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Twenty-twenty. It sounds futuristic.

In this industry, we see trends and technologies evolving at rapid speed. And with our commitment to education and creating “conversations that change minds,” Symposia has been eager to share with you some of the top digital marketing trends to watch as your organization launches rapid-fire into 2020.

  • Influencer Marketing
  • SEO and Content Marketing
  • Omnichannel Marketing
  • Multichannel Conversion Model and Advanced A/B Testing
  • Marketing Automation and Personalization

Influencer Marketing

What is it?
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. [Source]

In basic terms: an influencer shares endorsed content via their social media. This can be hugely effective considering the context is often cushioned with an established trust in the influencer.

Where it’s at:
Despite predictions by some, content sponsored by influencers actually increased by 150% (!) in 2019, with the number of instances of the hashtag #ad to identify paid content more than doubled. [Source]

What’s ahead:
We all understand that users, particularly in e-commerce, often look for reviews from trusted sources before making a decision about a purchase. Pertinent brands should consider partnerships with influencers and micro-influencers who create authentic connections with audiences, building that trust. “Expect them to increase their investment in 2020, helping to make influencer marketing a $10 billion industry this year.” [Source]

How to implement:
Utilize your customers as advocates, share audio/video content of real people, repurpose your reviews/testimonials, and connect with influencers and micro-influencers to build brand trust. [Source]

SEO and Content Marketing

What is it?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing quality traffic to a website. Content marketing is focused on using valuable and relevant content to drive profitable customer or client action. [Source]

Where it’s at:
In the first quarter of 2019, 49% of Google searches resulted in no clicks; this means nearly half of all Google searches left websites in the dust, missing the chance of gaining traffic. [Source]

Food for thought:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads.
  • Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
  • 615 million devices now use ad blockers, which means your ads are not being seen by as many people.
  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.
  • Content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods. [Source]

What’s ahead:
In November 2019, Google rolled out some major updates to its search algorithm. The updates included the new BERT system, which is designed to aid Google in its efforts to understand the natural language that people use in their search queries.

Google’s efforts to present users with data in rich snippets will drive more informed click-through and will decrease bounce rates dramatically. (Users ages 13-18 consume their content in 40% rich snippets. If this is your audience, take note!) [Source]

How to implement:
Most B2B content marketers would advise you to create content that makes your audience view your organization as a credible and trusted resource. Google’s own webmaster trends analyst John Mueller suggests that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”

Omnichannel Marketing

What is it?
Plainly speaking, omnichannel marketing is the process of utilizing multiple channels (such as email, social media, etc.) to connect with users at various touchpoints. When done well, this allows you to share a cohesive brand message across many platforms and provide an enhanced user experience, driving users to take a desired action.

Where it’s at:
Omnichannel marketing was huge in 2019 and while it might seem like a trend that could get left in the past, it’s actually more relevant than ever. Organizations are learning where their leads are, how those leads use particular channels, and how they to trust and respond to a solid message.

Statistics show that brands using three or more channels in an automation workflow can generate great results:

  • Engagement rate: 18.96% on omnichannel vs. 5.4% on single-channel
  • Purchase frequency: 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single-channel
  • Average order value: 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single-channel
  • Customer retention rates: 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single-channel

What’s ahead:
Agencies and SaaS companies are providing handy tools to manage multiple channels more efficiently. Although it is becoming easier to manage an omnichannel strategy, it can still be a challenge without the right strategy or management system.

How to implement:
So use a consistent voice that is seamless across channels, even physical channels, and ensure your strategy is cohesive across those channels. Strategy will save you.

Multichannel Conversion Model and Advanced A/B Testing

What is it?
Multi-touch attribution is a method of measuring your marketing success which evaluates the impact of each touchpoint in driving a conversion, thereby determining the value of that specific touchpoint.

Where it’s at:
Today’s buyer journeys span many devices and touchpoints before resulting in a conversion. In order to optimize campaigns and create more customized consumer experiences, marketers need to understand which touchpoints and messages a consumer came in contact with that resulted in a positive action. The goal is to understand where to devote spend, devoting funds to similar campaigns and diverting funds from those that were ineffective.

What’s ahead:
Multi-touch attribution models have become important for marketers, especially those looking to measure the impact of digital campaigns. This is because they provide a more granular, person-level view than traditional aggregate methods such as media mix modeling.

One of the top benefits of multi-touch attribution is that it provides visibility into the success of touchpoints across the entire buyer’s journey. This is critical, as consumers are becoming increasingly adept at avoiding marketing messages.

How to implement:
Marketers must take steps to customize their messaging to meet consumers on the right channel at the right time. The granular data offered by multi-touch attribution enables this, helping marketers to identify audiences across channels and determine those users’ specific marketing desires. In addition to helping marketers improve the consumer experience, multi-touch attribution also helps marketers to achieve higher ROI for their marketing investments, illuminating where spend is most and least effective. This can also help to shorten sales cycles by engaging consumers with fewer but more impactful marketing messages.

Marketing Automation and Personalization

What is it?
Marketing automation is the use of software and technologies designed to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate tasks, saving time and, when paired with a killer strategy, presenting the right message to the right person at the right point in their journey.

Where it’s at:
An increasing number of marketers are beginning to realize the enormous value and potential of marketing automation. More than 51% of companies are now implementing some type of marketing automation, with 58% of organizations planning to in the near future. [Source]

What’s ahead:
The market for marketing automation software is expected to continue growing at 8.55%, unlocking a market capitalization of US $6.4 billion by 2024. [Source

Consumers are demanding relevant experiences from the brands they interact with. They expect brands to know their likes and preferences, and come up with intelligent product recommendations that are worth their while.

How to implement:
Personalize, track, remarket! Know your potential customer.

For example, e-commerce users demand personalization and want to be able to browse a physical store, view products on social media, and purchase online. Use tracking to learn what they want, use remarketing ads to remind them you have what they were looking for.

If you’re not keeping up with their demands, someone else will.


Here’s to diving into all the exciting things for 2020.

This case study explains how Symposia helped Peachwave Frozen Yogurt & Gelato, a licensee model business, generate qualified leads for potential store owners through strategic Facebook ad campaigns, email automations, and optimization of their website and sales funnel.


Peachwave Frozen Yogurt & Gelato is a North American brand providing high-quality products using fresh ingredients to customers in a self-serve and fun environment. Peachwave operates with a unique licensee business model, empowering its independent owners to enjoy work flexibility and to be their own boss. A unique selling point of Peachwave is that, unlike typical franchises, Peachwave does not charge any royalty or franchise fees. However, similar to a franchise model, Peachwave does provide consulting, on-site training, marketing, and support to Peachwave store owners.


Generate a high volume of qualified leads for potential store owners through strategic PPC (pay per click) campaigns.

For Peachwave, this approach also meant defining and optimizing their sales funnel for potential leads, optimizing their website, implementing email automations, and more.


Working closely with Peachwave leadership, Symposia launched PPC advertising campaigns which resulted in 462 quality leads, an increase of 5-18% when compared to other quarters within the same year.

Every successful campaign is built upon a well-informed and data-driven marketing strategy. For Peachwave, this began by mapping out their conversion funnel. Initial working sessions between Symposia and Peachwave determined and documented Peachwave’s specific goals for generating qualified leads.

Top of the Funnel

Brand awareness was raised through leads using targeted PPC advertising.

The target audiences were customized using demographics such as age, location, and interests.

Clicks from PPC campaigns led users to the ownership landing page which was created to provide compelling copy encouraging potential leads to provide information (such as name, email address, a question about investment capital) to gain access to the Peachwave investor packet (emailed as a PDF download).

Those who did not fill out the form were shown retargeting ads.

Middle of the Funnel

Data from that traffic was used to push email automations, continuing to nurture leads down the funnel.

Strategic content is utlilized in the automations to compel users to continue their journey. 

An introductory phone call with the Chief Development Officer occured to help solidify the overall potential of candidates who received the investor packet materials.

Depending on the conversation, leads were sent further down the funnel or branch off into a more targeted email sequence.

Leads who continued moving down the funnel were sent a form to capture more information and a snail mail kit.

Those who filled out the form moved to the next step in the funnel.

Those who did not fill out the form entered into a reminder email sequence.

Bottom of the Funnel

Users who filled out the form were put into their portal. From there, the user followed a sequence of steps before becoming a local owner.

To continue to nurture the user to the bottom funnel, further email automations were created to be sent at strategic points in the funnel to counteract higher dropoff rates.

In addition, workflows such as follow-up calls or snail mail campaigns were implemented to keep Peachwave in front of the lead in order to prevent dropoff.

The Journey

Website Optimization

Once the conversion funnel was optimized and set into place, this informed several website changes needed for the funnel to function effectively. This included improving the user journey with smoother navigation, creation of a form to capture data including name and email address, and installing tracking codes including GTM (Google Tag Manager) and the Facebook pixel.

  • Designed and coded the optimized landing page
  • Created (copy and design) investor packet PDF download
  • Installed tracking codes
  • Created data collection form
  • Created a short compelling video to embed onto the landing page

PPC Strategy

The campaign utilized ads that were targeted to users using a combination of lookalike audiences based on email lead lists, website leads, as well as custom interests that include business opportunity, franchising, and entrepreneurship.

A remarketing campaign was also implemented based on specific actions users were taking on the “Own a Store” page, lead list exclusions, and additional lead audience exclusions.

Users were then sent to an intentionally designed landing page that provided compelling information with video, text, and custom graphics, with the goal of having users fill out a customized form to qualify them as a lead.

Quality Leads


All of the audiences went through some adjustments during the PPC campaigns. Nearly all of the audiences were based on lookalike audiences created from their leads list at varying increments of time (last 30 days, last 90 days, last 180 days).

Ad Creation

Our design team, including designers and copywriters, collaborated to create content strategically curated for specific channels and goals. Each target was unique and requires intentional content.

Email Automation & Insightly Integration

To maximize the overall impact and save time for the sales team, email automations were developed as supplemental to the social pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Subject lines were A/B tested and various pieces of content were utilized to nurture leads throughout the funnel. Ultimately, video content was leveraged to increase conversion rates.



Through strategic targeting and messaging, an optimized conversion funnel, the power of automation, and more, Peachwave saw an increase in qualified leads for store owners in 2019.

From February 2019 through October 2019, a total of 749 leads came through the funnel, and a large number of them were generated directly from the social media advertising campaigns. It was determined that 462 of those leads were high quality leads, making their lead quality percentage 61.7 percent. Peachwave’s Director of Business Development had to play catch-up with the qualified leads, as the number was much larger than anticipated – a great problem to have.

Lead quality grew over the course of the campaign. In Q1, the average lead quality percentage was 55.86, growing to 69.12 by the end of the campaign in Q3. The average cost per lead was $107.80 while the lowest cost came in at $45.96. With the number of qualified leads, and licensees requiring up-front costs of $75,000, the cost of acquisition proved worthwhile.

Peachwave continues to command digital success in finding qualified candidates to keep their brand growing strong.

The last few years have seen our growth go from slow and steady to fast and explosive.

This is the aspiration of all marketing agencies. But – managing the challenges that come with this kind of expansion presents a string of hurdles.

Traditionally, our ability to generate transformation and achieve remarkable results is the benchmark that we have used to measure our performance.

We have been relentless in our commitment to staying ahead of the curve through the use of innovative technologies.

But – being committed to innovation means that we must also be committed to confronting harsh realities.

Digital marketing is important but cannot function in a silo disconnected from the bigger picture.

If offline and online campaigns don’t complement one another, our clients miss the opportunity to create cohesive experiences that engage their customers.

So rather than simply applying digital marketing to already existing systems, we need to take a step back and have a fresh look at the systems themselves.

It is no longer enough for us to produce creative elements without diving deep into exploring the data that informs our decisions.

Sure, in the past we may have taken on clients who were not as invested in this idea as we are – but, that will no longer be acceptable. We must now hold ourselves to a much higher standard.

The fact is – data can guide us toward understanding audiences in a way that seems almost magical, and when this is married with analytics and strong creative, we can speak to audiences in a way that is undeniably human.

So it’s time for change.

Creating conversations that change minds is the mandate that is embedded deep into the core of our ideology.

Strong digital marketing, when done correctly, is in and of itself transformative.

If a client isn’t willing to embark on a journey of transformation then we are not the agency for them, and they are not the client for us.

One of Symposia’s core values is education. When we work with anyone – whether client, student, or public – we’re devoted to walking alongside you to teach the skills and knowledge that will create meaningful results. Over the last few years, Symposia has been hosting educational sessions and webinars, offering strategy sessions, providing learning opportunities for interns, and more recently, building a digital classroom. We’re always looking for ways that we can not only grow as digital marketing professionals, but also pay it forward and share our knowledge with others.

In October of 2019, Symposia’s founder Tim Haines returned to his alma mater by providing Hope College students with a full day of learning. Dr. Steve VanderVeen, a business professor at Hope, brought the opportunity to his marketing students and made it possible. Outside of regular school hours, 40 dedicated juniors and seniors spent a large portion of their Saturday in another class on campus, this one put on by Symposia.

This pilot event was dubbed our “Digital Marketing Bootcamp.” The session focused on digital marketing as a whole, as well as specific and important factors relating to the industry. These topics included the digital marketing mix, user experience, website optimization, marketing personas, attribution, pay-per-click advertising, keyword research, email marketing, and more. Students were given presentations, tools, case studies, and other resources. They participated in deep dives and simulations and even had the opportunity to look at a few of Symposia’s current clients and their strategies.

Amy Dykstra, currently a junior at Hope, was one student that attended. She said that “The bootcamp was a great opportunity to learn about innovations in digital marketing that we have not learned in classes. This was helpful because we took the information we learned and applied it directly to business models we are familiar with.”

Being a recent Hope alum myself, I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that I had during my time there. Amy agrees that, “Hope works hard to give students an education that prepares them for real life experiences, such as the digital marketing bootcamp.”

Although I was never able to attend an event like this as a student, I’m excited that Symposia will be hosting another session in the early spring of 2020. We’re looking forward to continuing to make meaningful connections with the Hope community as well as giving students a more in-depth look at digital marketing. This new decade will inevitably bring change and innovation to the industry, and we can’t wait to tackle those alongside students who are interested in learning.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Elliot Talen is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Leisure Living Management in Grand Rapids. The company is a senior housing provider in a growing industry. Elliot says the increased competition means that they have to be able to share their story more broadly with people who need their services.

With this growth, Elliot has been able to transition the organization’s marketing efforts into the digital space. He says that there is, “a common misconception that seniors are not online, but the new wave of older adults are engaging with [Leisure Living Management] digitally.” His duties are to ensure that the content delivered to them is accessible and done so in a meaningful way.

Marketing is crucial to the success of businesses because if they can’t reach potential customers where they are, in their space, then those customers are never going to be able to access the services they need. As more and more people are living online, the transformation into digital is proving to be a necessary and beneficial one. 

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

After holding almost every role in marketing, from graphic designer to information architect to writer, Mike Stock is currently the Marketing Specialist at Evoqua Water Technologies. In this position he creates and manages highly targeted campaigns.

Mike believes that marketers should be looking for tools that track their efforts, not something that simply automates a process. “The holy grail of marketing is to find your ROI based on your efforts.”

You need to discover which pages are being visited and which CTAs are working. Understanding how your campaigns are performing and which pieces of the puzzle are working is what every marketer should strive for.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Katrina Danko has a background in public relations, social media, and content creation. Her experience spans industries and organizational sizes, from agencies to small businesses, startups and large corporations. She currently works for the Gilmore Collection as their Public Relations and Social Media Manager.

When asked, Why Marketing?, Katrina believes it’s the key to differentiating you from your competitors. She knows how crucial it is to reach the right people with the right message and to do it in a way that makes you stand out from your competition.

“Regardless of where your company is in the business life cycle, you can benefit from marketing by constantly finding new customers and creating conversations.” And just like us, she believes in the power of continuing education. There is always new technology to understand or a new way to communicate. Being able to learn more about what your customer wants and making it easy for them to connect with you is essential.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Dave Nitkiewicz is the Specialty Market Sales Manager for Experience Grand Rapids, which is the Kent County Convention Visitors Bureau. It is known as the destination marketing organization for the area.

Experience Grand Rapids sees their job as one that isn’t simply about showcasing events or the occasional exhibit. They are cognizant of the idea that everything starts with a visit. This is why Dave says, “Marketing the value of the community that we live in is integral to the growth and success of our community.” 

From home buying to retirement opportunities, choosing the right school district to finding exciting things to do on the weekend, each plays a special part in choosing to call a community home. And the way the Grand Rapids community is presented is the responsibility of Experience Grand Rapids.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Lina Lintemuth is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for The Right Place, an economic development organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Right Place has been serving the industry for over 30 years, but it is still a closed space that many others are unaware of.

There is an entire group of people outside of economic development who don’t know what it is or what it does for the community. Because of this, Lina uses digital marketing as an educational tool to reach that broader audience and educate them on what the organization is doing to improve the greater economy of West Michigan.

Lina believes that digital marketing is important for education but that someone working within the discipline has to continue their own education due to its fast-paced, dynamic nature. There are always new tools to use and ideas to implement. It’s important to understand the intricacies of the industry to better connect on an increasingly personal level.