2020 has been a big year for transformation. It’s been so transformative that even pointing that out has become a well-worn cliché. Covid-19 has reshaped businesses and societies in a way we never thought possible. Marketers have faced enormous challenges in adapting to Covid-19 Marketing.
The proliferation of data and digital has facilitated this transformation enormously. For many of us, memories of 2020 will be dominated by endless video calls, online grocery shopping, and lots of Netflix.
Long gone are the days of the “real world” vs the “online world” – in 2020 they’re one and the same. McKinsey found that due to Covid-19 and the associated lockdown we’ve jumped five years ahead in terms of digital adoption for consumers and businesses. If you’re a marketer in charge of strategy, what are you doing with that information? For 96% of your peers, it means prioritising digital transformation according to Econsultancy.
Nevertheless, some marketers approach campaign planning in the same way they did five years ago. These campaigns could feel 10 years out of date by the time they launch. Customers, B2B or B2C, expect so much more from brands digitally now. It’s often the very first point of contact they have – a tweet here, a search result there.
The smartest marketers have recognised this shift and begun making changes accordingly. According to the FT, in 2020 digital ad spend will outpace traditional media for the first time. While ad spend as a whole is likely to contract this year, this will not be evenly felt across channels; digital looks likely to hold strong while cuts are made to traditional channels.
Just as we interact with an expanding selection of digital touchpoints every day, digital has become an entire spectrum of channels in and of itself. Web, search, social, display, SEO, apps, content, voice search and a constantly evolving array of channels offer huge opportunities for marketers who want to make an impact with their target audience.
At SLG we primarily work with clients in the built environment industry, one that is often more traditional and slower to adopt new technologies. However, the tremors of change have been felt even here. That’s driven by digital offering marketers in our industry tangible benefits beyond simply reaching new audiences.
Neil M Brown, Chairman of the Construction Marketing Association, has said that “digital marketing is infinitely more measurable than traditional marketing, allowing marketers to calculate a return on investment, as well as test and improve marketing campaigns and initiatives before implementation.“
Now, it would be naive to say that digital is the only channel to focus on. For maximum impact we’d always recommend a strategically relevant mix of traditional and digital channels.
Digital stills needs to be well executed and closely related to your overall strategy for it to be effective, as is the same with any channel. That’s why marketing teams should always make sure to have a broad range of cross-channel skills at their disposal either internally, or with an agency partner.
2020 was the year that digital truly cemented its position as a totally indispensable part of every marketers tactical mix. Ignore this shift at your own peril. 2021 must be the year all marketers get to grips with their digital offer to meet and exceed their customers expectations.