A couple of weeks ago a number of members from our team attended the virtual SMX Advanced* 2021 sessions and workshops. We plan to share some of our biggest takeaways and insights over the course of several new blog articles in hopes that we can provide an impactful light bulb moment for you.
The first days’ keynote speaker was Obele Brown-West with an interesting presentation on how significant changes in consumer behavior will impact how we engage with an ever-evolving marketing landscape.
Here’s our key takeaways from the session that we thought would be most useful to our clients in understanding digital media and marketing in 2021 and beyond.
1. Brands saw search as a performance driver in 2020.
First, let’s stop and recognize where we’ve come from. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise but we need to recognize the huge impact the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home health orders had on search marketing.
More people than ever were forced to move online for all types of activities including banking, medical appointments, ordering takeout, shopping, religious services, social interactions, and more. Emerging digital marketing trends are heavily influenced by what happened last year.
As we come out of 2020 we need to acknowledge that search and online platforms saved many small businesses. In fact, businesses that were able to pivot to an online-first presence experienced huge gains in 2020. Check out our case study on That’s Coffee as an example of how relaunching their website came at the perfect time.
2. Brands will need to define their identity and beliefs.
In her keynote, Brown-West argued multiple times that there will be little room for brands to stay neutral in light of everything the world has experienced in 2020 and early 2021. Does this ring true for you?
In response to the political and social climate it’s time to embrace the human side of your brand. Here are a few places to start as you navigate new trends in digital marketing:
- Embrace and plan for uncertainty. You should even be as bold to plan for disaster as accidents happen to the best of us. Don’t be caught off guard – have a plan in place.
- Show vulnerability through your digital marketing and all touchpoints with customers.
- Commit to a purpose and let this show in everything you do
Yes, you probably will struggle as you find and fine tune your brand voice. There is a balance of staying authentic yet entertaining. Using a voice that resonates with your following may be hard but brands that do this right will experience big wins when pursuing the best digital marketing trends.
3. Brands need to test, not assume.
We are all guilty of making assumptions even at the best of times. We need to use data to become acutely aware of our exact audience and then develop the right voice and personas to speak to this audience’s needs.
This key takeaway applies to two 2021 digital marketing trends in the keynote presentation:
- Inclusive Search Marketing – brands must research their audience and build personas in order to pursue personalization and inclusive marketing.
- Search Personalization – consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of personalization. Can we say it’s almost expected that our online experience is personalized to us? Brands also need to account for privacy laws.
4. Brand competition is fierce and it’ll only get harder.
After seeing the benefits and potential of Digital Marketing in 2020 more brands are planning to increase their investment in digital. More than ever are brands researching and pursuing digital marketing industry trends as a way to grow.
This means the competition is only getting stiffer – the race to gain share of voice is that much more difficult.
It will take talented, savvy and innovative search marketers to create and execute SEO/SEM campaigns. This may occur in-house or by hiring an SEO/SEM Firm, or (as many speakers at SMX suggested) a combination of both in-house and SEO consultants.
Need Help Evaluating Digital Marketing Trends and Options?
If you have specific questions on current Digital Marketing trends, Google algorithm updates, or current SEO best practises as they apply to your situation we’d love to chat! Contact our SEO experts by completing a contact form inquiry.
*SMX Advanced is an experts-only search marketing training event full of expert-led sessions, keynote speakers, community networking plus intensive workshops. Hot topics at SMX Advanced June 2021 included Google’s Page experience update, quality score, automation, and more. Search marketing is the largest effective digital marketing channel and evolving faster than ever – two of the most important reasons our team attends these sessions.