11 Areas That Are Worth The Marketing Investment In 2021

When a business invests money into a marketing channel, it expects to see some level of return on that investment. In times of crisis or uncertainty, marketing and advertising departments may need to drastically reduce their budgets, and that means learning to use limited funds more efficiently.

Finding the most effective ways to maximize their spend is going to be a necessity for many businesses that survived the challenges of last year and, despite smaller budgets, intend to continue thriving.

Below, 11 associates of Forbes Agency Council examine the best places to invest marketing dollars in 2021 and provide advice on how your organization can come out ahead by spending your budget in these smart focus areas.

Forbes Agency Council members share marketing insights.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Digital

Digital continues to be the best spend with the greatest ability to prove ROI. If your budget is small, focus on PPC and organic search. Move into other media as budget allows and always think outside of the box. Encourage clients to focus on their current clients and growing loyalty with their current customers. It’s much easier to grow accounts than to gain new accounts. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

2. Social

Social for sure! Social advertising is the best bang for the buck, especially in these unprecedented times. People are on their screens way more than anywhere else right now, and making purchases through digital at a rapid rate. Take advantage of it! And when you do, speak to the unique circumstances of this time. Offer reassurance and customers will flock to you. If it’s authentic, that is. – Lynne Golodner, Your People LLC

3. LinkedIn

For business-to-business in particular, advertising relies on very tight audience targeting (especially for those who need to spend judiciously). In our experience, LinkedIn delivers the best ability to zero in on audiences. However, it takes some real finessing and knowledge of the back end to maximize results. – Natalie Nathanson, Magnetude Consulting

4. YouTube

YouTube is going to make a comeback in 2021, big time. Unless you have $5,000 to $10,000 a month to invest in digital ads, save your pennies and collaborate on a long-term basis with influencers who are the right target-market fit for your brand. Track results via affiliate links and insights; this will tell you which influencers are worth the ongoing investment. – Sophie Bowman, Business Owner Society

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

5. Influencers And Product Placement

Brands should prioritize ad spend in influencer marketing across social media and product placement in streaming content. These forms of advertising are non-disruptive to content, making them a must-have for any modern marketing strategy. To execute the best campaigns and placements, agencies should turn to artificial intelligence to determine the shows, films and creators that match the brand’s values and goals. – Ricky Ray Butler, BEN

6. New Platforms

There have never been more self-service ad opportunities. Platforms outside of the usual suspects can drive big returns for a small spend. This coming year, test a new platform that your competition isn’t exploring. Examples include TikTok, Spotify, Reddit and NextDoor. Establish a test budget and scale what works. – John Keehler, RUNNER Agency

7. Out-Of-Home Advertising

Out-of-home advertising is going to be more effective than ever, once things start to open up again in 2021. Consumers are desensitized to digital, even though it’s the go-to for many agencies and brands due to its measurability. Digital definitely serves its purpose; however, agencies need to look beyond this and become more diverse in their media buying to maintain engagement with consumers. – Skye Suttenfield, Seen Media Group

8. Connected TV

We continue to believe that a customer-first strategy wins the day and that you need to have a healthy media mix. We expect to invest more in CTV this year, with digital and social remaining as mainstays in most of our plans. Inventory can get tight at important times of the year, so be sure to lock up what you can via one-to-one deals and supplement with many-to-one deals as needed. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

9. Public Relations

You can’t go past public relations. PR is valuable on so many levels. It helps position a brand as a leader in its field and boosts SEO rankings, and the press stories make great content, too, which can then be used for remarketing on social media. To get ahead, start today by determining your PR strategy for the year, write thought leadership pieces and pitch stories to media outlets your audience reads. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

10. Marketplaces

With so much online shopping and new ways to purchase online, put your money in marketplaces. Amazon is still king, but consumers are also looking toward other marketplace solutions (think Walmart) as they spend more time at home. Expect more marketplaces to pop up in 2021, which will be a great way for brands to get ahead of competitors. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

11. The Super Bowl

The best place to spend your budget is on Super Bowl ads (if you can afford it). Digital comes second. Find out where your audience spends most of their time, then advertise to them by addressing their current challenges and showing them authentic ways to solve those. And don’t forget: Be creative in your creatives. Boring ads are boring. It’s time for fresh ideas. – Tim Rath, YOYABA GmbH

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