Building a Digital Marketing Strategy for 2021: Importance, Process, and Challenges

Marketing | 5 minutes to read

02nd Aug, 2021

The new business realities today mandate a rock-solid digital marketing strategy for business success. However, yesteryear’s marketing strategies are fading out of existence, and they need to be scaled further for new market needs


    • The drivers of marketing have been reordered

    • New reality requires a different mindset

    • The success factors now differ from industry to industry. Here are some best ways to outline and execute the strategy

    Consider this: 93 percent of all online interactions begin with a simple search query online, and Google alone gets more than 77,000 searches every second. Nearly half of the world’s population (3.2 billion) uses social media every day. Nearly half of any website’s traffic comes from mobile devices. These numbers constitute, by all means, the most definitive trends of current times.

    Moreover, Covid-19 has accelerated digital marketing adoption by manifolds. Enterprises are realizing the strategic importance of digital marketing in the new market order.

    The fact is that the world is increasingly going digital, and so are traditional business processes. The scope of this blog covers the digitization of marketing, its importance, creating a winning digital marketing strategy, and overcoming the challenges caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

    Why is digital marketing important?

    Digital marketing is a blanket term that encompasses the use of digital tools and mediums for marketing any product or services.

    Over the past two decades, digital marketing has been at the forefront of revolutionizing how businesses promote their products and engage customers. Unlike traditional forms of marketing, digital marketing tools and strategies offer trackable and measurable metrics. Used for both massive public outreach campaigns and niche target campaigns, these tools are optimized for efficiency. It help businesses stay agile and responsive to the needs of their customers by circumventing many challenges that arise in traditional marketing methods. As a result, digital marketing has become an integral part of the overall marketing strategy in enterprises.

    Particularly over the past year, digital marketing has gotten a new fillip due to mobility and interaction restrictions. The pandemic has resulted in digital platforms and services taking off significantly. It has also expedited the permanent shift to the digital-first preference of customers and businesses alike. Furthermore, economic challenges, coupled with changing customer behaviour and trends, forced organizations to recalibrate their marketing budgets and align their strategies with the changed realities.

    Common challenges faced on the path to digital marketing

    Finding the right talent or partners

    While digital marketers are probably available a dime a dozen in the market, there is a shortage of quality and result-driven professionals. Similarly, plenty of agencies offer a range of digital marketing agencies, but very few have the reliability and reputation to back their claims. Finding an end-to-end digital partner that can deliver results is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

    Building a multi-channel marketing strategy

    Most businesses and marketers make the mistake of targeting just one medium or platform to reach new customers. Whether it is a blog, a YouTube channel, or an Instagram handle, their marketing and engagement strategy rely primarily on one source. This is because different expertise and competencies are needed to create a multi-channel strategy. Hence, instead of building in-house teams, most businesses outsource such campaigns to marketing companies.

    Sharing relevant and engaging content

    Once the processes and strategy have been set, it can become difficult to continue the initial momentum, particularly if the initial results are not encouraging. Most marketers face challenges in ideating and creating relevant content for their audiences. A majority follow ready-made templates or copy what the industry leaders are doing. Even if the campaigns begin focusing on quality, cutting corners becomes all too tempting in exchange for quick successes.

    Keeping up with the industry and tech changes

    Digital marketing is a relatively new approach to attract and engage customers, through digital tools and platforms. However, these tools and platforms keep updating their internal workings and algorithms to match the latest trends in the tech industry. This creates a major challenge for the marketers to keep track of all the latest developments. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.,  keep updating their protocols and processes, which may disrupt well-laid future plans and campaigns.

    Measure business impact and ROI

    Aligning relevant business KPIs with digital marketing data to assess whether the goals are being met (and to what extent) is something most marketers struggle with. In many ways, digital marketing offers a problem of plenty, as there are simply too many metrics and numbers to analyse. Most tend to focus their energy on vanity metrics that indicate success in the short term but do not adequately consider the sustainability of progress made.

    A lot of times B2B marketers design a campaign that is too heavy to lift during execution. Read this blog on top Reasons why B2B Marketing Strategies Fail to dig deep into the causes of campaign failures.

    How to prepare a digital marketing strategy for the New Reality?

    Digital marketing consists of new tools, approaches, and ways of engagement and promotion. Hence, it is vital for enterprises to develop a broader plan that determines the goals, methodology, tools, and effectiveness of the efforts. There is no set formula or standard template of a digital marketing strategy that works for everyone. Each enterprise must develop a unique blueprint that matches its goals, values, and budgets. However, the process to create one is near-identical, and here is how to go about it:

    Create a multi-layered funnel

    Like other marketing processes and models, begin by creating a multi-layer funnel that leads prospects and customers gradually down the journey. The layers of planning, outreach, acting, converting, and engaging must reflect relevant activities and interventions. These layers must help create awareness, motivate customers, lead them to the point of purchase, and continue the engagement post acquisition, respectively.

    Invest in research and audits

    The importance of understanding the targeted customer vis-à-vis their spending habits, shopping trends, tastes, and preferences, cannot be emphasized enough. Research and audits provide social and cultural context to customer behaviour and understand the market situation. It helps in realistic target setting and budgeting as well.

    Select the right tools and set a budget

    Depending on the intended objective, choose the right set of tools and platforms for implementation. A strategy might require many campaigns to be implemented concurrently on several platforms and mediums or focus on a select few. This will also help determine the budget, timeline, and performance measurement criteria.

    Keep evolving the campaign

    Once the implementation phase begins, retain the flexibility to evolve and respond to feedback. Fail-forward experiments are needed to ascertain the best tone, approach, and platform to engage audiences. However, the changes must be driven by evidence of data.

    Identify the right data to capture

    As an extension of the above point, focus on measuring and analysing the right data sets. Digital marketing offers a variety of statistics to measure, so carefully choose the ones that are the most relevant for the business and the campaign.

    Execute a successful digital marketing strategy in the face of continuously evolving market order with top-of-the-line solutions. Watch this video to know more.

    Best practices to keep in mind

    Install flexibility in your strategy

    Resiliency is an essential component of a digital marketing strategy. It is required to respond to shifting trends and capitalize on new opportunities for engaging with audiences. This agility cannot be deployed on an ad-hoc basis in response to evolving trends but must be built into the very strategy and campaign itself. Irrespective of the medium or the platform, the marketing content should not be tone-deaf and reflect what’s happening in the world.

    Create content in different mediums

    Text, video, audio, experiential – there are many forms of content that make up digital marketing. And there is really no rulebook that says what format can be used for which kinds of purpose. Create your presence across different mediums and platforms to gauge which type of content is engaging audiences the most. Furthermore, digital marketing creatives should maintain the same brand consistency in tone and visual language across platforms for the best result.

    Ensure consistent experience across devices

    One of the most basic yet often-overlooked factors by beginners is a consistent user experience across different devices. The company website, app, emails, blogs, videos, and other content should be optimized for desktops, mobiles, tablets, and other devices. Broken text, links, images, and incompatible devices will reduce digital engagement and negatively impact brand value and perception.

    Leverage marketing automation tools

    Marketers can leverage automation tools to automate repetitive and routine tasks and simplify complex tasks. These tools makes it easier to filter leads in the first stage, define a lead scoring mechanism, and pass them to the sales team. The demand generation stages like awareness, segmentation, nurture, and behavior change can be streamlined and orchestrated better.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment

    With millions of businesses eyeing the same audience on consolidated platforms, there is no sure-shot recipe for success. However, being creative and innovating is the only way to ensure that there is a chance to connect with large sets of audiences together.

    Keep using customer feedback

    Finally, digital marketing provides almost real-time feedback from audiences and customers. Whether it is in the form of web traffic, views, shares, or comments, most digital marketers have a variety of ways of finding out how their campaign is performing. Do not let these insights go unused and keep using the feedback to continually improve the digital marketing strategy for optimum performance and engagement.

    Learn more about optimizing the digital marketing strategies in 2021 to regain the lost momentum during the pandemic last year.

    Digital marketing trends after the Covid-19 pandemic

    Never before have customer personas changed at this pace and at this scale. Unpredictability reigned for the major part of last year, as the spending and shopping habits of customers changed. Paradoxically, people were spending more time online, which presented enhanced opportunities to engage them.

    Social media advertising touched news highs in 2020 as did search engine PPC ad revenues. However, these developments were made possible by rapidly evolving digital marketing trends that took cognizance of changes in customer and business priorities. Businesses that already had a sizable digital presence put their campaigns in the next gear, whereas newcomers partnered with expert agencies and service providers to cover lost ground. The trend of personalization and localizing content was also in the focus, as were the innovations made in the marketing-tech industry.

    As the world inches back to pre-covid times slowly, it is imperative for digital marketers to elevate their strategies. Aligning more closely with business objectives, disseminating useful content, and retaining new customers acquired during the pandemic will be the focus. It is also important to update all messaging with empathy and sensitivity as per the sentiment. Simultaneously, digital marketers will have to continually innovate and find new ways to engage audiences, build new experiences, and tell inspiring stories.

    SEO is one of the crucial factors that optimize the organic marketing efforts of an enterprise. Read the blog on 3 Factors to Power Up Your SEO Strategy in 2021 to get deeper insights.

    Digital marketing strategy in 2021: The last word

    As the world recovers from the pandemic, digital marketing will play a pivotal role in helping businesses reconnect and re-engage with their customers. It has undoubtedly proven its potential in the face of extraordinary circumstances, and will without a question, be the driving force of all major marketing activities ahead. However, businesses need a robust digital marketing strategy to navigate the next future, and a reliable partner to support their vision.

    Learn more about how digital marketing agencies like Denave can help businesses grow sustainably in the future

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