NEMOA Spring Summit Takeaways: 4 Trends to Watch in 2021

Author: Krista Black, Group Account Director

I had the pleasure of participating in the NEMOA (National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America) Spring Summit last week. As you can imagine, attending a trade show looks a little different these days, with visiting booths, attending seminars and networking all done virtually. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the event was run and how impactful the content was even though it was presented under different conditions. I found myself wondering if trade shows might maintain some of this new approach in the future even when a higher level of normalcy returns – a hybrid model where attendees could choose to participate in-person or online – or a combination of the two.

This thread of the “new normal” went beyond how the conference was run. It was woven into much of the content – the trends and predictions for our industry for the year ahead – predictions of a permanent shift in consumers’ behaviors as well as strategies to reach them.

Here are a few of my favorite COVID-inspired trends to watch from the 2021 NEMOA Spring Summit:

1. Resurgence of Mail

While mail volumes declined during the beginning of the pandemic, over 2/3 of Americans continue to collect their mail EVERY. DAY. Additionally, 77% of Americans indicate that they have a high interest in receiving mail and 50% of Millennials surveyed see mail as being more important than it was three years ago1. Meanwhile, packages from online shopping orders were delivered to doorsteps in record numbers, training us to check the doorstep and the mailbox more than ever before to retrieve them. As more and more brands re-enter the mail channel, they can benefit from these newly formed routines.

2. Test and Learn Mindset

In these times of rapidly changing consumer behavior, marketers must be nimble in terms of channel strategy, target, offers, and creative. A test and learn mindset is more critical than ever and will continue to remain imperative to helping marketers determine what’s working, what’s not, and what changes need to be made.

3. Rise of Social Commerce2

Consumers are buying directly from digital ads on social platforms at incredible rates, helping fuel a 33% year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales2. Thanks to Elizabeth Drori, Chief Marketing Officer at Sperry, for introducing me to the phrase, “thumb-stopping content” when describing how to capture attention and engage your audience when designing social content. Thumb-stopping content has lured me in many times; I’ve purchased everything from snacks to socks while scrolling through Instagram. But of course, social ads are only one piece of the puzzle – by aligning social ad strategy together with mail, we can fuel increased interaction and purchase behavior beyond what either channel can do alone. In the future, these channels will continue to become more interwoven.

4. Getting Real with Your Audience

The pandemic forced many brands to share their story differently during Covid shutdowns when travel, photo shoots, and large-scale productions were brought to a grinding halt. The silver lining? Many brands found new ways to connect with their audience, often leveraging user generated content to deliver an authentic brand message. With the shiny veneer of high production brand assets removed from the equation, smart brands were able to connect with audiences in new and more “real” way and “humanize” their brands.

Our team invites the opportunity to connect with you to strategize on these trends and to talk through your direct marketing strategies now and into the future. Reach out to us to schedule a time to chat.


1Engaging with Customers in the Time of COVID, United States Postal Service

2How you succeed in an environment of rapid consumer behavior change, Oracle

Bio: Krista is our Group Account Director and brings over 15 years of marketing and agency experience. She and her husband have two children. Krista enjoys volunteering as a manager for her daughters’ dance teams, spending time with family, and watching reality TV.