A toast to 2021!
After the year we’ve had, predicting what 2021 has in store for us should be a breeze – no? Perhaps Elvis might indeed be returned to us by the aliens who snatched him; our very own Scott Logie could have next year’s Christmas number one despite never having recorded a second of music in his life and, Prime Minister Katie Price will lift new Covid-20 restrictions in time for us all to have a socially distanced Christmas next year. No matter what this year brings – we have at least got a few things right so far.
Predictions that have actually come true:
- Data quality actually was driven faster by the pandemic as more businesses realised that to build longer lasting on-line relationships you need the best data available.
- We had a big increase on basic data cleaning and then enhancement work from the summer onwards.
- And we also saw a significant increase in the use of data to plug the gaps of knowledge that were also lost through not having customers in-store or branch. Or meeting those at events, on the streets or in railway stations.
- Finally more and more interest in on-line and automated solutions for both data cleaning and data appending and I see that trend continuing into next year.
Another trend from 2020 – “old” channels got fashionable again. Direct Mail had a resurgence for example. In their Mail Matters More Guide Royal Mail Market Reach showed that with people working from home mail responses increased with engagement higher than ever at 96%. And it wasn’t just in older groups as well, the biggest rise was from the 18 to 34 year-old age groups. A massive 88% of people paid the same or more attention to mail during lockdown. With many of us now working more from home as we go into next year and beyond, mail will continue to play an important role.
Maybe even more importantly, we saw direct mail response rates increase and were part of the teams who delivered fantastic campaigns across charity, retail and financial services. We leave the year with many clients who had some moments of terror in March but who ended up delivering above and beyond their revised targets.
What else do we see happening in 2021?
Maybe we’ll end up moving towards a more human form of engagement next year. As we become used to teams, zoom and the rest there is a definite craving to talk to a human. While the new ways of working have definitely improved our lives it also leaves a void at times and shows that people can’t be wholly replaced by machines. Clearly automation is important when it comes to efficiency and such like but a balance is required.
Having said that, another trend from this year that I would see increasing into next year is the desire for convenience. Amazon maybe set the bar a while ago for next day, or next hour, deliveries, but convenience has now become the norm.
Our insatiable desire for instant gratification is now being met more often than not. So, what does that mean for service in 2021. Or indeed for any new entrants, or even the behemoths themselves. Could this erosion of a differentiator mean we don’t end up using Amazon as often?
Many people believe that we might begin moving towards a new way of working together to achieve our goals, prioritising the good of community as a whole, increased social awareness and a softer, dare I say, more feminine ideology. We can only hope!