Whitepaper - 2021: Year in Review

Traction released a whitepaper for marketers titled “2021: Year in Review” that provides a recap and insights on key themes in 2021, and a look at implications and opportunities for marketers in 2022.

The whitepaper was authored by Babs Rangaiah as part of a partnership with Traction and Ascendant Network—a community of prominent and progressive marketing executives leading digital transformation and retail leaders innovating the customer experience. Rangaiah, a former Unilever and IBM executive, joined Traction earlier this year to lead a new digital transformation consulting practice.

If you are interested in a copy of the “2021: Year in Review” whitepaper, email us at [email protected] to get a copy link.

Executive Summary

The marketing world continued to see tremendous change in 2021 due to the pandemic, as well as other cultural forces related to technology, race, politics, environment, etc. 

The pandemic has upended the way consumers behave, and as such, has transformed the way brands connect with them. We saw unprecedented shifts in consumer behavior — from the way they consumed media, to the way they socialized, shopped and more. These behavioral changes in areas such as streaming viewership and e-commerce have conditioned consumers to expect more personalized experiences. However, this is becoming increasingly more challenging to implement, as cookies are going away, and privacy regulations are getting tougher.

Consumers are now also much more aware of brand behavior. It’s no longer just about what products a brand has, but how they make them and what their values are. Consumers showed that they will boycott a brand if they see them as unfriendly to the environment, or society at large.

The pandemic has also accelerated major shifts in the way we work. We’ve witnessed the “Great Resignation” in 2021, when the number of workers who quit their jobs in a single month (November 2021) broke an all-time U.S. record. Companies are desperately trying to find the best, most diverse talent, upskill them appropriately, and find ways to retain them.

Through it all, Ascendant Network produced a number of engaging and insightful marketing sessions throughout 2021 to help marketers stay connected, informed and prepared for whatever came their way. The paper provides a recap and insights from some of the best sessions of the year and organizes them according to the most important topics for marketers as outlined by the ANA (The Association of National Advertisers): Brand, Data, Society & Talent.

Alexandra Quinn