A Top 25 Business & Marketing Podcast
2021 Marketing Trends - Mass Marketing is Dead

December 29, 2020

2021 Marketing Trends - Mass Marketing is Dead
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In this episode of the Radcast Ryan and Josh break down the most pressing marketing trends for brands in 2021. After a crazy 2020, the consumer landscape has changed forever. Consumers are not going back to pre-COVID ways and the brands that lean into this will win in 2020.

Key Trends:

1. Mass marketing is dead. The media landscape is splintered and consumers want highly relevant content that matches the channel they are in.

2.  Social Selling is ready to explode - Capability is meeting demand

3. The cookie is crumbling - the impact of a cookie-less digital environment and how brands must plan accordingly.

4. Consumers know you are marketing to them - treat them accordingly and you will wine.

Enjoyed this episode? Then share it on Instagram and tag us @the.rad.cast | Do you want to hear more from our host? - Give him a follow @ryanalford on Instagram. | The Radcast is a product of @radical_results | #theradcast


Ryan Alford [00:00:26] Hey guys, what's up? Ryan Alford here with the latest edition of the Radcast, joined by the Digital Media Manager here at Radical, Josh Hill. What's up, Josh? 

Josh Hill [00:00:36] What's going on? 

Ryan Alford [00:00:39]  Good to have you. 

Josh Hill [00:00:40] Good to be here. 

Ryan Alford [00:00:41] Our definitive. Are we calling it definitive? I think it is definitive. 

Josh Hill [00:00:46] Might as well. 

Ryan Alford [00:00:48]  I have been playing it up as "Our definitive". Maybe later on as we talk about trends and a million other things on the show; 

Josh Hill [00:00:55] It is tentatively definitive. 

Ryan Alford [00:00:57]  Tentatively definitive. We reserve the right to change our minds at any time. Trends and things and news in general change so quickly these days. I don't think there can be anything definitive. But here today, on December 21st, 2020, we have our marketing trends for 2021. Before we get into that, Josh, I think this is going to be primarily looking forward. I like to look forward I am not a rearview mirror guy. I think that it does do some just to talk a little bit about what's been a pretty strange year. I think everyone's counting down the moments to get through it. It's been weird, wacky, and crazy. How has the year been from a marketing perspective? We've battled Covid and are still battling it. But is there anything that is resonating with you as we look back? 

Josh Hill [00:02:04]  It is the general shift to digital life. As a digital marketing manager, I live online. It's my job to be online. A lot of my job is being digitally active. A higher portion of my learning and entertainment moved even further online. I had a lot of concert plans at the beginning of the year and some tickets that I had to get returned. But I attended a lot of live stream concerts. A lot of artists were doing bedroom stuff. A lot of people were doing green screen stuff. One of my favorite artists did a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, empty. That was very cool. A lot of people like if you're online, you could yell into your mic at the end of one song, and then you could vote on what colors to change the background. That was kind of fun. That was the biggest resonator for me. It was shifted to digital, more live stream stuff, more Facetime hangouts with friends, and stuff like that. 

Ryan Alford [00:03:33] I think,  and we have talked about this on other episodes, maybe even Ad Gad and a few other segments that we do. They say that the transition to e-commerce and digital channels sped up by the rate of what they anticipated to be seven years’ worth of transition, which happened in roughly ten months. 

Josh Hill [00:04:00] Yes, I think most of the tools that people are using for e-commerce and new online stuff are not new by any means. Instacards have been around, and these drive-in grocery places have been around. Curbside pickups have been around. But the way we use them has changed. And so more people realized, "oh, it is a lot easier to just online shop for groceries" and then go pick it up or it is a lot easier to get delivery or all these things I was buying in person, e-commerce is way easier. 

Ryan Alford [00:04:31] I think people start to adapt things when they're ready and try things on their own time. Suddenly it became a necessity to try these things because if you were going to do that or get these experiences and/or products, the only way was digital. No matter what state you live in, South Carolina, being a little more conservative and thus opening up more quickly as we did here, but universally, you had a three-month-ish period where everything was shut down. And if you wanted anything, you needed to be online. And then in most places, probably with the most population, those things have stayed through. So it's been forced to try. And then once they've tried, I think what you're going to see which will get into 2021, is that Genie not going back in the bottle. And this is more convenient. Oh, I can do all of these things. Amazon's been around forever, but still, the numbers are crazy. We live and breathe in the digital world. Amazon's been around for a while and social channels have been around and depending on, but only 8 to 12 percent of all sales we did were online. It blew my mind when I read that stat, before covid. So as far and long as we had come there was still the bandwidth, the headroom was still so vast. Even now there was an anticipation of a couple of points a year, but we think we've gone to like we're in the 20s now. 

Josh Hill [00:06:23] I think I will pull back to my business degree, the product lifecycle, a lot of people when they talk about trends, they're talking about the trendsetters, the early adopters, and stuff. It takes years for that big hump for most people to jump onto it. So, these could have been trends maybe from five years ago. But it's just now come to fruition, these new e-commerce things, these new delivery platforms like UberEats, GrubHub, that stuff got very popular. We're just getting to that point, it's becoming widely accepted by people. It takes a long time. If you look at the streaming versus cable people who are on Dish and traditional cable TV,  this last year or the year before, that was the first time that streaming users overtook the traditional cable. But these things take time, it took a whole pandemic and forced people to stay inside to get on this. 

Ryan Alford [00:07:36] And so if you're a conspiracy theorist, Jeff Bezos caused the pandemic. Has anyone's net worth increased more than Jeff Bezos? I don't think so. He was already aware of that. 

Josh Hill [00:07:53] Have you seen that video clip? He's got robot arms now. Looks like Doc-OK, from Spider-Man. So it's game over at this point. 

Ryan Alford [00:08:00] Before anyone quotes me, I'm joking. I have no ill will towards Jeff Bezos and I don't think he started the pandemic, but he certainly benefited from it from a financial standpoint. Once you get into the billions that if you get 30 billion versus a hundred billion. I'm sure he thinks there's a difference. 

Josh Hill [00:08:23] I remember my first billion. 

Ryan Alford [00:08:24] I have lost track of mine. I must have spent it too quickly. Before we jump into 2021, again- Manage ads for all of our clients with our team and see into the channels and the formats. We just talked about digital as a whole and the transformation that's just the gasoline on the fire that's happened. But anything by way of observing and looking back at the year and going this changed or this stands out? 

Josh Hill [00:09:05] So, one of the biggest hurdles any time is when you're messaging people, which is usually a very effective way to go about it, is building that FOMO- the fear of missing out. And one of the easiest ways to do that in the past was to show your restaurant with a ton of people there or your store with lots of people there or people using your product or service, testimonials, and stuff and showing that within the lifestyle. Now in the last year, you're going towards people in a digital lifestyle. How do you jump over that hurdle? How do you make people realize that other people are involved where they want to join in? That was a big hump to get around. It took a lot more of building social engagement, collecting those views, and collecting those likes and comments on posts. So people were creating a community online. And the big change was, I saw very successful brands did this and then we did this with a few of our clients. Trying to make posts and videos, native posts or ads be a place where people can comment, get feedback, engage and create a conversation between the brand and the people. We did even silly stuff. Like we said, “tell us your favorite menu item at this restaurant and we'll tell you what band or movie you would like the most”. Weird stuff like that. And it's just a way to- People were, especially during the height of quarantine, people were bored at home, just looking to engage with someone else, 

Ryan Alford [00:11:11] So that creating that feedback loop radius is what I'm simmering down and driving engagement, but having more of that real-time discussion. 

Josh Hill [00:11:22] Also, leading into it is a content approach, but leading into your videos and then leading into live streams was a big thing. Like opening the doors up a little bit and being honest was very effective. I just feel like, "Hey, look, you get online" and you just talk to your people. You don't even have to talk about your business. You're not doing a sales pitch. You might just show them how something works. If you're at a restaurant, you might show them how to cook a meal. I saw a lot of places in town that were doing take-n-bake meals. There's a local pizza shop-“ get your dough, sauce, and cheese, make it yourself”,  it helps you feel involved. And also it's a great way to show behind the curtains and show, "we make this fresh and this is what goes into it". So I think that helps in the future. 

Ryan Alford [00:12:15] The irony of everything that's happened is, by taking people out of the businesses, like not going live as brick and mortar, not having those in-person experiences. Consumers can use the one the brands have done well to get closer to the business. It sounds reversed. But in a way, the brands that have done well and thrived have opened the curtain more to- What's going on? What's happening?  It is the transparency in, doing it yourself or seeing what's happening. And so they needed an opportunity for content combined with the reality of brands wanting consumers to engage with them,  and so required a little bit more of that transparency. And so I think that's contrary to what you might expect. Not to be cliche with some of the country music songs we listen to "we've been closer by being apart”. But in some ways, the brands that have done well probably have gotten closer to their communities by being distanced. 

Josh Hill [00:13:30] I think that's going to continue. I don't think everyone's going to jump on it. And I think only the people who do it and do it well and do it right will be very successful with that. 

Ryan Alford [00:13:46] I agree. Well, let's transition to 2021, shall we? 

Josh Hill [00:13:51] Let’s go to the future. 

Ryan Alford [00:13:54] Go to the future. So Josh let's transition to 2021. Not that we're going to start in order but I will say this, these are 2021 marketing trends. We want to take this, it's seventy thousand feet a little bit. We'll drill down some things. We're doing some drilling down with Ad Gab in those things. I think we're talking holistically here from a broad marketing standpoint, branding standpoint, and content standpoint. We'll get specific with certain things. But this is really about some overarching trends that we see going across the marketing landscape. So tee it up there. And again, not to put any of these in any sort of order of definitiveness or necessarily important, but where would it start for you, Josh, is maybe, a key number one. 

Josh Hill [00:15:00] A key number one? Wow!  We are jumping right into it. This has been a running theme over multiple podcasts. I hear in a lot of the episodes you will say, people, are still not utilizing digital channels as they should be. And I think it's time to do mostly digital ads and it's time to do more cohesive content behind those. I see a lot where they have their social channel look one way and then their ads look another way. They need to feed together along with their website. And I think messaging should be I see a lot of desperate messaging across where there's no central theme to businesses. Broadly speaking, with everyone moving online, there's going to be not just, oh, you're in town so you're a brick and mortar like a B2B company. Fewer people are seeing your visual story or your in-person stuff. You're moving online to the World Wide Web where there are a million other places, of the same size, you can do the same thing you do and you're trying to be this, that, and the other. And you're blandly saying, “Hey, we're available and we do this”. That's not going to cut it. You're just going to get lost in the noise. You're going to get lost in the sauce. 

Ryan Alford [00:16:46] I love that because it's so interesting hearing you say that and thinking about what I hear out of my business people, like things that I read- e-commerce is no longer a differentiator and I think a lot of businesses are still in the mindset of, “But we're going to have our stuff online now”.  They want acceptance that, that’s a differentiator. 

Josh Hill [00:17:16] We are seeing that in every industry. 

Ryan Alford [00:17:18] It’s like, “Really, you are? You are going to sell a lot more” really differentiated, you can sell online. ok,”. I can be selling T-shirts in five minutes on Shopify.  I would drill down on that to an online Omnichannel. So forever we thought of Omnichannel as the integration of offline and online. I think what we're seeing here is that in 2021, there's going to be an expectation for consumers and a need for brands to be omnichannel in their online approaches. What I mean by that is exactly what you just said, synergy across those platforms. For example, one of the key trends we talked about so I will be working up is social selling. But again, your social experience, your online experience, your chat experience, your products, your services, your communications across all digital, being integrated and having a cohesive experience for the customer. What happens now in a lot of instances, yes, it's still disconnected offline and online. But in this world where the digital genie isn't going back in the bottle and consumers are shopping you across these channels and experiencing your brand, if you don't have a digital integrated approach, you're going to be left behind. And you're already behind. Budgets have already started to head this way with digital ads and stuff, which is where you went with this beginning. But the brands that get it together for having the right hand talking to the left across all of these channels, it's both internally and externally, Because a lot of what happens is disconnected. And I have seen this because having worked with the brands we work with now and brands I've worked within the past, the disconnection of all of these parts is so apparent. Even five years ago working with a brand I won't even name, how just disparate these parts are-“Well, that's what the online team”, and this is the brand team saying that's the online team. We're talking about the digital team. How is this even the same company? 

Josh Hill [00:20:09]  We work for the same company. 

Ryan Alford [00:20:10] “We are selling the same thing, what's the goal here? We are trying to sell more of these. Well we are trying to get more service contracts. Ok that's the goal”. This is how they talk to each other.  I think with Covid exponentially increasing the online channels, the expectation for those things to really live brazenly and act together is going to be very important. And I'm going to say it now. Linear TV is D-E-A-D, dead. It is dead. Dead as a doornail.  And I am just going to say it now and if somebody is listening to me. And I still have a lot of media planner friends in New York, that buy a lot of TV ads. And I get it, but it's DEAD!. If you have more than 10 per cent of your budget in linear TV, it's in the wrong place. That is your exclamation point, friend there.  And that should be a trend on its own. But I've been saying this because here's the deal, and I will say this-.  We were talking about what's changed. Even 18 months ago, I wouldn't have said that. But people now, even when they're home unless you're like 60 plus, linear TV is not being watched. I used to watch it 18 months ago, I was watching the news on linear TV. I'm 43 years old and I own a digital agency, but I don't do it anymore. And I don't know exactly what changed. And I still have cable TV at home that I only watch sports on. That's the only time I watch linear TV and I don't know what's changed, but something in my habits has changed and the need for people to realize that everything has changed. I even hesitate sometimes putting the word digital in front of it because it's just we are marketing and eyeballs are today. 

Josh Hill [00:22:01] I think that brings an extended trend of the advertising approach, with that being dead, you need to stop thinking of ads as commercials. You are going to digital channels with different placements and different looks. Stop making a 30-second TV commercial and try to work on Instagram. That's not going to be the same. 

Ryan Alford [00:22:25] That's exactly right. 

Josh Hill [00:38:24] When you are making these things, you will be making a lot more formats and many different placements. But you're going to have the same key brand messaging of like you want to find that key pillar, maybe a couple of supportive things, but it's all going to work across all your channels. You have to differentiate yourself online, otherwise, you're going nowhere. You can try to be all things to all the people and like, “oh, we do everything we do at all”. I think it's way more effective when you're honest. We say “we do this, but we're not for this. If you're looking for this, we are probably not your best bet”. And I've seen a lot of new companies do that very well. Unless you've got that Coca-Cola ad spends, those massive budgets and you can spend a few hundred thousand dollars a month, you need to focus on what you can do. 

Ryan Alford [00:23:25] I love it! I am just going to Tee up number two. I put you on the spot for number 1. That was a broad one for us for sure. Number two for me might be, What I think is  2021 to me is going to be the year of social selling. I have talked about this in previous episodes a bit. We've reached this plateau of demand with capability across the channels and the ability to do what we just talked about with number one, which was to integrate the experiences because it was so clunky before on Instagram or Facebook. 17 clicks later and I haven't bought anything yet, combined with how the interactivity within the content itself. You finally got the platforms figuring it out. You've got the Shopify integration with TikTok. The TikTok app platform is going to continue to evolve quickly. It's a matter of time before you're going to see direct buying within the platform. They're already linked with Shopify, so there's some integration already there. But I think you're going to see this and I'll even loop into this. It's a very large category, but even the influencer marketing within social and the ability to buy and purchase within that whole loop. All of these things are coming to a head here in 2021. So I see social selling, if it's anywhere from 8 to 15 percent of your overall e-com, I see it double, tripling easily being potentially 30 percent or more of the overall online buying pie for brands that do this well and leverage the platforms correctly. 

Josh Hill [00:25:17] I see this a lot with the side hustlers. I see a lot of young college-age students doing this where they're running businesses exclusively online, exclusively on social media. They won't even have a website. It'll be just Instagram where they can do the taggable shopping. It seems a lot of people doing side hustlers are utilizing it even more quickly than big brands are. And it’s going well for them because they'll integrate with Etsy and other things. They'll never have an actual website, but they'll make a lot of money for it. I had some friends jump on that in college a few years ago, and went from paying just his rent to putting a down payment on a house just from doing a few hours a week and you will see massive e-commerce brands not even testing out anything. There's money to be made here.  With these new platforms, you have to get with the program, not be this slow-moving, wait till it picks up. If you want to be cutting edge, you have to do it. 

Ryan Alford [00:26:29] This is why the D2C brands are killing the major brands and just to ultimately get bought by the big brands. It is the nimbleness of leveraging these things fast enough. That's what it is. It's like a slow bus to China for those of us in the US. And if you're coming from China, China to the U.S., you probably need a boat, not even a bus. Nonetheless, we had James Gregson, who's with Lego, one of the creative directors, brilliant guy, he was at a union meeting for Lego, getting that bus rolling. How slow it can be? They try to be in advance of things. But it does stall innovation. Just the red tape that's involved the larger brands in integrating some of these things while the D2C companies and the quick-on young entrepreneurs are there on TikTok, doing videos and selling stuff on their e-com store within two days. It takes even the largest, best brands in the world, two months and it used to take two years, but now they're doing it two months. They've gotten better. But it's like some of these trends come and go faster than you can. But leveraging social selling, I do think that B2B has got to find a curve out their niche in this. I think you're going to see you've got to make it easier for businesses to do business with you online through e-commerce and leveraging the aspect of social selling in some way. I think the businesses that figure this out will win in 2021. 

Josh Hill [00:28:09] You've got to be able to transition from no trade shows. And also, the webinar is overplayed at this point. Having those social channels and doing the social selling creates this perfect hub of content for people to go to on their own time instead of trying to schedule a webinar that's just going to get a meeting scheduled over. 

Ryan Alford [00:28:32]  I agree. Social selling is big on the 2021 trends because the opportunity is finally meeting capability and demand. And so that's going to be a big one. Let's talk Josh, just for the sake of numbering; we'll call it number three. But I think it's as much a trend or an observation - Cookie-less. So starting in 2022, Google, some of the other platforms, and apps have already started to integrate this, but there's going to be no more cookie retargeting. So I'm going to ask you to give anyone that is listening, I won't even say digitally deprived, but they may not be in it every day. Maybe give everyone a broad understanding of how the cookie crumbles. It is crumbling. But the impact of this, and what it's doing today. How is the cookie used today and what the impact of that going away might be, and then we can both kind of chime in on what we see coming out of that. 

Josh Hill [00:29:46] Yeah, the cookie in its broadest form has minor updates and stuff, is close to 20 years old, technology-wise, and it has a shelf life. That's why they call it a cookie. It's a small little thing and it deteriorates. So like 30, 60, 90 days out, and it goes away. 

Ryan Alford [00:30:04] So It doesn’t taste as good. 

Josh Hill [00:30:05] It doesn't taste as good. They're going to get you a fresh cookie. I think the cookies are very effective, because whenever you go to a site and whenever you check out a product, check out a service, like watch a video, go anywhere online, do your "add to cart", start a checkout process. These cookies are collecting data and saving it to your browser, whether you're on your phone, your computer, or sometimes they're interconnected. Nowadays, you can even do it through connected TV platforms and video game platforms like Xbox, PS4, and Roku, like smart TVs. So this is all collecting data for several reasons. One, it's going to collect your behavioral stuff, like what you're interested in. Your ads and social ads are going to be more curated to match what you are interested in, just based on your browsing behavior. And keep in mind, what you're searching for is signaling that computers. So it might not be guessing exactly what you're into. This is very important for small brands who are trying to reconnect with people who started the checkout process but abandoned it at some point. This gives the cookie-gay people the ability to send them more ads later the retargeting ads and do follow-up emails and stuff. And a lot of marketers have started leading into their targeting and not their messaging to where it's just kind of an OK message of like, oh, we'll provide this service for you. It's highly targeted, so it's reaching the right people. Now that's going away. Now, you are bound to the social selling using the platforms you have, your content creation, but you're going to be a lot more limited on targeting. Like Apple, Facebook has put out a notification to all ads manager users where they said that Apple's already with their newest update will severely limit cookie use. And so a lot of iPhone users, which is a lot of people, you're not going to be able to retarget them nearly as well as you could. So that means like machine learning optimisation is out,  A.I. driven stuff is out. So you can't optimise for purchases. You need to optimise for a higher funnel, like optimising for clicks. It's not going to be useful to a lot of people unless you're an end manager, like ads platforms. But for those of you, it's time to reflect on; where your ads are going? It doesn't make sense contextually. You want to think of your consumer. You want to think about what your ad is saying. Is it in a different form? Is it standing out from the feed? I don't think we're still seeing how it's going to affect geographical targeting. I know Facebook's fighting that because if you take away geographical targeting, then only the massive national brands with the major budgets will be able to be seen. And your mom and pop stores with fifty dollars or a few hundred dollars ad spend are going to be shoved down the feed and they might be showing up three states over. 

Ryan Alford [00:33:31] For anyone listening, does this mean that you will be able to retarget? So if I'm a company and today you place a pixel on your website that again tracks the behaviour and all those things, will people be able to retarget people that come to your site? 

Josh Hill [00:33:52] Some will. It will depend on your website. It will depend on your browser and your platform. If you're on Google Chrome versus Safari, it's going to depend on how much Apple's allowing you to do versus how much Google is going to let you do. There is a lot of promise where there are a lot of natives, like the walled gardens, who have a lot of safety measures put in place for themselves of a Facebook embedded site. It's going to be able to retarget on Facebook and Instagram. Potentially a lot of the cross-channel targeting is going to be lost. But I think general web visits are going to be pretty targetable. You're probably gonna lose a lot of the finite capabilities on certain platforms. That's where it's up in the air where they say it's ending for some people. Some platforms are rolling out the end way sooner. Some are waiting till later. And they're kind of ambiguous on what's going to be allowed and not allowed. And there's already beta testing of new alternatives to the cookie. But it's up in the air where; is it something that's going to be effective, developed fast enough, or are we going to lose everything altogether for the sake of the internet and anonymity? 

Ryan Alford [00:35:18] Not being able to know who's where on the interweb. But here's the thing. I want to be careful what you ask consumers. So you want all this privacy and I get that. Nobody wants everyone's stuff out there. But the relevancy of ads it's going to get interesting in the next couple of years. There's not our place. What happens is innovations. Innovation seems to happen when these tech companies get their back against the wall. And so I think you're going to see some kind of replacement of this somehow would be my expectation. Too much money on the line. The scary part is, like you said, with big brands or small brands, big brands have data management platforms-DMP, other things, better mechanisms for gathering first-party data. So it's back to the joke earlier with Bezos and Amazon like the rich get richer, but the bigger brands are better positioned for the smaller brands that don't have these ad tech stacks are in a weaker position. My takeaway from all of this is encouragement. We tell every client that we have this collect first-party data. If we get people to your website, if we get people to your store, if we get people interacting with you, you've got to have a mechanism for collecting first-party data. Name, phone number, email, and I don't say that so that we can spam them, it's so that we can serve them up with relative content, have a relationship with them, do email marketing, do social marketing, all of those things in a relationship way. So this isn't about spamming, but if you've got a hand razor, you've got to be collecting first-party data so that you can remarket to them. It could be more important than ever because our custom audience lists are going to be very heavily reliant on having that first-party data. And I think for 2021, paying attention to a trend or take away, that's why we need to pay attention to cookies going away. And that's important for large brands or small brands, but even more so for small brands because they don't have some of the technologies in place that the big brands do. 

Josh Hill [00:37:44] I think it's more incentive to get online and have website-like options that appeal to the internet as opposed to just your city or your location. If you're a local person having your services be available nationwide would give you better opportunities to advertise easier and not have to rely on cookies too. The relationship part is a huge thing. I always like to think that with the internet and keeping the relationships and your messaging worthwhile and making it memorable, you have to treat it as being like your neighbourhood Mom-and-Pop hangout spot. If you go in there regularly enough, they're going to know your name, they're going to be able to call you. If they need something, they'll ask for your feedback. You're going to be a loyal customer to them and you're going to build that relationship over time. You want to approach digital in a similar way. If you want to collect their information, stay in touch with them, and get the feedback because they're your customer. They're going to teach you a different perspective of what they need for solutions, how they can improve your product, and stuff like you are a super fan. You want to leverage the people closest to you who are regularly interacting and have the experience. 

Ryan Alford [00:39:12] I love it. Finally, we're going to begin to trim this down before key trends. I think that's enough. We got a lot of in-depth here. Let's talk about content changes, trends, content development, how businesses should speak to their customers, the changes in the formats, and all of those things. But maybe our broad blanket trends and content changes for 2021. Where would you start? 

Josh Hill [00:39:45] I think starting would be looping back to what we touched on earlier is the clarity and the honesty. And when I say honest, you want to be truthful with your honesty and not just be sincere. There are a lot of brands this year with Covid, a lot of political movements, and a lot of social-political stuff. They were being very sincere about what they were saying and what they were putting on their social feeds, but they weren't necessarily being honest. Not every brand is a social justice warrior. There are plenty of brands, and many of them got exposed, trying to visually look diverse, like visually Stanford Adversity. If you look at Bon appetite, they had a huge YouTube channel, and tried to promote different cultures of food, all these things. And it turns out that for the video placements, only their white cooks were being paid for the video stuff. They all had salaries, but the white chefs were getting paid extra for their video appearances while everyone else was not. And they were trying to post about other current events and stuff. People see through the bs online. The internet brings a lot of transparency. I think if you're going to stand for something online, you need to fully do it throughout your whole company. And that's where I think it is okay to not stand for something. You don't have to come out and take a huge public stance on every single thing that goes on. That's not utilising your social channels well. It's not going to set you up for success because people are going to smell that out sooner or later and just kind of like messed up. Brands need to become more focused in their messaging and more self-aware and honest, like "we do this and this is what we're good at and we're for these people". If you can stick to that, you're golden. It prevents a lot of issues, and it prevents a lot of confusion and misleads, even in a practical sense of sales. 

Ryan Alford [00:42:21] The brand’s mass marketing is over. If there's one takeaway from maybe all of these things, it will be “mass is dead”. I think it's got to be personal. It's got to mean something; you've got to be relevant; you've got to be real; you've got to have it all tied together. When there are enough consumers, and there's enough scale that if you do that,  these days Amazon, who has all things for all people because they aggregate their curator, is a little different. But like as a brand or entity, you need to hone in on who your audience is and speak to them more clearly than how all things are for everyone. 

Josh Hill [00:43:14] Yes. I guess culturally speaking of GenZ and millennial thinking, we're what people are calling postmodernism. There are all these concepts of the new Dada movement. It's like new sincerity. It’s hyper honest like they're given up on society. I would recommend doing some Googling on the original Dada movement. The word is absurdism. Where nothing matters. To sum it up, society doesn't matter, like a separate brand entity that is not real. We're just people who are doing things. That's a great approach and messaging when you're on an ad. People know you're in an ad, you can be honest and say we're a company trying to sell you something, but we're a team of people who know about this thing, and we're here to help you, who needs help with this thing. We will do it at a fair exchange. We can help you, for this much money. I think people who are jumping into that well, like Ryan Reynolds, if you look at his ads, he will get in a video and say, "Hi, this is an ad I make Jen, buy this Jen, I would like you to try it" and it lands like anything. There are a lot of really funny commercials like that where it's super self-aware.  

Ryan Alford [00:45:00] You see, even ATT did that in the latest ad, which used to be called word of mouth advertising. You're using the commercial with the girl that's been their ads for the last few years. The ads are semi-okay, but I thought that the best part of it was the real self-realization of this TV commercial. 

Josh Hill [00:45:22] I think it makes things much easier if you think about it. It takes the pressure off. If I remember, starting to get into branding and stuff, and it was around 2008 to 2010 when everyone's like, “you don't need to sell you the brand, your graphic has to look perfect, your fonts have to be pristine”. And now it's like, “may I just make the website work? Give me the place to email or call someone and just tell me what your product does. I don't care what your site looks like”. There's just so much noise out there. If you're just simple and I always say this: “This is who we are. We're a bunch of people who know how to do this thing. We'll help you either get this product or do this”. People buy into that. People like to buy into other people. People support others. And we've seen that a lot this year of supporting small businesses, supporting groups of people who are just trying to do their business. And that's it. 

Ryan Alford [00:46:26] I am going to say this out loud, Riley; this is going to be our headline for anything mass.  As stated before, Linear TV is Dead. Mass Marketing is Dead. But I won't pick on just linear TV. I get it, you want to reach, and you want frequency. You can drive up the frequency, but it's perceived reach. I know there's nightly news, I can understand the ads on Nightly News and I can add ads on the Super Bowl. This makes sense because you get the reach. There's just no other reach that you could get like that. So I get it. But you're going to have trouble getting the frequency that you need because the Super Bowl is only once a year; a lot of these sporting events have gotten so splintered with attention and everything. So it's embracing, not being overwhelmed by all the channels, but finding your channels and getting rich in frequency. They're leveraging influencers and all these things and like leaning into the realities of now instead of being scared of them because it can be scary. It's like, “holy shit, there are thirty-seven channels that we could be marketing”. And I found it sometimes it's like, “oh God, I got YouTube, Facebook view. We've got TikTok". I'll be like, lean into where your customers are. And be real, open, and honest with them and build a community. If you want a long-term business, you have to build a community and provide a place where like-minded people can come together, share knowledge, and learn from you, and it will generate revenue in the long term. 

Josh Hill [00:48:12] Yes, I think we've said this in meetings before. We're marketing to people. I live on the analytic side, and I'm staring at numbers all day. But these are people viewing things and interacting. Your messaging needs to reflect that, and your whole approach needs to be human. 

Ryan Alford [00:48:30] B2H -- Business To Human. Humanity wins every time. But humanity at the highest level but then heavily sprinkled with relevancy and specificity around what you are selling, who is buying it, why they're buying it, why it's important to them, why like you mentioned before, like, hey, why is this. It's great you have an offer, but why do I care? How do we make that relevant to them? And I think that's got to go throughout your content in 2021. Mass Marketing is dead 

Josh Hill [00:49:11] Mass Marketing is Dead!. There is room for you. 

Ryan Alford [00:49:15] That's the thing, the boardroom gets scared hearing terms like that. Because they want more revenue, the pie can be big enough, and you can create sub-segments of your offering. 

Josh Hill [00:49:30] So we'll say this thing. Differentiation can be scary. Like you're seeing the monkey do or monkey see monkey do something different. But brands are doing it well, and there's room for you to be different. 

Ryan Alford [01:05:41] I love it. Cool. So there are your marketing trends for twenty, twenty-one. We hope that is helpful. We continue to drive what I think is one of the best marketing podcasts in the country and really appreciate your insights, Josh. 

Josh Hill [01:07:30] Always happy to give my insights. Any outsights now? 

Ryan Alford [01:07:41] Your insights are your out sights.  We hope everyone has a great 2021. Whether you are listening to these pre-holidays or post-holidays, keep listening along. You can follow us at all times at theradcast.com or on Instagram at the.rad.cast. And anywhere else you get your social content or your content in general, you can find the Radcast. And we'll see you next time.