If someone asked you to rate your business’ digital marketing strategies, where would you lie on the digitally savvy scale? Perhaps you rank your small business at 4.5, which is perfectly adequate in relation to your growth stage. Or, as a corporate player your digital footprint ranks in at an impressive 9. Without dismissing factors such as your business goals, budget, time management and target market, we believe that everyone should be aiming for an 11. After all, digital is where the future of marketing is heading, and the future is now. By looking at consumer behaviour, trends and what others are doing right, this article will provide you with insight on how to make digital marketing work for your business.

I spy… a digital customer

After an eventful 2020, standards remain high as customers expect convenience, personalised experiences and socially aware brands that can humbly level with humanity. When analysing the customer of today, one cannot overlook the impact of Covid-19. The pandemic’s effect on our behaviour, lifestyle habits and dependence on technology continues to be noticeable, especially in the way customers interact with brands.

Increased periods of staying-at-home and working remotely accelerated the use of E-commerce, online communication, and digital entertainment. Recent reports by eMarketer revealed that global retail E-commerce sales grew by 27.6% in 2020 and is expected to grow an additional 14.3% in 2021. Whilst Zoom reached 300 million daily meeting participants in the course of 2020. These consumer statistics don’t however come as a surprise, as we all experienced the wave of digital dependence throughout 2020.

The drastic change in people’s lifestyles, specifically adapting to new work and learning routines, emphasised the importance of mental health and the overall well-being of the individual. This shift promotes consumer values that drive brands to become more sustainable, socially conscious and make sincere connections with the consumer. According to HubSpot, 86% of consumers prefer organisations that have an authentic brand personality on social networks. In comparison to face-to-face customer service, the seemingly ‘distant’ consumer-brand relationship in the new digital sphere does not mean organisations can dodge customer experience. On the contrary, it is now more crucial than ever to build an authentic relationship with your customers, even if it is through a screen.

Keeping up with the trends

Now that you have an idea of what this year’s digitally orientated consumer looks like, where does it leave us? The answer lies in exploring the trends. There is no turning back from digital marketing (which is in fact a trend itself). Every business should be informed about trends and how they can be utilised in ways that benefit your marketing strategies.

By looking at three key digital marketing trends of 2021, and how industry leaders are acing them, we hope all businesses can become digital role players:

1. Digital customer engagement

American software company, Braze, suggested in their 2021 Global Customer Engagement review that 48% of established companies and 39% of up-and-coming companies, rank effective customer engagement as a top marketing investment. This is because regardless of how extravagant your digital marketing strategies are, if customers are not engaged in the experience, your strategy efforts might as well go down the drain. To stand out from the crowd, effective customer engagement requires creative solutions, which is exactly what Netflix did:

In March 2020, Netflix reacted swiftly to ensure their customers felt less lonely during lockdown. The brand created a free Chrome extension, namely Netflix Party, which allows multiple users to sync their screens and watch Netflix remotely yet ‘with’ your friends. The app also provides a chatroom so that everyone in the viewing session can communicate.

2. Cross-channel approach

Knowing how to leverage multiple online channels, and taking advantage of channels according to their strengths, is a must if you want your strategies to succeed. According to statistics, multi-channel campaigns are 37% more effective in comparison to single channel campaigns. If you are uncertain about which online channel to use turn to social media. Hubspot suggests that 73% of marketers rate social media marketing to be effective. Either way, it is critical to tailor your message according to the channel you intend to use and to make it interactive:

Starbucks’ rewards program is famous for its multi-channel approach. Customers can check and reload their rewards through an app on their phones, the company website or in-store. To date Starbucks Rewards has over 20 million members worldwide and the company’s Q1 Fiscal results shows that reward members contribute 50% to company sales in the US.

3. Data optimisation

Knowing how to effectively use customer data can transform your business’ digital marketing strategies. The key however is to ensure that customer data provides actionable insights and then to quickly act on it. Data is arguably the most important digital marketing tool that allows you to gain customer insight, improve engagement, and alter budget allocation, all whilst enhancing your marketing strategy performance.

Audio streaming company, Spotify, boosted their mobile app downloads by 21% in the first week of December 2020. The annual Spotify Wrapped campaign was responsible for this. Premium users’ data insight was analysed to showcase their personal music and podcast listening trends of that year. Talk about a perfect combination of data and personalisation!

Strategise like the pros

There is a lot that can be learned from companies that rank high on the digitally savvy scale. Having a good understanding of your consumers, their lifestyles and needs is crucial. As a business you must be able to predict consumer’s wants before they even know it themselves. Luckily, the tools of digital marketing make this process easier and more accurate. Know your objectives, delve into the various digital marketing tools and trends, and find out what truly works for your business’ marketing strategy. One thing can be said for certain, in the end every business’ marketing formula will look different, however, the only formula that will assist you to rank higher involves digital.

We can help you with a bespoke marketing formula for your business’s needs.