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The state of digital marketing in the UK in 2021: how Covid-19 has influenced strategy

By Kimberly de Silva | Content Marketing Team Lead

Mapp

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March 22, 2021 | 7 min read

As 2020 was a challenging year for businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we set out to discover how companies across Europe adapted and planned for their digital marketing strategy in 2021. Mapp conducted a survey to identify marketing priorities, challenges, industry trends, planned investments, and the impact on eCommerce. In total, more than 1,000 marketers from the agency, retail, finance, media & publishing, telecommunications, and tourism & leisure sectors were surveyed in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Our study provides key insights into what strategies and practices perform best, including how these vary across industries and regions.

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The state of digital marketing in the UK

Covid-19 has drastically accelerated digital business models. Our market study shows that more than half of the companies have increased their investment in digital and technology innovation as a result of the pandemic. However, we also found that the full potential of personalisation is far from being realized for most businesses. In the future, customer intelligence and marketing analytics will be critical in providing precise, real-time customer insights to optimally use marketing budgets and score points with the end customer through a customised journey.

Key insights about the state of digital marketing in 2021: (The stats below are based on the UK market and vary between European regions)

1. Marketers are focusing on website personalisation

Marketers are tailoring their website to individual visitors, so that consumers see the products most likely to motivate action. A third of the respondents in the UK already provide a personalised experience on their website, with a further 13% looking to do so this year. Currently, only a 25% use dynamic content on their website, but over half are planning to introduce it in 2021.

The goal is to keep visitors on your website longer by engaging them in smarter ways. Interests and needs vary when it comes to new website visitors, returning visitors or long-term customers, so you need to treat them differently too.

Here’s how you can implement web personalisation in 2021:

  • Define target groups based on location, device information, historic user behavior, purchase history, etc. and segment your website visitors.
  • Implement tailored content, smart product recommendations or even completely customised landing pages based on the customer insights you gathered.
  • Test different content for each segment to find out what people are truly interested in.

2. Data management continues to be a challenge

Unlocking the power of their own data is one of the major challenges that marketers face right now. Our study revealed that 63% of businesses struggle with unconnected data sets, providing them with only a partial view of customer behavior. At the same time, three quarters of respondents said they can identify less than 20% of customers who visit their website and 38% can only identify less than 10%.

Here’s how you can tackle this challenge in 2021:

  • Implement a data management platform (DMP) to identify audience segments, improve targeting, and optimize online advertising spend.
  • Unify all of your incoming data, including that from your DMP, in a customer data platform (CDP) and get a comprehensive picture of each customer.
  • Integrate the CDP with your marketing execution platform in order to use customer insights in real time.

3. Investments in customer engagement prove successful

Where are marketers investing their budget in 2021? Customer engagement technology! These platforms help marketers manage the customer journey in a data-driven way. In fact, those who use a customer engagement platform report very high levels of satisfaction, with 67% rating their customer engagement vendor 4 or 5 out of 5 during the pandemic.

It’s all about obtaining that 360-degree view of each individual customer, across all channels and devices, and leveraging that customer knowledge to run customer-centric and highly personalized marketing campaigns.

Here’s how you can reap the benefits of customer engagement in 2021:

  • This challenge can also be tackled by investing in a CDP that unifies all your customer data in one place. Gain customer knowledge like never before with unified customer profiles.
  • Align your team around the same real-time data and execute seamless campaigns across a variety of marketing channels.
  • Automate your cross-channel campaigns to meet your customers wherever they are and make every touchpoint count.

How are marketers preparing for a successful 2021? Download the infographic for free by filling in the form below to get the full results of the state of digital marketing survey: the state of digital marketing in the UK.

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Mapp

Marketers and data specialists should be able to focus on what will make a difference for their business, instead of spending all their time taming the technology behind it. With the insight-led customer engagement platform Mapp Cloud, they can focus on what really counts – and the exciting insights that come with it. Thanks to customer intelligence and marketing analytics, companies can easily and effectively gain data-driven customer insights across all channels to trigger highly personalized marketing activities.

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