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Looking forward to 2021: 4 questions with Jamie Watson 

Smarter digital marketing shaped by a pandemic

When we reflect on the past 12 months, every company has faced unexpected challenges and experienced all manner of pressures. As a digital agency, we have witnessed changes in consumer behaviour that we could not have predicted. We feel now is time to harness what we can learn for future use and what opportunities there are in the here and now.

Pixel8s MD Jamie Watson reviews the changing marketing landscape of the last year and explains how it’s affected the way we work with our existing clients and the impact on our client’s strategies for the next 12 months. 


Describe how the last year has been for you as being a leader of Digital Marketing

No business has been immune from the effects of 2020 – this is something that I don’t need to reiterate. What is exciting and also challenging at the same time is helping our clients navigate these challenging times. We’ve always supported our clients to shape their marketing mix to suit the evolving landscape. We know that audiences want more digital than ever before, so we’ve found ourselves assisting clients in delivering new reactive communication. 

As an agency, we’ve spent the last few years building our processes and smarter services to suit our Smarter Way of working and whilst clients were slow to adopt at first, the pandemic has aligned our offering to the needs of our clients.

As a result, we’ve added new clients without losing our existing ones, and I don’t think this would have happened had we not defined our offering. For the first time, businesses are looking for a blend of marketing skills and questioning whether their current services are fit for purpose. Companies that will survive and thrive are the ones that can adapt in preparation for the new digital-focused world quickly. We know businesses don’t have the same budgets as before, but they still need to hit targets, and that’s where our ‘Working Smarter’ process shines. It allows businesses to choose the right skills for specific business goals without having to increase their headcount. 


How challenging has it been for your clients? 

Our clients, namely in the hotel and leisure and hospitality sector, have been affected in immeasurable ways. It’s been incredibly fast-paced and often challenging to create new marketing messages.  At first, many businesses were reluctant to change, hoping that this would be over sooner rather than later. However, most companies have now accelerated their digital plans, which has enabled them to take full advantage of the digital landscape and have elevated their business in certain situations. If we as business owners have changed our buying habits, our customers have too – it’s that simple. Purchasing habits have changed almost overnight, accelerating the need for an improved digital presence. 

People are buying things at 6:45 am over a cup of coffee; before 2020 that wasn’t happening as much. We now have to think about what message will engage the end-user at 8 am. That’s pretty cool, and it’s the stuff we enjoy. It’s the new norm – as is our new clients’ willingness to adopt our Working Smarter process, having only recently caught up with us on Zoom! 


What is one bit of advice you have for a business at the moment? 

Covid has changed some things and accelerated others. The old rules still apply but we all need to focus on doing things differently. Whilst the acceleration of change will slow post covid, the new norm is here to stay and so is our proven Working Smarter process, so let’s all make the most of it. Fortunately, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed. The key to great marketing is to know your customers, where they are, and what they want. This is the only way to build long-lasting relationships with those who make repeat purchases and refer friends. There are a few questions that I would encourage any business owner to ask themselves about their target audience; 

  • What goals affect their buying decisions? 
  • Where online is your audience spending most of the time, and what type of messaging gets them engaged?
  • How long does an average product purchase take, and what affects the typical journey?

If the answer to any of these questions is different now from what it was this time last year, it may be time to look at how competitively your brand is?.  No one is suggesting tearing up the rulebook, and this innovation is about merely maintaining a relevant conversation with the audience most likely to purchase. 

Secondly,  look closely at your proposition, processes and people to ensure that you are ready for the future?. Do you have the right blend of skills? Do you have the right people to achieve your goals? Can your current marketing processes drive the future growth that you are looking to achieve?


What changes have been put in place at Pixel8 and what will remain?

Ideation and creativity will always be at the heart of our culture and that doesn’t change. Great messaging that gets to the heart of a customer’s challenges and needs will always remain, however, the channels and touchpoints for delivery have changed and evolved. Just look at the emergence of the latest products in, House Party and Tik Tok!

Our ‘Working Smarter’ process isn’t going anywhere either, we have been accelerating our focus towards digital for a number of years. The concept of change and innovation might seem daunting to others, but that’s where we can really help. What the last 12 months have enabled us to do is prove that our smarter way of working and blend of creative services will provide great value for our clients and enables them to take full advantage of the new business and consumer landscape. Given the ease by which we can now be face to face, and the anxiety that the current situation brings, our client contact is scheduled daily/weekly and our monthly time together is sacrosanct.

Working Smarter is the perfect creative toolkit that can serve every possible creative task a client needs. When new clients join us, they are each provided with a tailored creative toolbox. All you need to do is pick the best tools for your business needs; the added benefit of this being, we have a fully qualified team of creative and digital specialists right here to help you use these innovative, creative tools when you need them most! 

Our talented team of thinkers, creators, problem solvers, digital masters, and strategic planners are all seamlessly blended to provide you with award-winning results, and we’re delighted that our clients continue to enjoy the smarter service we provide.


What to take away and consider in your 2021 digital strategy

As we move forward, the need to adapt to the changing digital landscape is evident. New digital channels have emerged, such as TikTok, and new buying behaviours are here to stay due to the pandemic. Marketing is more conversational and reactive in 2021, and having the right creative toolkit is key to formulating a successful strategic approach. When you’re considering the rest of 2021, remember to ask yourself the following questions about your customers. 

  • What goals affect their buying decisions? 
  • Where online is our audience most of the time, and what type of messaging will engage them?
  • How long does an average product purchase take, and what affects the typical journey?

If you currently don’t have the digital marketing expertise or internal resources right now or are looking to consolidate your marketing spend and are interested in learning how our ‘Working Smarter’ model can help. Then let’s talk; complete the form, pick up the phone or email us at hello@pixel8ltd.com.

We are ‘Working Smarter’ for you.