episode of the podcast to direct them to being efficient. So Katie, what are your 2021 predictions?

Katie Robbert 1:52
More dumpster fires and chaos? I think, you know, all joking aside, obviously, everybody knows that 2020 has been a very different kind of year. And something Chris, you and I have talked about quite a bit is that, you know, we use our data to make those predictions and those forecasts and right now the data is jacked up, because nothing has been normal, nothing has been repetitive or consistent. And that’s one of the challenges moving into next year. So I know that that’s why people are asking this question, even more than they were asking it at this time last year, because people just want to know, what can I expect? What can I rely on? And the answer is, nobody really knows anyone who’s telling you they know what’s going to happen in 2021, even if it’s like an industry trend is wrong, because there is no way right now, because the way the business is done at the moment has changed so rapidly, just in the past eight months, the business models that, you know, people started with have had to switch and change and adapt and evolve. So nothing is the same as it was. And you know, even for us, we had specific business goals going into 2020, those have all changed, we have had to also adapt our services, we’ve had to adapt the way that we do business now. You know, the basic nuts and bolts, we were always were a tool that never changed. But the things that our customers need have changed quite a bit. And sometimes just on the fly mid conversation, someone’s getting new information. And we have to be ready to pivot. So, you know, when I’m asked the question, What are my 2021 predictions, I think it’s less about those tangible it’s going to be this, it’s going to be that and more about actions of people are going to continue to need to be agile there are, should be spending their time now, you know, writing down all of their processes and their governance. So they have that ready, so that they can alter it and evolve it. What do you think, Chris?

Christopher Penn 4:04
I completely agree with you. Um, in the past, marketers had the luxury I think of being able to ignore kind of the big picture. And you can’t do that in in these uncertain times. So we have to start with the big picture we do, here’s what we are reasonably sure of. We are reasonably sure of that. By mid 2021, one or more vaccine candidates will be available and that will start being rolled out. We can be reasonably certain by the end of 2021, you know, some stuff we’ll get back to quote normal. Until then not the case. The bigger problem, I think is we still do not have a grasp on the amount of business and economic damage that has occurred. It’s kind of like a hurricane comes through bad things happen. Everyone’s hunkered down appropriately. And then the hard part is always after the hurt. Can’t like you got to do all the cleanup, the flooding, the reconstruction stuff that takes a really long time. And we are still in the middle of this disaster. And we’re not out of it, and we won’t be able to come out of the bunker and, you know, look around. So Oh, look, this is all flooded for quite some time. And so for the next year, I think you’re absolutely right, there is no telling what’s going to happen, except that we know it’s not going to necessarily be great. It will still be, you know, businesses will all still be operating under constrained conditions. And the biggest thing that a company can do, I think, is implement your advice very specifically, and that is have your analytics infrastructure in really good order, and be looking at the data very, very frequently. because things change all the time, you know, it is November 16, as we’re recording this, and for a large part of the United States, you know, we’re kind of having to revert back to like March, April, business conditions and lock downs, because the pandemic has gotten so bad, so fast. And if you were trying to forecast out, like, oh, what’s the holiday season gonna be like? Well, yet, you don’t know. Because there’s now this massive wrench like you might not leave your house for the holidays.

Katie Robbert 6:14
And so even large brands have sort of adapted have started adapting. So, you know, Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving is usually a very large shopping. But in order to keep people from lining up at the door, a lot of these larger brands like Target, WalMart, so on and so forth, have said it’s Black Friday, all month, don’t please don’t all show up on Friday. And so like things that we kind of take for granted that have been routine for years, have all changed.

Christopher Penn 6:44
Exactly. So are our advice to the extent that we can give advice for an unknown year is have your finger on the pulse of your data so that when something changes and change will happen very quickly. You’re not caught unaware, in terms of other forecasts and predictions, and the other, the only things that you can count on to the things that don’t change. And we said this, back in March and April, when when things really started first changing, which was what’s not going to change, people still need to eat food, people still need a place to live, people still need to find work. Businesses still need to sell stuff. And so figuring out how are people continuing to adapt and implement and stuff? Yes, we’ve all had, you know, those wonderful zoom calls with various holidays, and things. And you know that that has definitely gotten old, but the alternative is worse. But we have started to see some interesting innovations. There’s interesting innovations in the conference space, you know, different companies have tried different virtual events to varying degrees of success. We have seen substantial growth in media creation. Everybody in their cousin, the last two years has started a podcast, right? Everybody, their cousin has a YouTube channel of some kind people have been, you know, doing all sorts of stuff on Tiktok and things and it’s for businesses, it really is figuring out where the audience is. The one thing I see as a total Miss for businesses the last year that they desperately need is you need a curated private community, you know, if, for example, ours, if you go over to Trust insights.ai slash analytics for marketers, that’s our private slack community. And, okay, do you want to talk just briefly about just how valuable that community is not only for the people in it, but also for us as a business.

Katie Robbert 8:32
So for us as a business, you know, it’s an opportunity to have our audience, a captive audience, you know, with the right people who are interested in the things that we’re interested in. And so it’s an opportunity for us to, you know, do some market research, what are you interested in run a run a short poll, but also just to sort of sit back and listen, to see the types of conversations that people are having with each other, and helping them you know, helping one another solve their problems and seeing this is the type of issue that is most common, this is how people usually approach because what we want to do is make sure that we are meeting people where they are, versus asking them to come up to where we think they should be. And so the other benefit, obviously, is a dedicated space for, you know, professionals who are interested in these things so that they can network, they can share what they’re working on. They can see new job opportunities, all of the things that go along with being part of that type of community. It strikes me the reason. One of the reasons why I really try to focus on like your sort of what you can control is when I was working in pharmaceuticals, more regulatory field, we would go through disaster planning exercises, and I don’t think that that’s an extremely thing to be thinking about at this time. Now, disaster recovery disaster planning usually starts with things like it. But if you’re in the mahr tech space, then you have a foot in the door. And it reminds me of a more extreme example that we were going through of what if there’s a natural disaster? And what if we don’t have power for the next three weeks? What do we do with the company and we really started to think about the priorities of the company. And so, you know, the first thing we need to do is make sure that we can communicate with the employees what’s happening. So how do we do that? Do we, you know, find landlines? Do we get walkie talkies? And obviously, these are more extreme examples. But that it was like, okay, people probably want to get paid. So we need to make sure that accounting has a piece of paper and a pencil and a stack of checks that they can literally write out to people. And so while I don’t think that marketers need to go through that extreme planning, they should definitely think about, like, what happens if my analytics, you know, shut off for three days, or, you know, I can’t reach my audience, or Facebook changes their algorithm again, or becomes a completely, you know, paid platform or those kinds of things. And I think, instead of focusing on what are the trends and hot topics going to be, personally, I would focus my time more inward more internally in the company to see what do I currently have going on? What makes the most sense for my customers and my company, and my goals, versus what everybody else says is going to be important next year, because, again, it’s sort of a, like, I’m gonna stick my finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing and make a guess.

Christopher Penn 11:51
Yeah. And the focus on the things that you do know that haven’t happened yet. So real simple example of this, the California population voted a new law into effect cpra, that will take effect January 120 23. It supersedes ccpa. And one of the big changes for marketers is that instead of the previous law said companies above a certain size and in certain parameters can’t sell data over a certain amount to other companies, it’s not allowed. The new law says you can’t share. Right, so for everyone who’s used to buying and swapping lists and doing all these different kinds of things, it’s pretty big deal. Now you have three, two and a half years to to get ready for it. And as we know, with ccpa, and GDPR, people won’t they’ll wait till the last minute. And and it will have to go be messy. So if you have things in your calendar that you know are going to happen, year out two years out three years out, now is the time to plan for while things are in transition and chaos, it’s actually a really good opportunity to put new things into the mix. Because people as a try, just adapt to how things are working, we’ll just take these new changes in stride, because everything is changing. One of our big, big, big pieces of advice and again, this is one of those things that is a trend and you should be doing is you’ve got to own the right to contact your audience. And that means things like newsletters, because you don’t own your Facebook page, you don’t own your LinkedIn channel, you own none of these things you do own your email list. As long as you keep paying your bills, he will be able to send email to people make a priority for the next year to extract as many people from all these platforms you don’t own into a platform that you do own into, into your blog, into your website, into your your podcast, into your email newsletter, because you will at a certain point for sure, stop getting third party data, right? Cookies are already out of Safari and Firefox. Google has said as of 2022, that are going to support third party cookies and Chrome. So if you are relying on ad networks, and DSPs and dmps, to try and give you additional insights and your customers that you don’t have to ask them for, that’s getting harder and harder. The solution is create content that your customers actually want and that they value and exchange it. Think of think of customer data, like something that’s for sale. You can’t just take it from somebody, you have to trade with them if exchange with them. I want your data in exchange for this valuable thing. And right now, I don’t think hardly any markers have anything that I would say yeah, I want to buy that. Like, even if was just $1 could we could you convince a customer to buy your newsletter for $1? Oh, by a blog post for dollar, I would guarantee that 99% of marketers. Yeah. Like customers like, No, no, you pay us to read your craft.

Katie Robbert 14:50
Well, and I think that there goes that goes back to your point about you know, building those communities. And so that’s one of the benefits on both sides is you can literally say to your community What do you want me to write about? What do you want to know more about? And they will tell you, because people in these communities are not shy, they love having a voice, because they get to be heard. And then you can say, okay, cool, I now have my punch list for the next two or three blog posts. And then you share that back with them. And it’s this reciprocal cycle of, I’m telling you what I want, and that I’m getting what I want. And then I continue to tell you what I want, and I continue to get what I want. And it’s that sort of feeds that machine of giving your audience content they want to read. You know, you were talking about these third party cookies. But Chris, also, can you talk a little bit about ad blockers, being able to even show the ads?

Christopher Penn 15:44
Yep, yep. So ad blockers for if you’re not looking in your your data, you probably don’t know just how much data you’re missing a number of ad blocking services block even basic tracking mechanisms. For example, there’s one called ghostery, that can impair some installations of Google Analytics, right. So you have a certain percentage of visitors who you can’t track because it’s the data simply is not there. And so ad blockers, and, and AD, anti ad tech technology, are a growing concern, I forget what the stat was, but something like 30% of visitors on the web use some form of ad blocker. And now, in the new version of Mac OS ad blocking is built into the Safari browser, it’s it’s no longer you know, you don’t have to have an add on. There are, there are things I believe in Microsoft Edge that do similar. So you’re seeing the browser technologies themselves become more hostile to advertisers, which again, underscores the need for you to get the first party data from your customers by asking them for it and giving them something valuable in exchange for it. Because if a customer tells you, Hey, I’m the VP of Marketing at this company, like that’s, to me is a lot more valuable than trying to get it from some third party database based on you know, their, their what’s on their LinkedIn profile. know, somebody says, This is who I am, this is what I do. And this is how I like you to communicate with me. That seems like a win.

Katie Robbert 17:06
Mm hmm. Absolutely. Because you have asked them, you’ve asked their permission, they’ve willingly given you this information, versus you finding out this information from a third party. And they’re like, Hey, I don’t remember signing up for this thing, I don’t want this. And so you are not only giving them what they want, but you’re giving them information in the way that they have asked for and given permission for. And that’s a big deal in building that customer relationship as well. And those are the things that you have control over is your relationship, one on one or with a community. And so, you know, when we’re talking about trends for next year, it’s that personal connection, it’s that community, it’s that personalized content. And it’s not to say every single individual person gets their own individual piece of content. But you can start to make sort of those segments within your own communities that you’re building to say, majority of my community is, you know, VP of Marketing. What does the VP of Marketing want? Well, ask the VP of Marketing, hey, if you’re a VP of Marketing, what kind of content are you interested in? Or what kinds of problems are you facing? So then you can deliver that content in the community, you can post it on social to try to bring more people in. And then you also have that email newsletter, and the newsletter is something that is completely within your control. Maybe you send one out every day, maybe you send one out once a week, maybe once a month, it’s something that you have control over and again, ask the community, if I was to send you a newsletter, how often would you want to receive it? You know, what kinds of information should be in there? Do you want curated content, you want original content, you want a mix of both? You really have that flexibility? Because these are all things within your control. And so, you know, if someone asked me, What are your 2021 trends, I’d say it’s things you can control, things that you have ownership of.

Christopher Penn 19:06
I completely agree. I would say to add on to that. 2021 is the year that you probably should implement the best practices that you’ve been told the last 10 years. It’s always funny to listen to all the people talking about trends, like oh, this is you know, this is the trend Yeah, but you’re not going to do anything about it. So it’s like reading a Fitness magazine instead of working out like no, no, you actually need to go work out in order to see any benefit whatsoever. But so recap is better than nothing works back as Moses except water. So for those who have asked, hey, Trust Insights, Hey, folks, what are your 2021 treads number one, your analytics infrastructure has to be an order because you will need it to make decisions based on data in a rapidly changing environment. Number two, change is going to be rapid and extremely unexpected. You don’t know what’s going to happen for the most part beyond the things that won’t change number Three, make sure you have a private community, a curated community that is essentially an unpaid focus group that you provide value for. Number four, make sure that you are providing value in exchange for customer data, cuz you’ve got to own your first party data, you’ve got to bring all that data in and get customers to give it to you. Because you cannot rely on third parties to give it to you, it will, that is just going away so rapidly. And number five, do the things do all the best practices that you’ve been told to do for the last 10 years right in business and everything else people have been saying for ever pay. If you want to get more fit, eat less and exercise more, eat less bad stuff anyway, if you want to get wealthy buy low and sell high, right? Because these are not arcane concepts that are difficult to grasp. These are just the hard work that we all have to put in. Do it. Any other trends, I forgot Katie.

Katie Robbert 20:54
I mean, I think that’s it, you got to do the hard work, you got to take the time and do your own planning and look inward. And all of those things will start to fall into place.

Christopher Penn 21:05
And the golden trend of all provide value to people. I provide value to people so that they have a reason to want to do business with you. There’s there’s just so much marketing out there that is that is taking trying to take before they give and it never works out for anyone. So if you’ve got a trend that you think we need to talk about that that or you want our opinion on, by all means please join our slack community over TrustInsights.ai dot AI slash analytics, remarketing, artisan, we’ll speak up say, Hey, what do you think of this trend, we’re happy to have this conversations anytime of the day that we’re awake. And if you have not already subscribed to this episode of the show, or the show, wherever it is, you’re watching to go to Trust insights.ai slash ti podcast where you can subscribe to this and catch all the back episodes. And finally, if you miss chip, be sure to stop by our YouTube channel over TrustInsights.ai to AI slash YouTube and every Thursday at 1pm eastern time we do a live shows and if you’ve got a question about you know trends and things like that stop on by any Thursday and ask those questions during the q&a section as well as enjoying the rest of the show. Thanks for watching and we’ll talk to you soon take care want help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. This is Trust insights.ai today and let us know how we can help you


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