Digital Marketing in 2021 for Forward-Thinking Brands

June 2021
 minute read
keyboard connected to smart tablet with google search

Digital marketing is ever-changing and constantly being innovated. Even marketing agencies sometimes have difficulty keeping up with the latest trends. Responsival has decided to track down the most critical up-and-coming brand marketing agency techniques for brands who want to get a leg-up on competitors.

Brand Marketing Agency Trends: Headless E-commerce

Seamless Storefronts Customized for Best User Experience for Your Brand’s Marketing

Woman typing in credit card information on macbook. Online shopping using laptop.

What is headless e-commerce? Headless e-commerce is a newly emerging concept that seamlessly integrates a virtual storefront and the website’s back end. This is important because headless e-commerce takes away the tedious caretaking a website would typically require. This innovation allows your website to reformat to fit almost any screen. The technology behind headless e-commerce decouples the front-end experience and back-end data. 

Contrary to popular belief, headless e-commerce does not just combine various content sources or commerce platforms. Instead, it creates a functional commerce code that can be inserted into multiple interfaces. This is then seamlessly combined into the front-end experience, which is how headless e-commerce can display on various screens and platforms—a major win for site speed and conversion, according to leading brand marketing agencies. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to what you can do with headless e-commerce. 

Programmatic Advertising

Get the Best Ad Placement for Your Brand Based on Machine Learning

AIS advertisement for iPhone X on a large billboard in the city. Billboard is placed on the side of glass building.

Take out the guessing game of how to get bang for your ad spend. Using machine learning, you can create ads that do the bidding for you. Well, sort of. Programmatic advertising uses software and algorithms to purchase display space relevant to your ads. This technique can prevent you from inefficiently spending your advertising budget. 

Creating programmatic ads allows the marketing force to spend more time creating high-quality, effective advertisements rather than figuring out exactly where the ads need to be placed. Programmatic ads place your advertisement in the best possible display based on the information you plug into regarding your campaign, key performance indicators and ad budget. With other agencies and businesses already participating in this form of advertising, it can be challenging to outbid them if you are not using this technology.

Extreme Personalization

Using Customer Demographics and Past Behavior to Fuel Personalized Brand Marketing

Macbook user has hands placed on keyboard at desk. User has a webpage pulled up with coffee, a notebook and a plant on his desk.

Personalizing emails, content and advertisements make consumers more likely to show interest in your brand. According to a study of 1,000 18-64 year olds conducted by Epsilon, 80% claim that they are more likely to do business with a company if it creates personalized experiences for the individual. 

One effective way to include extreme personalization is through email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing when done correctly. This is done by collecting consumer data such as their behavior on the website, purchase history, and demographics. This data can be used to personally address the consumer. When addressing behavior, we can dive into whether or not the individual made a purchase or abandoned cart. We can go further and figure out a) what they purchased and recommend similar products or b) what they had in their cart and offer a small discount to encourage the purchase. 

Shoppable Posts

Sell Products Directly from Where Your Customers are Most Likely to Discover Your Brand

iPhone user is taking a picture of instagrammable food.

Last year Instagram released a new feature created explicitly for shopping on social media. The feature replaced the “Activity” tab with a “Shop” tab. This was a massive step for businesses so we might as well utilize it. This new update allows users to shop without even leaving the Instagram app. In addition to Instagram’s recently released feature, other large platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest utilize shopping features for businesses as well. 

Shopping features on apps are created to be easy-to-use for both the buyer and the seller. They feature clear CTAs and a variety of product tags. A few platforms even use product tags to group photographs of the products together in a lookbook-style format.

Shoppable features on popular social media apps allow business owners to create visual online stores separate from their own websites. This is unique because you can cater to what kind of posts you’re making based on that platform’s audience. According to Instagram, 75% of users take some action after viewing a business post. Including product tags in your posts themselves allows for an easy marketing funnel to occur within the app.

One of the best practices you can use to drive sales is creating a straightforward user journey to purchase your products. Shoppable apps take away a lot of the risk of losing customers due to abandoned carts.

Blockchain Technology

Take Out the Third Party in the Data Supply Chain

Stack of Bitcoins on top of a pile of US dollars of varying values.

Using blockchain technology in marketing is a relatively new concept. Blockchain itself is decentralized data blocks linked together in chronological order. The technology was created so data would not be able to be tampered with. While blockchain has been around for a while, a boom in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that uses blockchain, sparked more interest surrounding the topic.

So what does this have to do with brand marketing agencies? Blockchain creates a new way for marketing agencies and other businesses to collect data from willing consumers. In other words, rather than getting customer information from Facebook, consumers can be compensated for giving companies their information. For example, consumers would be able to view relevant advertisements in exchange for compensation using blockchain technology. The consumer is then consenting to create new data blocks using their information, preferences and demographics gathered from this. Advertisers can then use this information to make better ads. All in all, this form of technology can lead to cheaper advertising because you would be taking out the third-party provider of information.

Predictive Analysis

Analyzing Big Data can Give Big Insights Into What Your Customers are Thinking

Two businessmen sit at a desk, using electronics and discussing metrics on Google Analytics over a cup of coffee.

Predictive analysis is a technique that gathers historical data and uses machine learning and data mining. Together, this analysis can make scientific models that guess, or predict, how future data will look. Many companies find this useful when trying to gather information about risks and opportunities for the company. For marketing agencies, predictive analysis is an incredible tool that can fuel campaigns for specific market segments.

Brand marketing agencies can use predictive analysis to better understand consumer behavior, qualify leads, and maintain their customer base. Using consumers' big data, agencies can segment the audience based on demographics and consumer behavior. This is extremely important in serving your audience relevant advertisements based upon past data and machine learning. Using predictive analysis techniques, we can also see which consumers are worth pursuing and how much ad spend is worth going after them. Last but not least, this allows marketers to predict what their current customers are interested in. Using this information can provide them with a better, more personalized experience that will likely keep them coming back for more.

Video Marketing

Video Marketing and Video Platforms are Boosting Brand Marketing

Two people sitting together. Birds eye view over the wooden table they are using with the tik tok app opened on someone's iphone.

In recent years, we have seen video social media platforms grow at an alarming rate. Many consumers are moving past the idea that products have to have perfectly posed, aesthetic-driven images for a product to be worth purchasing. Not only have platforms like Tik Tok and Youtube been thriving pools of digital marketing but even Instagram and Facebook have been adapting easier ways to make video content.

What does this mean for marketers? While many marketing agencies and brands may feel compelled to keep the same content format they’ve grown accustomed to for many years, it is time for a change. Keeping up with what consumers are looking for is extremely important in evolving your company. About 78% of marketers claim that video advertising has directly helped to increase sales.

It would be nice if each video marketing platform had the same format, dimension, or even video length. Then again, in that case, why would there be a need for so many? The first step to creating your video marketing strategies is understanding the platform, the users, formatting, and what kind of content is popular on the site. Keeping up to date with trends and researching best practices for the platform are also ideal first steps. Just as with any other platform, using campaigns to strategize your marketing plan is essential. Determine what you want to get from each campaign, along with who your target is. 

Some strong campaign ideas are as follows:

  • Brand introduction
  • Product usage
  • Event videos
  • Behind the scenes
  • Educational videos
  • Customer testimonials

Each campaign strategy works similarly to the typical content format that we have seen for years. The important part is putting your brand’s spin on it to show brand personality.

Automated Marketing

Personalize Repetitive Marketing Tasks with Automated Marketing

Responsival's website featuring the "Chat with Responsival" automated chat window appearing.

Automated marketing is a great way to take repetitive marketing efforts and transform them. Creating automated marketing strategies takes out the labor time of tedious activities and allows for more effort to create personalized, dynamic content that we know our consumers love so much. Automated marketing consists of the following steps to achieve the best possible campaigns:

  1. Determine your audience through deep segmentation
  2. Keep up with search engine algorithms 
  3. Automate messaging
  4. Automate email journeys
  5. Automate advertisements

Instead of trying to keep up with monthly welcome emails and placing the highest bid on an ad display space, use that time and energy to go toward creating the best user experience possible with automated ads. Diving further into email journeys, best practice would be audience segmentation and predictive analysis to cater to their marketing needs. Having personalized, automated welcome emails and dynamic content selected based on user behavior in future emails ties together many of the valuable marketing strategies discussed earlier. It may seem daunting to create several situation-based templates for emails, overall it takes much less time than doing each of them by hand. It also allows you to put so much more time and effort into the user journey that it is most certainly worth it.

Position 0 - Content Creation

Getting to Position 0 is Challenging but not Impossible

A Google Search Engine Results Page for "What is long form content". At the top appears a section of separated text with a clear answer to the question, this is also known as position 0"

What is position 0? To dive into that, we should probably begin by looking into the way SERPs are changing. Voice search technology has caused search engines to go through a pretty significant change recently that is disruptive to almost all marketers - except those who reach the golden spot of position 0. Position 0 is the blurb that google provides you in the top space of your SERP when you ask a question. This is tied into voice search because when users ask an electronic device a simple question, they require a simple answer. Search engines attempt to place this in position 0 to make the solution more easily accessible. Although this feature’s goal was to make voice searches simpler, it affects much more than that. About 62.5% of mobile users don’t even click a link when conducting a search anymore.

These changes are significantly affecting the way search engines work. Previously, the goal had been to rank on the first page of a search using relevant keywords. Now, not only do you have to rank but you have to be the very best one to be featured in position 0. Despite this change, backlinking to articles and keyword usage are working relatively the same way they had been prior. So, although this big change has been shaking up the way we create content, there are still sure-fire ways to get the ranking you deserve.

IoT Advertising

Take Marketing a Step Further and Apply your Creativity to IoT Advertising

Multiple opened apple devices laid out on a deck. The Mac has the desktop opened, the Macbook has Google calendar opened and the ipad has a web page opened.

IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a network of every device connected to the internet to send and receive information. Every device connected to the internet is included, even things such as watches, camera systems and smart light bulbs. Utilizing all of these devices to develop the best marketing technique is a new and unique way to approach it. Many people approach the idea of the internet of things with caution, but marketing experts are running at it full force. 

The internet of things gives companies the ability to use the information received from devices to use need-based marketing strategies. For example, suppose your home security system is connected to the internet and receives information that your home had been broken into last week. In that case, that information is saved to the IoT. Gaining access to that information can allow various companies to recognize a need you have for their products. You are then targeted by advertisements for lock replacements, home insurance and surveillance cameras. These are all items you may feel you need following a break-in, and these companies are willing to provide that for you. This is beneficial for both the consumer and the advertisers. The consumer is receiving more relevant advertisements for what they need.The advertiser may be spending less on trying to reach individuals interested in their products.

Long-Form Content

Generate More Backlinks and Boost Engagement Using Long-Tail Keywords and Long-Form Content

Bird's eye view of a millennial woman with tattoos sitting at an aesthetically pleasing desk. The woman has a mug, her phone, several notebooks and glasses sitting around her. She is on her macbook typing.

While most businesses would prefer to crank out five 400 word blog posts each week, that might not be the best method to increase your SERP rank. What we are actually looking at when we talk about long-form content is the backlinks. The backlinks are what is going to improve our SEO and domain authority.

The first step to generating long-form content is to determine your audience and keywords that we are ranking for. To get Google Bots to recognize our page as something that should be ranked, we need to ensure positive search intent. Overuse of keywords and fluffy content can damage your ranking. The layout of your information is also fundamental. Each line of text aims to get your reader to continue to the following line by using valuable information and intriguing language. It is vital to write your content as if you were talking to an acquaintance. The goal is to be more formal than talking to a friend, but keeping in mind that bulky, professional language makes the content difficult to follow. Clunky language can increase your bounce rate which would then lead to your ranking dropping. 

It is also important to include long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific than your typical keywords. Including long-tail keywords can increase the likelihood of your audience finding your page. Combining the long-form best practices can tremendously increase the traffic you get to your page from organic searches.

Staying up to date with the most recent trends, methods, and tactics is part of the job. Whether you’re another brand marketing agency, small business owner, or simply just curious, we hope you can take some of this information and put it into action. With so many platforms changing and transforming, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind, it is impossible to do everything yourself. Be selective about what platforms and features you enact to be sure your strategy fits your brand. Have questions about what would work best for your company? Chat with Responsival about the next steps.

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