2021 CEO Priorities: Digital Marketing or Bust
Despite the events of 2020, CEOs are focused on growth in 2021. And, despite continuing uncertainty as we head into 2021, CEOs are confident about the business environment 12 months from now. But many CEOs — 40% — believe growth will be slow going.
To achieve the growth necessary to survive and to be confident about what their business will look like by the close of 2021, CEOs need to figure out how they are going to achieve that.
And they may be at odds with what the CMO wants. According to Gartner research, the majority of CMOs believe recovery is going to be quick and sharp and are more likely to preserve the status quo in the meantime.
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed
What we’ve learned in this past year is that the way we do business has changed forever. From a critical shift in how we work, learn, live and search, businesses had to get creative and aggressive to stay relevant in what will now be the most important arena to do business: online.
The status quo is simply not an option for most businesses moving forward. As such, CEOs need to understand that they have no choice but to embrace digital marketing tighter than ever.
Here’s the thing about making sound investments in digital advertising and SEO: Together, these two strategies support any long-term and short-term business goal you are pursuing. The combination keeps you relevant and visible online despite current events. And it allows you to be a reliable presence for your target audience.
Companies like Google have a lot planned in 2021 (the page experience update is just one of many). Without the skills necessary to navigate their own plans and changes to the search engines, websites will forever be lost — relegated to Page 2 and beyond of the search results (what we in the industry refer to as the best place to hide a dead body).
Budgets in Focus
As businesses pivot, digital channels are set to benefit from marketing budgets in the coming year more than offline investments.
According to Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey 2020-2021, digital advertising will be the beneficiary of the most dollars.
It’s nice to see that SEO makes the top five priorities. The survey found that 69% said they would increase their investment in SEO, and 78% said the same for digital advertising.
If CEOs don’t win in early 2021, they may find their company’s future at risk. The risk to business leaders is so high that many will pay whatever it takes for the highest probability of success. That means hiring the best and brightest experts who live and breathe the digital marketing channel you want to win.
According to Gartner though, in response to the pandemic, 32% of companies have shifted work from agency services to in-house employees. Yet Gartner recognizes that “this shift from working with agencies to bringing work in-house is a long-term investment and involves more financial risk than relying on a contracted partner.”
Make no mistake: Not hiring the best means leaders will probably fail to compete, and they will be held accountable for failures by an increasingly knowledgeable board of directors. The motivated business competition is going to have quick-moving, aggressive digital marketers, and any businesses not in the race early will be left behind.
Understand that your competition will pull ahead if you hesitate for one moment. If you are afraid to enter the game now, by April, you will likely face a competitor that started in January. Do you want to be that person who delayed the process? Does your job depend upon success? Does your business depend on it?
Let us know if you’d like to discuss your situation. Contact us to get a free quote for digital marketing services from BCI.