Trends to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Digital Marketing Agency

By Jon Flaherty-Fisco, Content Specialist

With 2020 changing how many businesses choose to address their digital marketing needs, it’s important to understand what trends are driving change across industries. Experts predict spending on digital advertising will reach $375 billion by 2021, it’s clear there is a growing need for effective marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at the specific challenges a digital marketing agency can address for businesses, and what trends will affect companies as they create their digital marketing plan going forward. 

Challenges a Digital Marketing Agency can Address

A digital marketing agency is a necessity when it comes to effectively growing awareness and generating leads. Having a team of specialists who create unique digital strategies can differentiate how customers view one business versus another. It’s also important to realize that a digital agency and digital marketing agency can offer widely different services. 

More than Just Marketing

A digital agency typically specializes in brand identity, graphic design, advertising, and production. Digital agencies help businesses get their messages out in well-designed, curated ways. Whether through developing applications or optimizing mobile or web design, users get a great experience when digital agencies hit the mark.

A digital marketing agency, on the other hand, will focus more on SEO, PPC marketing, content marketing, and other lead generation strategies. When a business is looking to raise awareness, generate sales, educate prospects, and increase traffic, a digital marketing agency is often the best option. Digital marketing agencies create engaging content by understanding what is effective and what isn’t. These agencies also find ways to optimize and repurpose existing content, letting work that’s been sitting on a blog get its time to shine.

Target the Right Buyers 

Creating content is only half the battle when it comes to effective digital marketing. It’s also important to know who the audience is and where their attention is. A digital marketing agency specializes in finding what the target audience focuses their attention on and creates content for that space. For example, while executive buyers might have a focus on professional sites like LinkedIn, younger audiences that spend more time on social media will likely be blind to any marketing efforts on LinkedIn. 

Learn more about the top skills needed in digital marketing

Finding ideal buyers takes time, research, and the right strategies. That mix is even harder to get right when the market changes in drastic ways as it is in 2021. 

B2B Marketing Trends for 2021

The New Buyers

Buyers are changing. In fact, 60% of all B2B tech buyers are millennials (age 25 – 39). That means that buyers are skewing younger, and the strategies that worked five or ten years ago won’t work anymore. Businesses need to understand what these new buyers care about and where and how they ingest information. 

These new buyers primarily use digital channels in the initial phases of procurement. That means that SEO, social media, and content strategy are more important than ever. They’ll look for more focused content that speaks to their challenges, not generic content with general appeal.

25% of B2B Organizations Are Underspending on Marketing

That’s right, 25% of B2B companies allocate just 5% of their budget to marketing. This seems counterintuitive as marketing is typically ranked as a high-importance issue in polls. Just like with B2C businesses, a successful marketing strategy can get brands in front of more people and ultimately drive more sales. 

Despite that fact, marketing budgets don’t seem to reflect that understanding. Just 8% of businesses allocate more than 15% of their funds to marketing despite the consistent stream of leads it can generate. With younger buyers doing more research before making purchases, businesses will need to invest more in marketing strategies to reach their target audiences successfully.

Almost Half of B2B Companies Want to Increase Marketing Spend

According to Statista, 46% of B2B companies plan to increase their content marketing spend within 12 months. Despite new strategies like live video or influencer marketing, B2B organizations still see content as a driving force for generating leads. Just 4% of respondents plan to lower their marketing budget even with financial pressures mounting from the pandemic. 

That’s because converting leads is still a high priority for B2B organizations. 78% of them continue to use lead conversions as a performance metric as they find it the best way to track their ROI for digital marketing agency investments. That’s because just 13% of the people marketing teams reach out to are considered true leads. This drives home the point that a digital marketing agency needs to make every piece of targeted content count. 

Mastering Search is Still Critical

No matter how many new forms of marketing become trendy, mastering SEO is still a critical part of any good digital marketing agency’s strategy. Two key points prove this.

  1. The average B2B buyer conducts 12 different online searches before interacting with a website. This statistic means that one piece of content isn’t enough to convert, and a company’s website has to be in the search queries even to be considered. Knowing what words customers are searching and optimizing sites around those terms keeps the site in their vision as they search. 
  2. 29% of Google users only visit one page from the search results. Every Google search brings back pages of results, and nearly 30% of B2B buyers pick just one of those. If that isn’t a reason to make sure your website is ranked high on the first page, nothing is. 

As 2021 continues, data-driven digital marketing agencies will likely adapt to their customers. From what current data shows, there is a drive to reach younger buyers with relevant, targeted, and prioritized information as consistently as possible. That kind of content strategy is something a digital marketing agency can assist with, tailoring content to specific buyers and targeting their challenges with relevant information. As other B2B organizations get ready to increase their spending on marketing, it’s time to think about the right strategy for growth.

Sources

Statista, Share of B2B marketers planning changes to their content marketing budgets in North America between 2019 and 2020, October 2019

Implisit, Industry Benchmarks and Examples, 2021

Content Marketing Institute, 2020 B2B Content Marketing: What the Successful Do [New Research], October 2019

TrustRadius, B2B Buying Disconnect: Forecasting Radical Changes in Buyer Behavior, 2021

eMarketer, Worldwide Ad Spending: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2016–2021, October 2017

Statista, Share of budgets allocated to marketing according to B2B companies in the United States in 2019, October 2019



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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.