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The Importance of Digital Marketing in 2021

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Create website to digitalise business

As we enter 2021, we see businesses continuing to struggle with a shaky global economy. It may seem foolhardy for business owners to think of investments instead of cutbacks.

Yet that seems to be just what businesses need to do to survive. In particular, business owners should give serious thought to investing in digital marketing this year.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Of course you’d say that, you’re digital marketers!”

We’ve also heard remarks to the effect that people press the point every year… yet businesses without strong digital marketing plans have continued to survive each year.

We’ll concede the first point may shade our advice. But things have changed drastically over the past year. While holdouts may have had a little grace period before, they may not be able to hold out against digitalization much longer.

Let’s go over why that’s the situation now. In the process, we’ll show how digital marketing has now become a near-prerequisite for businesses in 2021.


The Pandemic and Increased Online Spending

Increase in e-commerce and mobile sales

The COVID-19 pandemic is crucial to understanding the importance of digital marketing in 2021. There’s no shortage of reports indicating the ways it has changed consumer behaviour.

An UNCTAD survey in nine countries showed more than 50% of consumers shopping online and using the Internet more than before the pandemic, for instance.

And in the US, JP Morgan’s research indicated e-commerce going from accounting for 11.8% of all sales in the first quarter of 2020 to 16.1% of them.

Many businesses’ figures reflected this. For instance, Nestle said that their e-commerce sales went from 8.5% of sales in 2019 to 12.4% of them in the first half of 2020 alone.

They even noted that the online sales of their Nespresso products managed to successfully offset the losses from the closure of their Nespresso boutiques.

This stems from lockdowns, quarantines, and the closure of many brick-and-mortar businesses, of course.

Consumers have turned to the Web as the alternative for what used to be easily accessible in physical stores.

Will this change in 2021, especially as we look at the release of vaccines for the virus? Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s offerings are just two examples of already-in-use vaccines with strong efficacy rates in tests, for instance.

Perhaps those vaccines and others may affect the future of consumer behaviour... but many concerns remain.

The Concerns That Set the Context

So what are these “many concerns”? For one thing, ensuring universal access to the vaccines‒or something near universal access to them‒is crucial to controlling the spread of the virus.

Yet vaccine production has its limits, as do distribution systems worldwide.

Economics may also play a part in this, as many developing countries will not be able to afford the number of vaccine doses their population actually needs.

Instead, many of them will either rely on the charity of developed countries‒which is likely to come only after those other countries have seen to their own people‒or more affordable vaccines with lower efficacy rates.

Moreover, given increased consumer awareness of the convenience of the Web and e-commerce, there is every reason to expect many consumers to continue using the Internet as they do now.

All of this will very likely sustain Internet usage for consumer research as well as shopping. It’s not normal human behaviour to give up a convenience once discovered.

The New Normal and 2021 for Businesses

People remaining connected

All of this means that businesses need to further strengthen their digital game in 2021.

The pandemic may have accelerated digitalisation by accident, but even before it did, that was already the trend.

Every year, e-commerce and online activity has only been increasing everywhere. Consumers have been researching services on the Web. They’ve been discovering brands and products on social media.

All of this means businesses should have been going digital long before the pandemic.

Moreover, it means that even if we were to control the pandemic by somehow vaccinating everyone on the globe in a month, digitalisation wouldn’t be reversed.

People will continue to use the Web and shop on it more and more, as we said earlier.

To stay competitive in a world where so much of your target market is online so often‒and researching products or services online so often!‒you obviously need a digital marketing strategy.

In Sum: Why Do Digital Marketing in 2021?

Comprehensive marketing plan

Given the current milieu, it’s clear that you should be investing in digital marketing for several reasons:

  • It’s the best way to reach consumers who now spend more time than ever in the digital realm.

  • It has a higher ROI than traditional marketing when optimised, leading to cost-savings while expanding your reach.

  • It helps you compete with rivals, many of whom are likely developing digital marketing strategies themselves right now.

In short, you need to do digital marketing in 2021 because it’s a key part of future-proofing your business.

If the trend towards further digitalisation continues this year‒and there’s no reason to think it won’t‒you could be losing a big chunk of your business by failing to market digitally.

You want to stay relevant to your niche and your target consumers. You also want to make sure you can reach those who’ve never heard of you before but could be part of your demographic.

And there are few things that can help you do that as well as digital marketing.

Convinced yet? If you feel like learning more about how you can delve into digital marketing for your business, we’ve done a blog series on it. Called The Marketing Flow, it offers business owners a guide to developing their own digital marketing strategy.

You can also talk to us if you have any further questions on the topic or want assistance developing your business’s strategy this year!

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