If there has ever been a year that people were excited to put behind them, it’s 2020. With that in mind, I wanted to talk about digital marketing trends we’re seeing along with solutions that we can provide to help you stay ahead of the curve in 2021. 

Increased Emphasis on Online Engagement

The need for those who understand digital marketing has never been greater. Businesses and organizations that I never thought would move into this world have. There are two ways in which they’re doing this.

One is to hire and bring someone in to do this work. Generally, this means that the business will be hiring one person and putting the weight off all digital marketing on that person. They will also be on the hook for their salary, training, and benefits. Based on the budget level, most will likely be hiring an entry-level person which will require additional training, time, and “grace”. The benefits are that this person will be coming in with fresh, innovative ideas and be 100% dedicated to your business.

The other way has been to engage an agency that can handle this. With this, you don’t have the salary, training, and benefits to worry about. Traditionally the costs will be comparable to that of an employee with the benefit of many experienced people working together for your business. You’ll also benefit from them working with multiple clients at the same time and duplicating things that have worked for others for you. There will be goals set with an emphasis on achieving them so that the contract is renewed.

Increased Use of Social Media

When I say increased use of social media, I should add more varied use. Viewers are able to spot automation increasingly well and they want more authentic real-time interactions. Live videos, surveys, contests, quizzes, games, polls – things that make people interact. These all come at the cost of more time and thought put into campaigns.  

Also, advertising budgets. To make sure your messages rise above the noise, you’re going to need a budget in 2021 for your posts to be seen. It’s something as an agency we’ll be emphasizing. 

Google Business Listings

If you haven’t already claimed your business listing on Google, do it now. It’s not a hard process, but it isn’t instant at all. 

Once you claimed it, make sure you are posting updates weekly. The ability to do this is now a function included in Sycamore Social to make it easier to do each week. 

Stores Moving Online

If your brick-and-mortar store hasn’t figured out how to exist online yet, now is the time. If I were starting a store today I would use an all-in-one stock management system with an online store like Shopify. There’s even a point of sale (POS) interface that can be easily added to the system. 

You can even use this for mobile orders for pickup and local delivery – think restaurants or curbside pick up of anything in your store. You set the radius around your store too that you are willing to provide local delivery in. 

The great thing about a system like this is that your inventory in the physical and online stores are one and the same. 


It’s been taught over the years that it’s much easier to keep a client than to find new ones. This adage is still true and retailers are going to have to step up their games to encourage return visits. Using email, text, offering services that traditionally only the big retailers could offer – all of those selling a product are going to be viewed in the same way. People want to be rewarded for their loyalty but only in a way that is convenient for them. 

Some of the best methods I’ve seen have been based on using a telephone or email address at the POS (online or in the physical store) to build a profile on customers. Based on sales volumes, different discounts can be offered. 

Employee Engagement

Your employees are your biggest advocates. Setting up programs that encourage them to use their personal social media accounts to promote your business is a must. Some of the most successful programs I have seen “gamify” this by assigning points for those who share content. Points are then used to determine winners at the end of the month who are then given prizes. It could be a trip to the company store for a new shirt, gift cards, or maybe even cash. Either way – getting your employees engaged shows loyalty and amplifies your social media beyond your current audience. 

Check out the tool that LinkedIn has built-in. As you post new content to your LinkedIn company page, it will allow you to notify your employees about it. You can also invite up to 100 of your contacts to like your page each month too for free. This has been super effective in growing LinkedIn audiences.

Moving Forward

At Dogwood, we’re looking forward to a great 2021. We’ve set some lofty goals for ourselves that we believe we can achieve. I’ve said this many times before but the biggest compliment you can ever pay us is to refer others to us that we can help! 

Have a great year and contact us to help you stay on top of these trends for 2021.

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