Business Leaders Discuss Digital Marketing in 2021



Who still needs convincing that digital marketing is the way of the future? Surprisingly, many companies are holding out and keeping their digital marketing budgets to a minimum, even with so much evidence to the contrary.

It’s time to take a top-to-bottom look at why digital marketing is so important, and what businesses can do right now to ensure they maintain an edge moving forward. Here’s what five CEOs have to say.

A Growing Digital Marketplace

You’d have to be asleep to not notice that more people are shopping online than ever before. A huge portion of purchases are made from laptops, phones, and tablets now, but that’s just the surface-level assessment of the situation.

The truth is that most people conduct research about products and services online, which is where the game is won or lost.

“As we have all forcefully traded our in-store retail experience for ecommerce, social media and influencer marketing is bigger than ever,” said Disco CEO and Founder Benjamin Smith. “The classic consumer will skip through the traditional Google ads we have all come to despise on the videos we watch but they will sit through ‘tutorials’ and sponsored content their favorite influencers produce. This new wave in advertising is all the rage as it provides organic engagement and direct sales inspired by the discount codes tailored to the influencer.”

If your brand isn’t leveraging ads, original content, and calls-to-action, how can you expect to go up against competitors who have been cutting their teeth on digital media for years?

Digital marketing is the great equalizer, so seize the opportunity to take on big names in your industry by mastering these methods.

Carve Out Territory on Search

The search engine is where most internet journeys begin these days, whether it’s typing out the name of a celebrity in the news or asking Siri about the best roasted squash recipes on the web.

People search for everything imaginable, and top-ranked pages get the most clicks by far. The question is – will your brand be there at the right place and right time to make an impression? This is the vital importance of search engine optimization, or SEO.

A high-ranking page can’t be bought, it must be earned through effort and maintaining a stellar reputation across the web. Methods like backlinking, keyword targeting, and others have been shown to help get your page towards the top.

“Digital marketing is a major component of establishing your brand as an authority in your industry,” said Jeff Goodwin, Senior Director of Marketing at Orgain. “Digital marketing agencies specialize in ranking your business on search engines. About 70% of search engine users will pick the top-ranking websites listed in their search. Agencies can get these rankings for your brand while you focus elsewhere.”

SEO is a slow process of building your online presence and gaining ground, so set out a strategy and stick with it for the long term to get real results.

Take Steps Forward with Tech

Now is the perfect chance to audit your entire digital infrastructure, cutting out inefficiencies and doing away with any systems that no longer serve you. 

Ask around among your various teams to get frontline opinions on what’s working and what’s stale. Only your employees will be able to give you the full scoop, so listen up.

If you are at a loss regarding digital overhaul, there are blueprints to follow that fit almost any business model. Start with marketing tools like schedulers and automators, then go down the list.

“Five steps to digitization are adopting a modern accounting software, upgrading my website, integrating a simple CRM, transforming into a remote office on Zoom, and finally going paperless with electronic signature,” Rishi Kulkarni, Co-Founder and CEO of Revv. “

Too many companies put off tech upgrades out of hesitation and fear. It’s time to get past the hang-ups and embrace the digital future for your business, in the marketing department, and beyond.

Test, Analyze, Revise

Marketers 20 years ago would kill for some of the free tools available at our disposal right now. We can track the exact path of the customer journey from beginning to end, get insights into the impact of our emails and messages, and learn what types of content are more engaging based on accurate data.

The point here is that if you aren’t constantly analyzing your marketing machine or testing various strategies to find the best approach, you’ll never know what your brand is capable of in the internet age. 

“Even if you are a small business and you can’t afford to do costly studies, you do have the ability to run different kinds of tests in your app or on your website and see what works best,” said Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing.

Rather than just passively observing analytics and wishing for the best, use these insights for specific and intentional changes to your marketing game plan. 

A Legacy of Content

Content marketing has gained a lot of traction over the years, capitalizing on the trend that people want to learn from their favorite brands and be entertained in the process.

It’s not enough to just highlight products and services anymore. Your content needs to be exciting, informative, and share-worthy to achieve high levels of engagement. There’s no secret recipe to winning content, so embrace experimentation and try out many different formats.

“We choose to market our brand by showcasing the stories of our clients,” said Omid Semino, CEO and Founder of Diamond Mansion. “Many of our clients come to us as young couples struggling to afford their dream engagement ring. We like to share stories from our satisfied clients to show these couples that it is possible to not break-the-bank when purchasing your dream diamond!”

Eventually, you’ll find the right mix of content that appeals to the masses and your brand might just build a loyal following you can rely on for the long run.

Partnerships and Brand Advocates

Digital marketing is a team sport these days, and your business needs to make strong partnerships with influencers in your space to maximize impact.

This could be an ambassador program featuring an individual personality, or a more formal partnership with a publication that already has a strong foothold in your industry. Many businesses also put customers in the spotlight to share stories and convey social proof.

“We came up with a fun and creative way to showcase customer testimonials with our values in mind – we added a section to our website titled ‘Burn Book’, where our patrons can send in pictures of their skin and be featured on our site,” said Olamide Olowe, Founder and CEO of Topicals. “Not only does it show off our product in use, but it upholds what our brand stands for.”

Customers can be powerful brand advocates if you give them an opportunity to shine, and it’s a winning scenario for everyone involved.

Your digital marketing journey will be a long one, so don’t rush in all at once. Start small with simple tactics and position your brand for a future of success. 

Prepare for Trends to Come

Things move so fast in digital marketing now, it’s worth adopting new tech at every turn – it’s a matter of staying relevant. Not every new technology will pay off for your brand, but it’s better than missing the boat when trends get traction.

“When we look at our campaigns for 2021, the most important thing we can focus on is achieving higher visibility,” said Jared Zabaldo, CEO of USAMM. “Keeping your company upfront and relevant can often be the deciding factor on your success. Marketing strategies that will establish your company as an expert, such as content marketing and digital PR, will surely be popular for 2021.”

No matter what 2021 brings, you need to be ready to hop on the bandwagon when a new trend hits the scene, even if you don’t fully grasp the implications. Be ready for anything and stay agile for when the next big marketing craze appears.

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