In 2021 digital marketing initiatives are top of mind for all marketers. The shift toward digital marketing is nothing new however it has accelerated because of the COVID-19 crisis. Consumers are choosing to stay home, there has been a marked increase in online behaviors, and as digital becomes the preferred method of consumerism, the efficiencies are setting brands apart. Savvy customers want a seamless journey, and they will find the site that can provide that. Here are five trends that top marketers are implementing to stay relevant.

1) Email – One-stop and SHOP
Email marketing is not new; its staying power is due to its ability to drive traffic to a blog or website. Now subscribers can complete their purchase inside the actual marketing campaign without ever leaving their inbox. Email purchasing ability is just one way Mailchimp and others are improving the efficiency of email marketing. In addition, the technology has become so sophisticated that marketers can access purchase history, search history, and most visited websites from an email campaign, which allows for more accurate customer targeting.

2) It’s About the Journey, Not Just the Destination
This year, it is essential that markers offer real-time responsiveness at each touchpoint in the customer journey. The marketers who continue to focus on the customer experience will be the ones to outpace the competition. To create a truly authentic web experience, serious marketers invest in customer journey analytics software that tracks customers’ actual paths as they engage digitally. This technology tracks behavior across all platform touchpoints. It allows for real-time responsiveness to personalize the experience and eradicate pain points in the customer journey. This intelligence makes it easier for consumers to get their needs met and creates an enjoyable online encounter.

3) Artificial Intelligence – Pretty Smart
Segmentation is essential for marketers to understand what their audience prefers. Historically, preferences have been hard to track, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes this much more accessible. AI can dissect data more efficiently than humans can, and it will consider browsing history, past purchases, and demographics to personalize content for the user. AI is why Spotify can curate a playlist “just for you” and Netflix can suggest your new favorite series.

People are pretty comfortable using AI chatbots like Siri and Alexa, and they are becoming so sophisticated that they are often confused with real people. As chatbots grow in accuracy and convenience, they are critical in mitigating fundamental customer issues and driving sales.

4) Start with a Conversation
Today’s audience wants an authentic experience with their brands. Marketers still depend on keyword-rich content to drive traffic and captivate their audience; however, in 2021, we see that those tactics are designed for Google and not necessarily for the consumer. Marketers are trying to create a more human experience using content pulled from actual conversations in the industry. We see a rise in social media influencers who have first-hand experience with the products can talk about their value. Today’s consumers are looking for genuine interaction and a personal approach.

5) Social Listening
It’s essential to invest in a multichannel strategy that ensures all digital channels are operating at their peak. Social listening and media monitoring are great ways to track brand mentions and analyze positive or negative posts. Social media monitoring looks at the metrics on brand mentions and engagement numbers. Social listening takes it a step further by examining the comment for mood and giving marketers a chance to participate in the conversation to make an impact. Through social listening, marketers understand where the market is heading and learn from their competitor’s successes and failures. These insights can be used to drive marketing strategy and better serve customers. Having a fine-tuned social listening program allows marketers to stay ahead of criticism, complaints and avoid potential PR crises.

2021 had driven serious marketers to increased their digital marketing budgets. The pandemic accentuated cracks in some businesses’ digital models. This year is the time to fix the issues with advanced strategies. Digital marketing has proven the most effective channel for increase brand awareness and profitability. Embracing these trends will keep systems operating at their peak.

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