2020 Digital Marketing Trends

2020 Digital Marketing Trends – 3 to Follow Right Now.

As you look at whether your 2020 marketing needs a mid-year pivot, don’t forget about your digital marketing. As always, digital experiences – including your website, mobile user experience, social presence, blog and other digital content must be a critical component of your overall marketing strategy. And especially now, there are some compelling reasons to reexamine your marketing presence – and follow the 2020 digital marketing trends that will make a difference going forward.

We recently had a terrific discussion with our longtime partner, Jason Sirotin, co-founder and CMO at Brain Bytes Creative. In it, we tackled a lot of big ideas, including three 2020 digital marketing trends that smart businesses will want to follow:

  • Digital Trend 1: Audio. "Hey Siri." "Okay Google." "Alexa." If you’ve uttered these phrases (or heard anyone else say them), you know: audio search is becoming more deeply embedded in the way people live and work. So, it stands to reason that audio content is going to matter. Right now, you get answers in the digital assistant's voice, based on text-based content. That's not going to change, especially with requests for quick facts. But increasingly, we can expect to hear answers directly from the experts. Which means that now is the time to start creating podcasts and other audio elements for your pages. That way, when people ask the right questions, you and your brand representatives will give them the answers.
  • Digital Trend 2: Proximity and Location. You know that old real estate saying that the three most important things for any business are "Location, location, location?" Well, with everyone largely carrying their search devices around with them, search engines will favor results that are nearby. That doesn’t mean that you should pepper every other sentence of your online presence with your location(s) – Google will rightly see this as inauthentic. But you should make sure that search engines can easily recognize where your products and services are.
  • Digital Trend 3: Your Most Important Location – Online. There’s another old saying, newer than the one about location: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” That’s never been truer – especially with brick and mortar businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19. Increasingly, many of those businesses will reopen. But until consistent behaviors, treatments and a vaccine reduce the risks associated with face-to-face interaction, the ability to do business online is more critical than ever. Be sure that you give clients and customers the ability to do business with you without having to enter a building or engage face-to-face with staff. And make that experience as rich, full-featured and above all easy as possible.

Beyond those trends, two other important messages for marketers emerged repeatedly. First, as Jason says, “The work is never “done” (nor should it be).” Remember that digital marketing, like all marketing, is a marathon, not a sprint. So, yes, look at what has worked in the past, but focus on what will be necessary for the future. As Jason explained, “Google and the other search engines are continually learning and evolving. Your digital presence needs to do the same.” Google has been focusing on Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) since 2018. However, their most recent core update includes adjustments for relevance because what was authoritative and trustworthy last year may no longer be so today. Your content must come together as a continually updated, interconnected web of relevant information, reinforcing your authority and connections to others who trust you.

Second, do it right or don’t do it at all. A successful digital presence requires ongoing research to make sure your content matches the way people are searching. Jason recommends using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Serpfox and SEMRush. It’s also important to couple those tools with regular Google, Twitter and Instagram searches for terms, as well as searches of competitive and complementary sites (i.e., similar businesses in different industries). A clear-eyed interpretation of the data is essential to eliminate the problems of inherent bias. And while conducting this research isn't difficult, it is time-consuming.

In other words, effective digital marketing is something that your team probably can do, but there are good reasons to partner with experts – for advice and direction, if not for the continual work of content development. Either way, as 2020 shapes up to be a watershed year for many businesses and industries, now is a critical time to capitalize on the trends that will make a difference going forward.

strategic content

Trying to Envision the Right Content Strategy? Try These Content Lenses

You've got a website. You update it from time to time. You write blogs and post on social media. But guess what – when it comes to content, that's not enough anymore. To get your messages and information to the people you need to reach, you've got to have a content strategy. That is, you need a strategic combination of rich content that will help you engage with your audiences (including prospects, customers, influencers and even employees).

When you think of the different types of content you can provide to each audience, it helps to consider them through these three lenses:

  • Lens #1: Your Sales Funnel: Different types of content will be helpful to the people you want to reach at each stage of their journey. In the early “Awareness” stage, you want to help them feel like they’re discovering you, even as you are reaching out to them. As they progress to the “Consideration” stage, you aim to support their evaluation process. Finally, as prospects become ready to make their decisions in the “Buy” stage, it’s time to reinforce their confidence, helping them feel secure that in choosing you, they’ve chosen wisely and well.
  • Lens #2: Their Preferred Platform: Where do your audiences want to get different kinds of communications - at work, at home, or in transit? On their laptops, tablets or phones? Through a browser or a dedicated app? In some tangible, analog form like paper? When is it appropriate to reach out to them directly? And when should you streamline their ability to find you via a combination of search engine and social media optimization, as well as well-placed and timely advertising, articles, sponsorships, etc.
  • Lens #3: Their Experience: Many of us like to believe that our buying decisions are based solely on objective information and logic. But the truth is that our subjective emotions factor significantly into all of our decisions. Your audience’s overall experience reflects both essential information and emotional connection – and the right content strategy meets them at multiple points along that objective-to-subjective continuum.


These are just a few components of a comprehensive content strategy. You can - and should - examine many types of content through these lenses as you build yours.


Look through all three lenses together, and you will see how the right strategic combination of content will help you reach all of your audiences:

  • At every point in their journey
  • Where and how they want
  • In ways that touch them both objectively and emotionally.

In short, you’ll have a fully visualized content strategy to help you both connect with and guide everyone your business wants to influence and engage.

Thought Leadership: What it Is, Why it Matters, How to Achieve it.

What is Thought Leadership?

You recognize it when you see it. Sometimes, it’s a codified approach to your business that goes beyond “the way things have always been done.”  Other times, it connects the dots of experience, information, trends and statistics in ways that demonstrate fresh perspectives. Almost always, thought leadership asks and explores important questions like, “Why?” and “What if?” And, it provides answers that are accessible, attractive and compelling.

Thought leadership matters to your audiences – whether they’re customers, prospects, job candidates, employees, colleagues or partners. That’s because thought leaders provide insights into their business and brands that can help them succeed. They clarify perspectives and help them make smart decisions. Likewise, when you are the source of that thought leadership, you have taken a giant step toward reinforcing your credibility as a trusted resource and authority.

Content Marketing is the Key

If a great idea is published and nobody reads it, it’s not really thought leadership. So, yes, you have to create great content. You also have to develop a compelling strategy for distributing that content where and how your audiences want it. Search engine optimization is part of the process. So is placement. Find the sites that your customers and potential customers frequent – and find ways to get mentioned there. Maybe you can work out a reciprocal blog arrangement. If your audiences spend time on key online user groups, you should be there, too.

Your distribution approach should also include ways to leverage your thought leadership across multiple media. Its first appearance may be in a whitepaper. But it could also be reframed as an entertaining infographic, video or interactive eBook. If you're interviewed for a podcast or article, those compelling concepts and insights should show up there, too. Put it all together, and you will inform, inspire and even entertain your audiences. You also will reinforce your position as a trusted authority and move toward achieving trust, buy-in and advocacy.

Could You Be a Thought Leader?

It’s a heady question. Think about your areas of expertise, passion and focus. Consider the big questions that your audiences are asking: Where is this industry going, and why? What are the internal and external forces behind critical changes? What conventional approaches no longer work – and what new ones do? Ask yourself what kinds of issues worry your customers – and how you can codify insights that help them.

Then, look at the different ways in which you should be sharing your perspectives. The best thought leadership resonates with people in different ways, from the rational to the emotional. And all of those ways are important as you help take people through multiple levels of awareness and enthusiasm.

Finally, remember that any new, innovative ideas will have to withstand challenges., consider the degree to which you’re willing and able to defend your ideas. Achieving the respect and authority that comes with recognized thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. But the journey through developing and championing powerful approaches and innovative insights will be worth the effort.

Our Brand Promise

When we work with clients, we talk about the importance of their brand promise – but what does that mean? It’s not necessarily a tagline or headline (although it can be). Nor is it a description of features and benefits (although that can inform it). Your brand promise is what customers can expect to get – both functionally and emotionally – when they engage with the brand. And it’s important because that’s the metric against which your customers will measure their experiences. So, it not only has to sound attractive and compelling; it also has to reflect reality.

This year, as Relish Marketing looks forward to celebrating its 10thanniversary, we’ve taken on ourselves as a client. Which means we’ve been taking a fresh look at our communications and exploring our own brand promise.

To that end, we spoke with many of our clients, representing large enterprises and growing businesses in sectors ranging from consumer goods to professional services. And we learned that the Relish brand promise is driven in equal parts by three key components:

  • Strategy + Creative
    For us, the combination of strategy and creative is so important …. Relish is excellent in both areas – and that’s so much of what makes great work. – Carol Galbreath, Senior Director of PR and Communications, Georgia Dental Association
    [At] some agencies, they start with a creative idea they try to retrofit strategy around… Relish understood what we were looking for… and integrated the creative into that approach. –Chris McCarthy, Marketing Director, Sargento Foods
  • Integrity + Attention
    The work has always been high integrity. You do what you say when you say you will do it.– David Asbury, Chief Executive Officer, Northwestern Benefit
    Even though I know Relish works with other law firms, I never worry that you’ll pitch something I’d see at another firm.– Karen Wilcox, President, Marketing Speaks; Marketing Consultant, Taylor English Duma LLP
  • Trusted Relationships
    You take the time to learn our company and come up with your best work. Over time a strong mutual trust develops that delivers better, honest feedback and improves the work on both sides. – Frans Mahieu, Global Director of Marketing HR, Kimberly-Clark
    It seems to me that Relish has thrived because of repeat business. That’s relationships. – Gareth Clarke, CEO (retired), Irrimax Corporation
    With Relish, I don’t feel like I’m calling on a vendor. I’m calling my team who’s in it with me and knows what we need to do. It’s not transactional, it’s relational.  – Rochelle Valsaint, Manager, Brand and Communications, Lenbrook Senior Living

Most importantly, our clients told us that while each of these components is valuable, the Relish experience happens in the dynamic created by all three together. And that’s our brand promise: The fusion of strategy and creative, driven by a commitment to integrity and attention, sustained by trusted relationships.

Our founder and President, Pam Willoughby, says that these very components are what inspired her to start Relish Marketing in the first place. “I’d seen too many marketing efforts executed in spite of creative that wasn’t strategic, a lack of integrity, and a distance between the agency and its clients. I knew there had to be a better way. And I wondered – if we focused on that fusion of strategy and creative, integrity and trusted relationships, how much better could it be?”

According to our clients, it can be “Powerful,” “Professional,” “Genuine,” and “A lot of fun.” And if we look at our brand promise as the starting point for the next ten years, well, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about what’s ahead.

Life at Relish: Travel Bucket List

With a hint of spring in the air, our thoughts are starting to turn to travel and adventure. The team here at Relish Marketing has a long list of destinations on our bucket list. Here are the places that we want to go for renewal and inspiration.


One destination on my (and my wife’s) bucket list is definitely Italy.  More accurately, Venice and the Tuscan region.  It’s a place I have always admired for its beauty and more importantly, its wonderful food.  Being from New York, I have always loved going to Little Italy, and I really want to try the “real thing.”


When our children were growing up, we entered an au pair program (interestingly, on the advice of our friend, Pam Willoughby!). We’ve since dreamed of a big trip to visit them all in Turkey, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, England, Norway, and Poland (although our Polish au pair now lives in the U.S.).


I love to travel, so there are many places on my list. The places I absolutely have to go to are: Egypt to see the pyramids and the temples. Bora Bora to be on an island far, far away and experience total relaxation in an overwater bungalow. Italy to indulge in pasta and wine while touring the cities and countryside. South Africa/Madagascar to soak up the culture and beautiful beaches.


Like many, my travel bucket list is very long. But, between the descriptions by a favorite author (Orhan Pamuk), memories of a dearly beloved Nancy Drew mystery (The Mysterious Mannequin), and the lure of the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul holds a place at the top of my list.


Ireland - I want to sketch inside as many castles as I can. Japan - Cherry blossoms in the spring. Please! South Africa - Kruger National Park. Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Hotel... look it up. Morocco - Sahara Desert meets Casablanca.


My bucket list is way too long to list, so I will share my next big international trip. My goal is to visit several locations in Thailand at the end of this year and several locations in Africa next year. Both are two big bucket list items.


My #1 travel destination is Palermo, Sicily (and the entire island in general). My grandfather immigrated to America from there when he was a boy in the 1890’s and I’ve always wanted to see where he and my family came from.


I have a very long bucket list for travel. First up is Budapest and Dubrovnik. I have had a thing for Scotland (kilts!) since I was a teenager, so I definitely want to travel there and possibly Ireland. I am also in conversation with a good friend about a trip to Bali or Thailand for a meditation/yoga retreat. The world is such a big place and I have seen so little of it.


There are 2 places that I’d love to visit. For 30 years, I’ve wanted to visit Thailand for its architectural and historic beauty, and for authentic Thai food. It also helps that, from what I hear, there are beautiful beaches! The other place is Paris, because it’s, well... Paris.














Life at Relish: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The transition to 2019 has had all of us at Relish Marketing thinking not so much about resolutions as about what we’d just as soon leave behind with the old year – and what new things we hope to grow for ourselves going forward:

Don’t want in 2019 – Procrastination. Do want in 2019 – To enhance business development for Relish and more yoga for me personally!

I want to leave that propensity to reflect (obsess?) on my to-do list and that nagging feeling that something is undone behind. Good riddance. And in 2019, I want to grow my ability to live and take in the now and enjoy the experience that I am in at any given moment.

I want to get rid of self-doubt and inertia, my two greatest nemeses. And I’m hoping to grow creative expression across all my favorite media – and time to revel with family and friends.

What I hope won’t follow me into 2019: My compulsion to save/store old things that I haven’t used in years. And to grow in the new year? Design and technical skills in video editing/production.

Less division. More compromise.

Something from 2018 that I hope won’t follow me into 2019? My social media addiction. And what I hope will grow for me in the new year?  Money and opportunities :)

Something I do not want is to come close and lose in my fantasy football league AGAIN. One thing I really do want is to travel somewhere I have never been to.

I don’t want to be on social media more than 3 hours total per week unless it’s work-related. I do want to travel more and experience different cultures.

What are YOU looking forward to this year? We’d love to hear about it.


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client workWork with us! Contact here.


Links We Savor: Brain Boosting Apps, Facebook Ad Strategies, Using Data to Influence Consumers & more

4 Ways Data Can Influence Consumers

At Relish, we believe that great creative becomes more powerful when it’s backed up by compelling research. But just as data can (and should) come from multiple sources, the real power of research is in the way it is used. And this AdAge story offers some great ways to use data to your advantage as you influence and acquire new customers.

5 Apps to Boost Your Brain Power

What are our phones doing to our brains? If time with your top apps sometimes leaves you fuzzy-headed, you might share our fascination with these five apps designed to boost brain power and maybe even make us smarter.

3 Strategies that Will Make Your Facebook Ads More Successful

Social media marketing can be a great way to reach your audience. And Facebook ads have even more potential since it’s the platform with the most active users – if you use it right. Learn how these three strategies that can help your Facebook ads be more successful.

8 Ways to Use Content to Skyrocket User Engagement

Content may be king, but the real prize is user engagement – when people enjoy the experience of connecting with your business online and keep coming back for more. Especially in a world where consumers are constantly bombarded by content, you’ll want to see these ways to turn great content into great relationships.

Burger King Takes on the Pink Tax

Did you know that products specified “for women” are priced an average of 13% higher than the same product marketed to the general population – and sometimes even higher? It’s known as  “The Pink Tax” and we love how Burger King raised awareness about it with their “Chick Fries” stunt campaign. Take a look.

At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us!

3 Rules for Great Videos

It’s easy to see the many ways in which video can support your marketing and grow business. After all, more than 73% of consumer internet traffic is video – and that number is growing. Likewise, video in an email can double – or even triple – click-through rates. But is all video alike? Of course not. Videos can run the gamut from documentary-style storytelling and broadcast television style to a talk-show format, “live illustration” explainer video, or even short, animated GIFs. But we’ve identified three essential rules that can help you make the right video for your business:

    1. Know your audience. Who needs to see this video? Why do they need to see it? And what biases and preconceptions are they bringing with them? Also, how are they likely to be viewing it – in the office? In a theater-style presentation? Or on their mobile phones? The answers to these key questions will tell you a lot about the kind of video you’ll need to produce.
    2. Know your message. As in any other media, a clear focus is essential. Even a highly engaging video will be a waste of resources if you don’t begin with a solid understanding of what it needs to communicate. So, always start by asking yourself this: If people walk away from the video knowing, learning and/or feeling one thing, what must that be?
    3. Know your limits, specifically, in these important areas:
      • Budget – Unless you have the technology and expertise you’ll need to create the results you want on your own, you’re going to need to invest in videography – and this is definitely an area in which you get what you pay for. A brilliant videographer can get great results using little more than an iPhone and smart lighting, but poor-quality DIY video – and make no mistake, that’s most self-made video – can actually do more harm than good. That said, you don’t necessarily need to have a broadcast-TV production budget to achieve results. A well-written, smartly produced video can be highly effective – and surprisingly affordable if you’re willing to use stock videography, simple animation and/or no voiceover.
      • Expertise and Experience – A quality video requires quality visual design, storyboarding, writing and production. And keep in mind that you may be good at writing whitepapers, but if you don’t have scriptwriting experience, that skill may not automatically transfer to a video about the same subject.
      • Talent – In video, talent typically refers to the people seen and heard on-screen or heard in the voiceover. Those faces and voices can make the difference in how credible your video comes across to audiences. That said, you may know your technology backward and forward, but that knowledge may not translate to a compelling video presence.

Armed with the essential knowledge these three rules will give you, you’ll be able to best identify, evaluate and get the best ROI from any investment you make in video. Whether you’re aiming for an Emmy Award or you want to support sales and promote learning opportunities, the right resources will help you leverage your team’s skills and knowledge and produce a video that delivers results.

At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us!

Life at Relish: Our Favorite Fonts

Choosing a font to use for your brand on printed/digital collateral is a critical part of engaging your audience, and often times it can be a difficult choice. There's serif, sans-serif, script, display, and even within those categories, there are still tons of options. So, we thought it'd be fun to challenge ourselves to pick our favorite fonts. See what we chose below:

I've always had a fondness for the simple, elegant fonts like Garamond and Helvetica Neue but I must admit to being a bit of a decorative font junkie for special projects - handwritten ones like Crazy Thoughts and Silent Reaction, as well as decorative fonts like Wednesday or Neon Lights. Of course, any time I see anything using the Papyrus font, it just makes me laugh because of the infamous Ryan Gosling SNL sketch about how the movie Avatar used it.

Fonts are like fashion. What's in style is always changing. However, a font type that never goes out of style is a sans-serif font. Wikipedia defines a sans-serif font as a letterform that does not have extending features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. They are clean, crisp and simple. They are also professional, easy-to-read and approachable. A specific one I've been using lately on some of our client work is Gilroy. It embodies all the things I like about a sans-serif font.

Choosing a favorite font is a difficult task. I like Futura for its simplicity and readability, even at small sizes. I like Bodoni Bold because it looks like money. I even like Arnold Boecklin for its art nouveau, psychedelic quality. I guess my favorite font is the right one for the situation. But as I looked through our font collection here at Relish, I came across Bookeyed Sadie Ampersands. What a great "font"! "And" connects so many things, and here is a whole family of different ways to show "and". I think this is my new favorite font.

I've always been a fan of sans-serif fonts and Gotham has recently become my new favorite. The geometric feel of the font reminds me of architecture - perfect lines as if each letter was created up against a ruler. It's very easy to read which makes it a great display font. I also love that there are so many weights and it also comes in Narrow, Extra Narrow and Condensed providing endless options.

At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client workWork with us! Contact here.