'2020 is the year of consolidation and 2021 the year of expansion'

Guest Column: Deven Dharamdasani, CEO of SVG Media, outlines key industry trends to watch out for in 2021

e4m by Deven Dharamdasani
Updated: Dec 18, 2020 8:42 AM
Deven Dharamdasani

2020 will go down the annals of history as a year of unprecedented slowmo and one that differentiated the strong-willed from the weaklings. Businesses went for a toss, plans were put on the backburner, contingency plans didn’t seem to work, and apprehension reigned high. Yet, businesses that were agile, and kept an eye on the changing consumer behavior patterns and audience adoption preferences nailed the rail. 

Sustainability will be the mantra, profit the key thereafter. I consider 2020 as the year of consolidation and 2021 as the year of expansion. Certain businesses would be seen shifting gears within their existing business line-up and solely backing the business verticals that demonstrate growth. Audience insights will play a pivotal role in decision-making, with data science being a strategic decision pivot.  

Business with an interest in global markets should witness traction and growth in 2021 since digital has gotten the world together in an unprecedented manner. In India, ed-tech and gaming have been the strategic growth accelerators in 2020. The average time spent has hit an all-time high. Users are responding well to products with ease of cognitive load. Given the learnings from the pandemic, brands will be even more convinced about the merit of expansion. 2021 will see brands take a holistic view of spends – glocal will have a new meaning altogether. 

An inexplicable difficult situation sometimes ends up providing a silver lining. This is exactly what happened in the industry in 2020. Digital and mobility expanded. Gaming expanded exponentially. I feel the trend is here to stay. Games such as Ludo King and other casual games ensured a marked adoption of gamers from pure casino, rummy and poker games. The incredible increase in average time spent on games upped the brands’ appetite to connect with gamers and gamers’ appetite for engagement. It makes business sense to connect users to gaming inventory, and the RTB platforms will do precisely that. Brands can engage even greater with audiences through multiple engagement touchpoints within a playable ad. Over and above, platforms will need to act as a partner to achieve marketing goals for brands who utilise gamification for greater traction. 

Content business is bound to grow with content consumption booming across OTTs, gaming, education, entertainment et al. Every business thrives through communication and content plays a large role in helping brands and marketeers ring in loyalty and revenues in these times of minimal attention span and displaced loyalties. Real time bidding can tremendously help content marketeers garner greater ROI for their spends on digital. The platforms can help brands reach the right audience at the right time through the right platform. The intensive data mining will help them plan better the types, formats, channels and platforms; distribute content with greater effectiveness, communicate better and invest wisely. 2021 will see brands extend their content strategy to content execution capabilities in a format-agnostic, industry-agnostic environment to clients both in the domestic market as well as globally. 

People and work cultures may witness a tectonic shift. The focus will shift to performance vis-à-vis the current way of working. Technology will play a major role in aligning people and roles. Consumption of tools, techniques and digital assets that aid work efficacy will increase. Virtual interactions may increase, if not replace P2P interaction. While people will continue to drive goals for the organisation, technology will be the sacrosanct enabler. 

Yes, the world is about to change in 2021.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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