When it comes to digital marketing trends, the number of voices telling you what your business should do can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s helpful to turn to a few online resources that you trust to deliver relevant and accurate information and inform your digital marketing decisions in 2021.
Why is it important for brands to stay up-to-date with digital marketing?
Digital marketing entails all the ways in which your brand engages, informs, and converts customers online. It includes advertising, as well as sales and customer service.
The key to maintaining and increasing your digital marketing ROI means knowing where your customers are, how they prefer to connect with the brands that they love, and the techniques/messages that resonate with those customers.
Your marketing budget should exhibit a certain amount of agility. Within any industry where consumer preferences change, it’s critical that your marketing team understand what works and what doesn’t.
Image via Statista
Digital marketing offers new ways to engage customers, as well as remarkably specific data to help your brand increase its sales and lead generation. Staying up to date with the latest trends allows you to access these benefits on a regular basis.
How to Use GRIN’s Top Digital Marketing Sites List
The first step to getting the most out of our top digital marketing websites list is to visit the site and explore all available features. To help you, we noted specific parts to each website where you are likely to get the most benefit.
Second, keep the sites you like – ditch the ones you don’t. Every expert marketer has their favorite information source, and so should you.
Third, find out where your favorite information source gets its information. For example, if your favorite blog frequently quotes another agency or data source, venture onto that brand’s website, too. These information “deep dives” can uncover some hidden gems in your quest for the latest in digital marketing insights.
What steps can brands take to keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing?
After you find your preferred information sources, your next step is to dive in and reap the benefits. The progression below can help you achieve a healthy balance of research and practice to keep you on the cutting edge in your industry.
It makes little sense to throw around marketing terms and techniques if you don’t actually know what they are and how they work. That’s what research is for.
Using the sources below, take the time to research the digital marketing practices that are working. Next, dig deeper to understand how each practice is done, as well as available tools for helping you achieve your marketing goals and KPIs.
Once you’ve researched a trend, it’s time to put that information into practice. Putting information into practice could mean making minor adjustments, such as updating your buyer personas or moving money from one channel to another.
In some cases, understanding digital marketing trends means rebuilding your entire marketing mix to achieve the highest possible ROI.
The reality is that any marketing campaign or method requires a certain level of trial and error. Not only does it take some technical skills to master a new marketing approach, but it also requires experiential knowledge to make profitable adjustments to a strategy along the way.
A/B testing is a prime example of how trial-and-error can refine your approach within channels like PPC ads and email marketing. You can apply the same principles to any technique and strategy.
Without hard data, there’s no way to know for sure whether or not your approach is working. Therefore, make sure that you are tracking your work and establishing your KPIs based on specific metrics.
Upon putting your research into practice and testing variations on your strategies, you’ll be better equipped to research further and continue to iterate your marketing process.
What industries are getting the most from digital?
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, all marketing is going digital. The age of digital marketing has incredible implications for every industry, including storefront retail, trades businesses/contractors, geriatric services, and more. (That’s not to say that non-digital mediums are going away; rather, it is to say that every marketing mix must take digital capabilities into serious consideration.)
The Millennial generation is the first to put incredible demands on digital marketing capabilities, such as social commerce, UX design, and mobile marketing. Because of this, no industry is immune from digital disruption in marketing and advertising.
That said, the following industries stand out as gaining the most traction from digital marketing investments:
- eCommerce Retail
- Remote and Virtual Services
“Keeping up with the latest trends in ecommerce, including both backend efficiencies and frontend conversion-optimizing experiences, is paramount to growing in the retail landscape of 2020.” – BigCommerce, 2020
It stands to reason that online shopping would benefit from strategic digital marketing. Consumers long for an increasingly streamlined shopping experience that includes in-app shopping, fewer clicks, informative content, and faster shipping.
The rise of influencers among eCommerce buyer behavior factors also forces brands and platforms to merge customer advocacy into more established digital marketing mediums, such as paid media, email marketing, and social media strategy.
Among the leading eCommerce retail categories are:
- Health and wellness products
- Home decor
- SMART home devices
Remote and Virtual Services
While eCommerce retail dabbles primarily in B2C and DTC products, virtual services encompasses a vast array of B2C and B2B deliverables. Many organizations are finding that they can deliver quality services virtually, lower their costs, and then pass those savings onto customers and clients.
Particularly among professional services providers, the challenge for most is to embrace a process of digital transformation. Prior to COVID-19, digital change was already on the rise, especially among marketers in tech, education, and healthcare. The global pandemic merely accelerated disruptions in Martech.
The following remote and virtual services companies increasing their use of digital marketing are:
- Coaching (life, nutrition, fitness, professional, etc.)
- Digital marketing
- Web development
- Data analytics
- Digital transformation services and consulting
- Legal services
- Banking and financial services
Image via Statista
Car sales for both new and used vehicles rose as ridesharing became more popular and accessible worldwide. Unemployed and underemployed drivers found that they could easily afford a car payment and make a little extra cash on the side.
In light of the current pandemic, most consumers are staying home. But car sales began to rebound in the summer of 2020 as more consumers preferred to invest in their own vehicles instead of risk infection through Uber-ing and mass transit services.
Vehicle buyers have long relied on content marketing to stay informed on vehicle performance and pricing. Today, those buyer trends are more resilient than ever as dealers and manufacturers try to keep up with demand.
That said, car buying remains a predominantly in-person shopping experience. To reduce the amount of time at a dealership or on someone else’s property, consumers prefer to research, compare, and contact sellers online before venturing on a test drive.
Top Sites to Keep Up with the Changing Trends in Digital Marketing by Industry
Narrowing down top sites that provide digital marketing insights is difficult, since there are so many great resources (and most of them free). Oftentimes, a Google search on specific digital marketing channels and techniques can deliver a quality list of guides and blogs.
But we’ve found the following nine resources (segmented by industry) to consistently deliver top-notch insights on the latest digital marketing trends.
Top Sites for Digital Marketing Trends in eCommerce Retail
Image via BigCommerce
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform with access to massive data sets for retail marketers looking for information. We recommend starting with BigCommerce’s Learning Resources page. Here you will find well-written eguides and article libraries on nearly any eCommerce marketing topic that you can imagine.
Image via Think with Google
Think with Google is one of Google’s many open-source solutions for marketers and data analysts. Due to its role as the leading search engine since its launch, Google is home to the largest amount of consumer query data. eCommerce marketers that regularly follow Think with Google articles will remain on the cutting edge of digital marketing in retail.
The entire website is a gold mine for retail marketers. Think with Google provides free content among four categories:
- Consumer Insights
- Marketing Strategies
- Future of Marketing
- Tools (a miscellaneous category for online marketers)
Image via Oberlo
Oberlo is a favorite dropshipping app that works with Shopify. Like BigCommerce, Oberlo draws from its rich database and research team to provide some of the best eCommerce retail insights online.
From the Oberlo home page, hover over the Topics menu and navigate to More Stuff. Within More Stuff, you can access articles, podcasts, and more. Additionally, you can peruse Level Up Marketing, Oberlo’s course page (yes, these courses are free!).
Top Sites for Digital Marketing Trends in Remote and Virtual Services
Image via Khoros
Khoros is a full-service agency for smaller agencies and organizations within B2C and B2B markets. The company’s “bread and butter” is customer engagement and helping brands nurture long-term customer relationships. Khoros’ Resource Center is one of our favorites for virtual services companies and covers nearly every topic imaginable.
Image via Salesforce
Salesforce is the leading customer relationship management software platform. Like BigCommerce and Oberlo, it houses impressive databases, particularly among industries that manage sensitive information on clients and prospects.
Salesforce’s Resource Center includes all the following for remote-based service companies:
Image via Statista
Statista is, as the name suggests, the leading brand online for statistics aggregation, charts, reports, and infographics. While some insights are free, the best reports and data sets require a paid subscription.
Statista manages its own research team, and it also partners with other businesses that publish market and consumer data (including other brands listed above and below). The best part about this website is that data is easy to find and follow. Marketers can download aesthetically-pleasing powerpoint presentations and charts for internal research and/or content creation.
For best results, we recommend investing in a membership and then taking the quick onboarding webinar. Doing so will help you access all available data, as well as help you feel comfortable with the platform.
Top Sites for Digital Marketing Trends in Automotive
Image via AutoConversion
AutoConversion is a full media and advertising firm for automotive companies and their associates. The company site manages a Learning Center for clients and prospects.
You can access several video shows and podcasts for the latest news and talks with automotive marketing experts, as well as the company blog. Finally, you can join AutoConversion’s LinkedIn or Slack communities for forum-style insights.
Image via Statista
Though we recommended Statista for professional virtual services marketers (see above), the site also has a significant database of consumer, marketing, and manufacturer research for automotive digital marketers.
Image via Carfax
Carfax for Dealers provides retail services for business and private vehicle sellers. Not to be confused with Carfax.com (a car buyer’s guide), Carfax for Dealers helps sellers understand automobile value and demand while also delivering a suite of digital marketing services.
The Resource Library lists article titles and reports by one of three categories:
- Acquisition (purchasing vehicles for reselling)
In Closing – Changing Trends in Digital Marketing
Digital marketers understand that the digital landscape is ever-changing. Buyer preferences evolve rapidly just as new generations of shoppers enter the marketplace. The key to any sustainable digital marketing strategy is to use expert opinion and research to inform one’s decisions.