The State of Digital Marketing in 2021: How COVID-19 Has Influenced Strategy

As 2020 was a challenging year for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we set out to discover how companies across Europe adapted and planned for their digital marketing strategy in 2021. Mapp conducted a survey to identify marketing priorities, challenges, industry trends, planned investments, and the impact on eCommerce. In total, 1,000 marketers from the agency, retail, finance, media & publishing, telecommunications, and tourism & leisure sectors were surveyed in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Our study provides key insights into what strategies and practices perform best, including how these vary across industries and regions.

COVID-19 has drastically accelerated digital business models. Our market study shows that more than half of the companies have increased their investment in digital and technology innovation as a result of the pandemic. However, we also found that the full potential of personalization is far from being realized for most businesses. In the future, customer intelligence and marketing analytics will be critical in providing precise, real-time customer insights to optimally use marketing budgets and score points with the end customer through a customized journey.

Want to see all of the results? Download our infographic for each region here:

 The State of Digital Marketing in the UK

 The State of Digital Marketing in Italy

 The State of Digital Marketing in Germany


Key Insights About the State of Digital Marketing in 2021:

(The stats below are based on the UK market and vary between European regions)


1. Marketers are focusing on website personalization

Marketers are tailoring their website to individual visitors, so that consumers see the products most likely to motivate action. A third of the respondents in the UK already provide a personalized experience on their website, with a further 13% looking to do so this year. Currently, only a 25% use dynamic content on their website, but over half are planning to introduce it in 2021.

The goal is to keep visitors on your website longer by engaging them in smarter ways. Interests and needs vary when it comes to new website visitors, returning visitors or long-term customers, so you need to treat them differently too.

Here’s how you can implement web personalization in 2021:


2. Data management continues to be a challenge

Unlocking the power of their own data is one of the major challenges that marketers face right now. Our study revealed that 63% of businesses struggle with unconnected data sets, providing them with only a partial view of customer behavior. At the same time, three quarters of respondents said they can identify less than 20% of customers who visit their website and 38% can only identify less than 10%.

Here’s how you can tackle this challenge in 2021:


3. Investments in customer engagement prove successful

Where are marketers investing their budget in 2021? Customer engagement technology! These platforms help marketers manage the customer journey in a data-driven way. In fact, those who use a customer engagement platform report very high levels of satisfaction, with 67% rating their customer engagement vendor 4 or 5 out of 5 during the pandemic.

It’s all about obtaining that 360-degree view of each individual customer, across all channels and devices, and leveraging that customer knowledge to run customer-centric and highly personalized marketing campaigns.

Here’s how you can reap the benefits of customer engagement in 2021:


How are marketers preparing for a successful 2021?
Download our infographic to get the results of our State of Digital Marketing survey:

The State of Digital Marketing in the UK

The State of Digital Marketing in Italy

The State of Digital Marketing in Germany