As of this writing, we’re one week into the New Year, and there are still questions about the changes that 2021 might create in areas as diverse as public health, politics, and digital marketing. Of course we recognize that one of these things is not like the other, but we also recognize that they’re all pretty closely inter-related.

The tone you apply to your digital marketing strategy is sure to be influenced by the situations that you’re observing in the world around you. And indeed, it should do exactly that. It should even go so far as to anticipate the kind of things you expect to observe in the days and months to come. A broadly-targeted digital marketing campaign should be in touch with reality, and it should strive to make onlookers feel as if they occupy the same general space as the advertiser.

Think about how you feel when you’re very down in the dumps and someone tells you to smile. Most people find this unhelpful and even insulting. Some just become more agitated by the inherent contrast between when what they’re feeling and how they’re expected to present themselves to the world. Similar frustration can arise just from being confronted with excessive cheerfulness, or any very strong outward expression that doesn’t match what you’re feeling.

That’s basically the experience that certain visitors will have with your website if it aspires to be extremely cheery when the user is feeling low, or vice versa. But it’s not just a matter of how you feel personally. That’s not something that a digital marketing campaign can control for. But a digital marketing company can certainly anticipate the overall vibe that a year, or a situation, or a community will give off around the tie or place where the campaign is targeted.

This brings us back to the question of what 2021 has in store. We confess that our guesswork on New Year’s Even might have been a lot different from the guesswork we’d offer now, in the wake of political unrest in Washington, D.C. which has thoroughly shocked the nation. That violence now serves to pile more anxiety and uncertainty on top of what had already been created by the coronavirus pandemic, and at a time when the country was extremely ready for some good news.

New Year celebrations seemed cautiously optimistic a week earlier, with people largely reveling in the idea of sending off a bad one and welcoming something that would just have to be better. It’s not clear whether or not people are standing by that optimism now, or whether they’re already prepared to write off 2021 as a sort of remix of the previous year.

The answer might not be completely clear for some time. But if you redesign your website or launch a new digital marketing campaign in the near future, you may need to make an educated guess about how your audience is most likely to be feeling this year. If your expectations, or those of you digital marketing team, are out of keeping with the way things ultimately turn out, you can always make adjustments.

But over the short-term, it’s a good idea to try to avoid being the annoying campaign that aggravates people with enthusiasm when they’re feeling sober, or forces them to become sad and thoughtful when they just want to shut out the real world for a little while. You have to line up their expectations with what you’re delivering, or consumers won’t feel at home with your business all year.