Digital Marketing in 2021: Back to Basics

  • Categories:

    Media Strategy

  • Date:

    February 23, 2021

Digital Marketing in 2021: Back to Basics

Media Strategy

Consumers are more connected than ever, spending an average of three hours on the internet per day in 2020. Meanwhile, new IDFA limitations and the demise of the third-party cookie call for more creative digital targeting. But even as marketers face another year of pandemic-fueled unknowns, these fundamentals can help steady your digital marketing ship.

1. Expand your reach to as many qualified people as possible.

Brands achieve growth when they reach a disproportionate percentage of the target audience versus current market share.

Knowing your audience and striving for visible placements is the key here. However, it’s not a pure numbers game. You must also consider quality as well as context. We’ve seen plenty of brands in the marketplace take heat for invading a space that wasn’t a natural fit for them. You don’t have to do it all, but you’ll get the best results by focusing on what’s most meaningful to your audience.

2. Remember that paid, earned and owned tactics are always more effective as part of a holistic approach.

Incorporating tightly connected earned, owned and paid tactics into a comprehensive strategy will create the most opportunities for engagement with your brand.

Think of earned media as digital word of mouth: Positive coverage does more than add credibility and reach to your messages. It also encourages audiences to share, mention, repost or review — all of which support long-term search engine optimization improvement for your brand or product. Positive coverage combines good content, placements and rankings that collectively encourage audiences to share, mention, repost or review. That’s why solid SEO and content strategies are crucial for optimal earned media placements. Earned media can also drive traffic to your owned media (e.g., websites and blogs) and shared media (e.g., social media accounts), creating additional avenues for engagement.

3. Stick to the 60:40 rule as a dependable best practice.

Brands should strive for a balance of 60% brand-building and 40% conversion-based tactics to achieve long-term growth while still seeing short-term results.

Brand building influences audiences that will take action in the near future by creating mental associations, memories or beliefs that will predispose potential customers to choose one brand over another. For example, Wray Ward client VELUX skylights uses brand-building techniques to influence home decor enthusiasts and build associations between skylights, daylight and fresh air — building the skylight category in the process. While these efforts may not lead to an immediate conversion, the accumulation of a brand’s authority will pay off in long-term purchasing decisions.

Conversion-based tactics, on the other hand, inspire more short-term results. Otherwise known as buy now advertising, activation focuses on the audience most likely to make an immediate purchasing decision. These placements should typically make up only 40% of your brand’s total marketing strategy. However, every brand is different, and finding your optimal balance of pushing conversions and establishing authority is key for both maintenance and growth.

4. Include video in your ad format considerations: It still reigns supreme.

Twenty years ago, television was the number one platform for advertisements. Nothing can compete with the sight, sound and motion of video. While they don’t drive the fastest direct response, today’s video ad campaigns are proven to significantly lift brands long term. Lucky for digital marketers, there are more ways to integrate video into campaigns than ever before.

Platforms such as YouTube and TikTok are proving that video-based content is still attractive and easily digestible for consumers. Creating video ads according to the way your target audience digests information can help ensure success.

5. Emphasize core creative messaging that works across different channels and ad formats.

Your creative product should be optimized and adapted to each platform while communicating a consistent core message and brand elements. This will ensure that the campaign is cohesive and all elements are truly working together.

Again, consider VELUX: The brand’s core message is that skylights can transform a space, manifested through TV and over-the-top TV (OTT) television with this series of spots that showcases the transformative power of skylights in three distinct spaces within the home. On Pinterest, meanwhile, the creative is adapted to fit how pinners use the social platform: True before-and-after pins feature skylights as the hero feature of a home renovation. And on Instagram, design influencers walk their followers through a step-by-step installation, illustrating their space without skylights, the installation process and, finally, the transformation.

Each of these executions adapts to fit the channels and platforms, yet they all ladder up to one core message: transformation.

6. Focus on ROI, but don’t lose sight of other measures of true growth or profit.

How is your brand measuring success? In today’s data-driven ad sphere, it can be difficult to determine which metrics can best inform future campaigns.

For starters, don’t rely solely on return on investment (ROI). ROI is useful for determining sales increase versus marketing spend, but dangers include cutting marketing spend to increase profits and investing solely in short-term activation in order to see the quickest returns. Both strategies are counterintuitive to the 60:40 best practice discussed earlier.

Alternatively, we recommend comparing ROI with profit growth to get a sense of the bigger picture. Keep the long-term benefits of brand building in mind to determine the real measurements of success for your campaigns.

Now what?

Need help putting these digital marketing fundamentals to work for your brand in 2021? Email me.

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