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What’s hot in marketing now

Culture, consumer habits and social movements are rapidly changing the media landscape. Here’s what to keep your eye on as we head into the final few months of 2021.

what's trending in marketing now

We are always keeping a pulse on what’s now and next, and brands have already started to make their annual plans for 2022. In the spirit of planning ahead, we’ve hand-selected four topics that should be on the top of your list. It should come as no surprise that micro influencers continue to dominate and Gen Z should be a priority. Tailor your marketing to be conscious-forward and test new ways of reaching the consumer, like livestreams.

Is Gen Z ignoring your marketing? 

Gen Z now represents 40% of all global consumers. Since they aren’t bound by brand loyalty and are quick to dismiss traditional marketing practices, it is likely time to change your approach.

  • Upgrade your influencer strategy – micro influencers may be your best bet (more on this later).
  • Lean into purpose-driven campaigns.
  • Go the extra mile (think surprise & delights or TikTok trends)

Gen Z consumers require a nimble approach to marketing so commit for the long haul when it comes to understanding their unique motivations and preferences.

Nano + micro influencers continue to dominate. 

Smaller-scale influencers have been on the rise for years, proving their ability to generate ROI due to their niche and deeply loyal followings. Recent reports show there’s no sign of slowing down, with micro and nano influencers seeing increases in engagement that are outperforming 2020 metrics.

nano, micro, macro and mega influencer engagement rates
*Average engagement rate by influencer size

Despite their growing relevance, a number of brands have been slow to engage smaller-scale creators. If you haven’t evaluated micro or nano influencers yet, now is the time. As if you need more proof for your boss to start an influencer program, check out this real-world case study.

Livestream e-commerce is the next big thing.

Livestream e-commerce has been booming in China, and U.S. brands are taking note. Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube are jumping on board, introducing new platforms and tools to enable product sales during video streaming.

But livestreaming offers the added benefit of real-time interaction, allowing users to ask questions and get answers on the spot. The way users interact with social media is changing, and e-commerce brands should be ready to meet the demand for in-app shopping. If this feels similar to QVC, it is. Today’s consumers, like QVC viewers, appreciate the ability to see products in detail.

COVID-19 made consumers more conscious. 

Research suggests that the pandemic intensified interest in “conscious consumption” – the practice of seriously considering the environmental and societal impacts of a purchase decision.

Chain Store Age

We predict 2022 will see a rise in sustainability-focused messaging and initiatives from brands across industries as Gen Z and millennials continue to prioritize shopping responsibly. Now is the time to audit and strategize your brand position.


We deliver all these insights and more to you via Trending, a free monthly report designed to help lift the burden of social listening and research to better inform future strategy and real-time decision-making. Subscribe for the report, delivered directly to your inbox at the start of each month. 

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Leah Eaton

As head of insights and analytics for Belle, Leah is on the pulse of strategies and creative solutions that move the needle for our clients. Leah is a PRNews Rising Star 30 & Under Class of 2020 and has been a featured expert source on social media and influencer marketing at the Mid-America Restaurant Expo, QSR Web and The Columbus Dispatch.