Digital marketing is a fascinating concept for modern businesses in that it never stays the same for too long. Of course there are certain fundamentals and principles that remain over time, but the day-to-day practice of digital marketing evolves with trends, technology, and more generally, time. It’s for this simple reason that today’s business and marketing department leaders need to do their best to stay on top of changes. And in 2021, that means paying attention to some of the following core concepts.
Interactive Web Features
Interactive content is an enormous part of modern digital marketing strategy, and fortunately it’s one of the easier trends to take advantage of. The goal, as a Forbes piece on interactive content put it, is to establish an authentic B2C (business-to-consumer) relationship. You want to interact with online consumers by providing content they can engage with — rather than just read or click through and discard.
There are a lot of different examples of what form this kind of effort can take. But think of tools like on-site videos, newsletter sign-ups, polls and surveys, linked social media accounts, and so on. Including any or all of these things on a business website gives consumers ways to participate in their own browsing and/or shopping experiences, and turns a brand into more of a functional, dynamic entity in the consumers’ eyes.
Content has been at the heart of digital marketing for some time now, but of late there’s a greater focus on the total optimization of company and brand operations in this department. A few years ago, talk of content marketing may have been a reference to email outreach campaigns, social media posts, or the development of an on-site blog. Today, the concept is both deeper and broader.
The scope of this sort of effort today is characterized well in Ayima Kickstart’s look at digital marketing, which focuses largely on several key components of content development. The overview highlights technical SEO understanding, content SEO development, and off-site link development — all of which fall into the content category. Essentially, digital marketing efforts today need to include technical, analytically-driven efforts to identify the best strategies, as well as multi-faceted implementation of those strategies both on- and off-site.
Social Media Engagement
Digital marketing operations today also have to involve regular, strategic engagement through social media platforms. This is a trend that’s been on the rise for a while now, but it is now more of a necessity than an extra. According to Business2Community’s write-up on social media marketing just last year, today’s internet users spend nearly 30% of their online time on these platforms. With that knowledge in hand, it borders on negligent for a modern marketing department not to conduct social media outreach.
What form this outreach takes can vary from company to company. But there are three basic aspects of the idea: conveying information directly to consumers, generating back-and-forth communication with those consumers, and developing and displaying a brand personality or identity. Done effectively, all of these things can significantly boost both customer acquisition and retention.
Use of Influencers
Our article on “Influencer Marketing In China” back in 2018 framed this particular type of outreach as a “necessity” rather than an option. Indeed, like social media engagement, the use of influencers in marketing efforts has grown from something extra that some brands were dabbling in to something essential that all companies should aspire to.
Influencer marketing is a little bit different, in that it’s not something a company can simply decide to do overnight. If it doesn’t happen organically, it means identifying the most useful potential influencers (ideally through an analytical approach connecting them to relevant demographics). It also means negotiating with and likely paying those influencers for their work. However, the benefits of an effective influencer marketing campaign can be virtually immeasurable, which is why it really is so essential today.
Beyond the obvious, these are some of the concepts and efforts that define digital marketing in 2021.