Fearless Forecast: Your Digital Marketing Agency in 2021

If there’s one positive thing that came out of 2020, it’s that businesses have been forced into the next stage of evolution – Digitalization.

As businesses transitioned to some form of digital platform by force of necessity, two surprising realizations became apparent:

A physical office is not needed for a company to operate profitably. 

Employees don’t need to work in a physical office in order to be productive. 

Work from home arrangements opened several doors of opportunity for employers and employees alike. And since these opportunities are mostly pertinent to savings in operational costs on the part of employers and business owners, it is safe to assume that in 2021 and beyond, companies will retain work from home arrangements either partially or in full.

Expert Forecast: Leveraging Global Remote Work Forces in 2021

Digital marketing agencies have not been exempted from the movement towards a largely digitalized operation.

Even before the pandemic, disruption has already begun among the top digital marketing agencies in the world. More and more brands have been transitioning to offshore agencies for their marketing campaigns. While the number one motivation for this is cheaper cost, in recent years, these offshore agencies’ quality of work has already become at par with A-List agencies from New York and Los Angeles. 

This has forced a lot of digital agencies to employ globally-distributed creative teams as a way to adapt. They see this as a way to expand and deepen their existing capabilities by tapping into a larger pool of talents without necessarily increasing their operational spending. 

Moreover, this allowed them to capture high-caliber talent worldwide and make them part of their teams instead of having to compete with them. 

So instead of competing with the web design wizardry of Sandeep in India, who freelances for a Philippines-based digital marketing agency, a US agency is now more keen on hiring Sandeep and 2 of his best friends who also do web design and take advantage of their expertise and relatively low salary packages.

And this trend is steadily gaining more and more traction among US digital agency production teams. Some have already promoted their in-house talents into team lead positions who, in turn, manage their offshore teams. 

In effect, Dave, who used to be the one-man SEO team of a Manhattan agency, now manages a team of 4 SEO specialists located in Southeast Asia, whom they pay the equivalent salary of 1 US-based SEO specialist. And his agency, which only used to handle 3-5 SEO campaigns per month, is now expertly handling 25 SEO campaigns for various companies at any given time.

Expanded teams equal to an expanded capacity to take in more clients coupled with a relatively low expansion budget – who will say no to that?

And here’s the kicker – digital agencies who have weathered 2020 using this setup now understand the growth potential this can bring them. They have started to scale up operations and even started offering new services they couldn’t provide before. And it’s all because they have learned to tap into the power of a global talent pool.

The high likelihood of work from home arrangements persisting in 2021 and beyond for most companies including digital marketing agencies only cements the fact that leveraging global remote workforces is the way to go.

Areas of Opportunity for Digital Agencies

As 2021 opens up with an entirely new set of challenges, digital marketing agencies are hard-pressed into moving out of their comfort zones and exploring new horizons to survive.

As previously discussed, leveraging global remote workforces is one of the most significant opportunities for digital marketing agencies in 2021. For agencies, who are yet to take the plunge, there’s no better time than now. However, for agencies who have already tested the waters and found it to be warm enough for a good swim, the next question could be, “Which services and talents are good to be explored next?”

Experts agree that the following are the biggest areas of opportunity for digital marketing agencies in 2021 and beyond:

Voice search SEO – with the fear of COVID-19 infection still a real thing, people are drawn towards hands-free internet searches. Gartner reports that 32% of consumers are extremely interested in hands-free technology that limits touching and possible contamination

Moreover, 55% of internet users right now actively use voice search through their smartphones. And 39.4% of US internet users operate and use a voice assistant at least once a month.

Voice search SEO is still in its relative infancy compared to regular SEO but with the way things are shaping up right now, we can expect the technology to quickly gain momentum through 2021 and beyond.

Image search SEO – one significant effect of the pandemic is that a big part of the demographic that didn’t really care much about the internet are now forced to learn it and navigate it – the Boomers. And since a large percentage of the Boomers make up the spending public, it is vital to make sure that marketing efforts don’t leave them behind.

It is in this sense that image search SEO is fast gaining traction as one of the most important marketing vehicles in the coming years. After all, you can’t expect all late 50’s dads to know how to search for a good looking watch they saw in a photo somewhere. Hence, image search.

But other than just for Boomers, the ever-increasing popularity of social media has also contributed immensely to the rising popularity of image search SEO. When someone sees a friend, a relative, or a celebrity wearing a particular pair of jeans, a good-looking pair of sunglasses, or a sweater in a Facebook post, doing an image search is the fastest way to find out the brand, price, and other details about the item.

Interactive content – an inevitable result of the steep increase in digitalization is that there are even more brands competing for the same pair of eyes anywhere. Thus, the need to differentiate your marketing for it to stand out among the rest is of absolute importance.

Quizzes, polls, and custom games are among the most common interactive content used by marketers nowadays. However, it’s not enough to use these vehicles to create a successful campaign. Ultimately, creativity and the ability to think outside the box when it comes to coming up with interactive content can make or break a marketing campaign.

Augmented reality and virtual reality – in recent years, technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality have found their way into the marketing world. Because of the constant battle for interactive content, marketers have started looking into augmented reality and virtual reality as a means of crafting experiences, encouraging engagement, and generating conversions.

An example of using these technologies in marketing is in real estate. Instead of handing out brochures and marketing packs when pre-selling condos and townhouses, real estate brokers and realtors have started using augmented reality and virtual reality to “bring prospects into the property” even before it has been constructed. This allows prospects to “see themselves” in the properties, which is an immensely powerful marketing tool.

Use of influencers – the continued rise of social media influencers has provided brands with a marketing shortcut as far as reaching target audiences is concerned. In fact, there are those who believe that the use of influencers has totally rendered PPC obsolete. After all, it’s easier to partner up with a YouTube content creator with several million followers and have him say, “Buy this!” than to launch a PPC campaign and get people to click something and pray for them to buy.

On the other hand, some think that instead of choosing one or the other, finding ways to use both influencers and PPC in marketing is the better alternative.

Whichever the case may be, influencer marketing is here to stay and it is up to marketers to take advantage of this trend to come up with successful campaigns.

The C9 Staff Solution

C9 Staff has been leading the way in providing top-quality and high-caliber talent to digital marketing agencies in the US. 

Our access to and unique knowledge of the top global recruitment markets allows us to find, recruit, and hire the best people with the best talents and skills to fill any digital marketing agency creative team position.

Agencies who are already familiar with the use of remote staff in their operations find that teaming up with C9 Staff allows them to expand their existing teams and even broaden their service offerings while keeping their operational expenses relatively low. In effect, C9 Staff has allowed them to scale up their existing service offerings, experiment with new ones, fine-tune on the more successful new ventures, and finally scaling those up too. And all these are made possible without breaking the bank.

For agencies who are new to using remote staff to expand their creative teams, C9 Staff provides an inexpensive and highly-supportive environment to explore this expansion avenue. C9 Staff can provide staffing solutions for a wide range of positions, from client-facing to back-office roles, from creative to technical positions, from customer service to technical support staff, and from management to production positions.

To find out more about how C9 Staff can become your digital marketing agency’s growth partner for 2021 and beyond, call us for a free consultation today.

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