Top Tech Predictions for 2021
Some things in 2020 felt like the 100-meter dash: Fast. And, others felt like trudging through the water pit while running a 3000-meter steeplechase: A gritty endurance challenge.
Technology advancement and adoption ran both of these races with us. Simply put, if tech were a track-star, they’d compete in the decathlon, the ten-event Olympic competition that challenges even the greatest athletes. To be competitive in the decathlon you need explosive-sprinter-speed, extreme agility, marathon-distance-endurance, and strength. It’s a FEAT. And, it’s a feat that translates into non-athletic arenas.
If we’re honest, as consumers we often demand this type of “be all, do all” performance out of the technology we use every day — just ask your slightly exhausted smartphone. It’s a lot for technology to live up to, and it spurs constant innovation in this space. And, just like a sprinter, it’s hard to keep up – which is why we’re going to look at how technology has changed in the past year, and examine five tech trends that should influence your digital marketing in 2021.
Ready. Set. Go!
The pandemic changed the way we engaged and interacted with the world. Many day-to-day activities were funneled into online virtual spaces: grocery shopping, doctor appointments, school, and work. Businesses and individuals tackled changes that would have seemed “impossible” only weeks before, often making these monumental shifts almost overnight. As our world changed, so did the needs of our customers. According to Forrester, “The value of your company depends on how customer-obsessed, resilient, creative, and adaptive you are in jumping on the next growth curve in your industry. Much of your success will depend on how quickly and how well you harness technology to both enable your workforce in the new normal and build platforms that differentiate your firm.” According to McKinsey, technology adoption advanced three years faster than “normal” in 2020. Technology advancement and adoption are still at the forefront of businesses’ strategies, it’s just a little less frantic, and we’re less inclined to select bandaid-style solutions. We are no longer “waiting until COVID is over” because it’s clear, we aren’t returning to what we left in 2019 and early 2020, we’re emerging into a changed world.
What does this tech talk mean for marketing? Excellent question. At the heart of technology adoption in marketing during 2021 is evaluating the technology your team has, deciding if it’s still a good fit, and selecting best-in-class partners to support technology gaps for your sales and marketing team moving forward.
Hybrid Is Here to Stay
According to Forrester, remote work will rise 300% after the pandemic, with at least 21% of the U.S. information workers logging on primarily from home, compared with 7% in 2019. Of course, not all jobs fit the hybrid-model, but 47% of North American managers surveyed during the pandemic anticipate a permanently higher rate of full-time remote employees, and 53% of employees say they want to work from home more even post-pandemic. As hybrid communication and collaboration become a more normalized lifestyle, it will shift how sales and marketing teams communicate with researching renters and residents. Is your property or community prepared to field questions in multiple formats (in person, or virtually) and through multiple technology communication platforms? How can your sales and marketing team support customers in their research journey? Dive deeper into these kinds of questions by downloading our Multifamily, Self Storage or Senior Living Tech Stack Workbook, where you can identify technology needs in your own tech stack.
With more of our interactions permanently funneled online, cybersecurity is a top focus for companies (and consumers concerned about their personal data). As companies increasingly embrace the hybrid and fully-remote workforce, their cybersecurity needs to be restructured. Gone are the days of only worrying about phishing attempts. A quick Google search shows the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks like deepfakes and ransomware. It’s a great time to evaluate your property or community’s approach to cybersecurity and make necessary changes.
G5’s 5G Predictions
In 2020, when we consulted our Magic 8-Ball with some questions, we got answers ranging from “ask again later” to “it is certain” to “do not count on it,” which is basically the equivalent to the shrug emoji. As we all know, predictions are notoriously hard, particularly after a rollercoaster-ride-year like last year. But, we felt we had to make a prediction about this one — I mean it’s G5, but not quite.
The fifth generation of mobile internet, aka 5G, is going to change the game for what is possible in a mobile-first ecosystem. It will be more comparable to what most folks associate with the high-speed wireless internet you probably enjoy at the office or at the home office — but it will be everywhere.
This will lead to changes in the way applications and websites can be created by companies, and ultimately engaged with by mobile users. Faster data transmission, and increased bandwidth will nurture innovation. Having a truly mobile-first approach isn’t a one and done process, it means staying up-to-date with mobile-first best practices. While 5G isn’t everywhere yet, it’s coming, and will change the way we craft intuitive online experiences with researching renters and residents.
Tech Matters to Marketers
Marketing technology, or MarTech, is a quickly growing space. From email marketing to customer analytics dashboards, there are now over 8,000 MarTech partners to choose from — that’s 13.6% more than 2019. In 2011, there were just 150 MarTech partners on the scene. It can be overwhelming for a marketer to wade through these options to find the right partners. In more traditional and honestly, antiquated, digital advertising methods, marketers pore through all of the data to evaluate campaign performance and then manually update campaigns. They try to identify which campaign had the lowest cost-per-click, which campaign got the most clicks and calls, and for those who use last-touch attribution models, which touchpoint was considered a conversion. This method is problematic. It is prone to human error, omissions, and when you’re only evaluating your advertising on a monthly basis, you’re missing mid-month and even mid-week market changes. In a quickly changing market, like yours, technology can take out the guesswork and automate decisions to make data-driven campaign changes faster than any human can. It’s almost like passing the baton to a faster teammate, and then letting them run with it.
Of course, we can’t give you a Magic 8-Ball that lets your sales and marketing team know exactly what will happen in 2021, or MarTech-track-spikes that somehow let you run faster on the tech track than others.
But, we can give you the next best thing: a new report that breaks down some MarTech myths, and guides your sales and marketing team as you select technology partners to navigate our brave new world, and connect with decision-ready renters and residents. Learn more by downloading Part 3 of our G5 MarTech Series: Technology.