2021 in Review….5 Lessons from the Digital Marketing World  — Lionesses of Africa

by Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho 

2021 was an interesting year….especially in the world of Digital Marketing and Customer Experience. We saw platform algorithm changes, policy changes and fragmented audiences that required more and more personalization. We saw the rise of the use of data in a cookieless world and started to really see how meaningful context truly is.

Here are my top 5 lessons from the Digital Marketing World in 2021

1. Invest in what you truly OWN!

2021 has been an interesting year indeed, we were affected by the Twitter ban in Nigeria, which threw many brands off track and took away an important customer service and sales channel. We saw many consumers and brands jump onto VPNs, which led to ads across all platforms being thrown out of whack and suddenly not reaching people they were reaching before, as people have now located in South Sudan or Singapore thanks to their VPNs. This has prevailed throughout the year and has made targeting the right audience more difficult especially when you are targeting Millennials and GenZers who definitely do not want to live off Twitter.

As a Digital Marketing Agency our dependency on 3rd party channels became overwhelmingly clear when one of my team members called me at 11 pm during the complete outage of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, saying the ads we were running on these channels for a conference that was the next day were not delivering and we wouldn’t meet the event signup goal agreed with the client.

What I learned from these two experiences is that we have to invest into our owned channels and lead generation funnels to reduce dependencies that 3rd party channels bring with them. Owned channels such as our websites, mobile apps or email marketing channels ensure that we have more control over, accessibility, reach, longevity and versatility of our content, however, they also require high levels of creativity and quality when it comes to content creation especially for lead generation.

2. Multichannel Executive Profiling is here to stay

The pandemic pushed a lot of leaders into the spotlight as they navigated VUCA environments and became more and more ESG compliant, thus starting to embrace much higher levels of engagement with their stakeholders across board.

2020 and 2021 taught me the importance of personal brand building and multichannel executive profiling and leveraging content marketing tactics for increased results in SEO, PR & Thought Leadership. We are going to continue to see executive profiling as a key component of any well-thought-through IMC or digital strategy with content marketing tactics for CEOs and executives spanning across webinars, videos, podcasts, eBooks, case studies and reports, as well as well thought through and extremely targeted social media content.

3. One-size fits all — just not in Digital

As we navigate a cookieless world and encounter more and more fragmented audiences with shifts in behaviours and context, we are seeing that data-driven and personalized strategies become more and more important especially when we are talking about diversification of ad spend, content distribution and ad placements.

This year marketers had to be much more intentional about how much they spend and where, how ads are designed and personalized as well as how they are distributed. The context of the audience, the channel, the design and the distribution of spend across platforms all matter and those who invested in data dashboards and customer segmentation early on, definitely had an advantage this year.

4. Don’t play with your Brand Identity

We’ve always known that branding and design play a major role in Digital and in the overall Customer Experience, but in 2021 investing in video production and photography has become unavoidable especially for retail and consumer brands who are looking to be closer to consumers and create unforgettable experiences. Branding and kick-ass creatives remain essential to success, especially in a campaign based marketing world.

5. Let the Transition into the Metaverse begin

Most brand owners are still sceptical about how their brands will play in the Metaverse, but other more forward-thinking brands have jumped on NFTS as they become more and more mainstream and have looked at how they can leverage digital assets in the real and virtual world. Agility and flexibility play a key role, as well as being creative and understanding that the consumer of the future is truly virtual.

I look forward to seeing you and would love to read any comments you have and the lessons you learned this year.

….and just like that — 2021 is a wrap….Enjoy your holidays, stay safe and see you in 2022!

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