2020 should be dubbed “The year that the world turned digital.” From school, to work, to family gatherings, it seems as though almost every aspect of our lives has migrated online. Looking back on the past twelve months, it’s clear that there are certain changes that have been brought on by the pandemic which are not temporary — they’re the new normal. Our recent survey of 500 tech executives proved marketing strategy trends to be no exception.
Takeaway #1: Increased Demand + Disrupted Business Models = A Digital Solution
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually every part of our normal lives was somehow reworked into an online format. And as people began trying to figure out how they would go about their days from the confines of a home office, there became a sudden increase in the need for technological solutions that would make up for the shortcomings of remote work and the lack of face-to-face interaction. Our survey shows that 73% of tech executives reported an increase in demand for their product, a statistic that reflects the worldwide migration to life online.
Tech companies were not immune to the challenges that this past year posed. They, themselves, faced difficulties similar to those of other industries, with execs reporting that their top three obstacles included employees’ ability to use new tech, remote work, and the lack of in-person sales meetings. The digitization of everyday life also disrupted many companies’ existing sales and marketing strategies, which were partially reliant on in-person leads from events such as trade shows and conferences. A drop off in the ability to generate such leads made tech companies in need of a new marketing strategy that was able to match the elevated demand they were seeing.
Enter digital marketing. Since the start of the pandemic, 95% of our survey respondents have increased their marketing efforts. Of the top four increased activities (virtual trade shows, email marketing campaigns, webinars, paid social), all of them were digital, suggesting that the majority of companies saw digital marketing as the solution to their problems. And it turns out they were right.
Takeaway #2: The Positive Impact of Increased Digital Marketing Has Tech Companies Planning to Continue Investing in Digital
Digital brought huge benefits to both businesses and their consumers. 75% of tech executives said the move to a digital sales and marketing process has had a positive impact on business, and 85% reported the change as having increased customer satisfaction. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as higher customer satisfaction rates tend to be good for business.
This data comes at a time when the marketing world is developing a heightened focus on personalization and customer-centricity. Today’s consumers are part of the technology-driven Impulse Generation that has high standards when it comes to content and design — they don’t just prefer personalization, they expect it. Digital marketing makes catering to those preferences easier than ever with AI, automation, and the ability to adjust your tactics in just a few clicks, so it’s no wonder the shift resulted in increased levels of customer satisfaction.
Respondents also reported that remote work was the top change that they anticipated to be permanent, echoing the overall trend toward a highly digitized. The second change they anticipated to be permanent? Increased digital marketing. With experts predicting that this new digital reality is here to stay and tech companies seeing clear benefits from their reworked marketing strategies, it makes sense that 96% of execs plan to invest in marketing in 2021, with 50% investing in digital marketing and 61% putting resources toward social media. If all goes as expected, the positive impact that digital had on both businesses and customers will likely continue, making future investments in digital marketing a no-brainer.
Takeaway #3: This Investment Needs to Come With Results
Our survey also revealed that 93% of tech executives feel that tying marketing efforts to ROI will be important or very important. So why are companies placing so much weight on results?
The digitization of marketing means it is more measurable than ever before, and with 94% of respondents claiming that analytics will be important or very important in 2021, it’s clear that tech executives want to see those stats. Furthermore, digital marketing makes adjusting and customizing your marketing strategy and specific campaigns incredibly easy, which means execs don’t just want results, they want good results.
With more and more companies investing in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy , it’s going to become much harder to stand out amongst a sea of competitors. In order to convert online and see substantial ROI, brands must place an emphasis on personalization and leave the generic ads and landing pages in the past. Not only do consumers want ads that are custom-tailored to their preferences, they expect them — yet another reason why analytics and insights will be so important. As people continue to click the “unsubscribe” button on massive, automated email campaigns, companies must dig deep into the data to gain a thorough understanding of who their customers are, what they want, and how they want it delivered — and then they need to give them just that. If brands fail to use data and insights to their advantage, they risk losing the battle to their competitors, regardless of whether or not they’ve invested in digital marketing.
Moving Forward: Staying Ahead Of The Digital Marketing Game
Tech companies are clearly reaping the benefits of their enhanced focus on digital solutions when it comes to their marketing efforts. But they mustn’t get complacent. Just as the world is moving further into 2021 and advancing toward a new digital reality, it won’t be enough to simply invest in generic digital marketing — tech companies are going to need to get creative with their content strategy in order for their expenditures to continue paying off.