3 Canadian marketing trends we’re watching in 2021

Stacey McLeod / January 2021

Last year, marketers across Canada were forced to learn new ways to adapt and move quickly, Google Canada included. As we enter another unpredictable year, we’re reflecting on last year's marketing trends and anticipating how they may play out in 2021. We asked three leaders from Google Canada’s marketing team to share what's top-of-mind for the year ahead.

Shopping will be local and live streamed

Black and white headshot of contributor Elana Chan, Head of B2B Marketing, Google Canada

Last year, neighbourhood stores adapted to the sudden shift online by offering services like same-day and next-day delivery and curbside pickup, and winning customers by making products available even faster than e-commerce giants. This year, people will continue to shop local — but only if businesses continue to make it simple. A seamless shopping experience is table stakes.

The shift in where people are shopping has also been accompanied by a change in how they shop. Live-streaming shopping experiences, which have been popular in Asia for years now, are coming to North America in 2021. Live-streamed shopping allows people to buy and curate via mobile or on YouTube. Retailers can showcase their available products in a way similar to a shopping network on TV. This is a great way for brands to connect with their customers as we expect continued limitations on in-person shopping.

Inclusivity is not a trend — it’s imperative

Black and white headshot of contributor Alyssa Whited, Senior Product Marketing Manager, YouTube, Google Canada

This year is the time for marketers to accelerate their efforts around diversity and inclusion — we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. Inclusivity requires a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one. Companies and marketing teams must go beyond the structured DE&I training courses and KPIs to evolve their approach to inclusion, and build it into everyday practices and language. Marketers can bring this to life by prioritizing inclusive campaigns and creatives, doing audits of their existing work, hiring from a more diverse pipeline and discussing it openly at all levels of the company.

Inclusive marketing is not a trend — it’s what consumers expect now and in the future as they want to see themselves reflected in all areas of marketing, from how they are communicated to, to what appears in advertising campaigns. Research shows consumers are choosing brands that prioritize diversity. Those who do not approach DE&I as a long-term discussion could experience several risks including negative impact on sales or brand perception as consumer expectations of businesses’ social impact continue to grow.

People want new ways to engage at virtual events

Black and white headshot of contributor Andrew Rapsey, Product Marketing, Hardware & Services, Google Canada

Last year, the number of organizations planning a virtual event doubled, as many events were forced to shift to online. Virtual events hold a myriad of benefits to both businesses and consumers — they can reduce production costs resulting in higher ROI and increase accessibility for people who no longer have to factor in travel and packed schedules.

However, the levelling of the digital playing field has meant that consumers are oversaturated with virtual events and gatherings — there is fatigue. In 2021, marketers must ensure virtual events are driving value for their audience. Compelling content and speakers are a must-have to keep audiences engaged. Marketers should also seek out new formats like audio or augmented reality to break out, in addition to tactics that make events more interactive, with quizzes, surveys, contests and more.

Explore our collection of top insights from 2020 to lead you into 2021 for more insights around the year ahead.

Top insights from 2020 to lead you into 2021