A panel of experts joined us at our December Unlock event in Poundbury to discuss how businesses in Dorset are preparing for digital marketing success in 2020.

During the evening we looked back at 2019 to uncover what businesses of all sizes learnt from their experiences through the year.

With much talk of digital transformation on the horizon, we questioned how technology is really going to better service the customer and improve the bottom line of businesses.

Digital marketing in 2019

The discussion kicked off with a retrospective summary of 2019. Over the last 12 months we’ve undoubtedly witnessed a shift in new technologies in digital marketing. The first of these to be mentioned by the panel was the explosion of voice assistants and FAQ tools. Optimising content for voice search is one of the most commonly referenced marketing trends in 2020.

Other digital marketing changes that were discussed included the concept of personalisation, chatbots, privacy and cyber security. Social media trends were also referenced – the use of ephemeral content for stories being a popular way for the panel to engage with brands.

Digital strategy expert Dave McRobbie who led the discussion, challenged the panel about the future use of emerging technologies. Despite starting to become more mainstream, are people actually using them enough to justify the investment in time and resources?

panel of experts discuss digital marketing in 2010 at key digital unlock event in Poundbury dorset

The Panel

On the Expert Panel was Kate Atkinson, a successful franchise owner who has set up no less than 20 bridal boutiques around the UK. Also on the panel was James Hart – the founder of Purple Computing, a certified Apple support consultancy with 15 years’ experience deploying macOS and iOS hardware & software. Becky Wren is a highly experienced digital marketing manager and personal blogger, managing one of the largest DIY & building trade retailers digital presence. We also had our very own Client Manager at Key Digital. Toby McConnell is responsible for managing relationships with Key Digital’s clients across all their key services (Web, Social, PPC and SEO).

Be social on social media

“Fast content in the form of stories on Facebook, Instagram and now Pinterest are what we’re most excited about in 2020. We encourage our business network is to be social on social media. We don’t just create content and put it out there, we need our customers to be social and talk about it. The algorithms won’t help you out if you don’t.”

– Kate Atkinson, Bridal Reloved.


Kate Atkinson bridal reloved
James Hart Purple Computing

Cyber Security

“2020 in digital terms will be the year of greater cyber security awareness. Although the best anti-virus protection and secure networks are put in place, email scams are still happening a lot. It’s social engineering so software and systems can stop it. However, on the plus side consumers and end users are becoming much more aware of the risks. We’re seeing password security and two-factor authentication coming in. Awareness is on the up and will be a big thing in 2020.”

– James Hart, Purple Computing.


User generated content

“Even if you don’t have a large marketing budget, there’s a lot that can be achieved with user generated content. With stories on Instagram, customers can tag brands as they are now more likely to reshare content from their customers. It makes customers feel good, encourages others to do it and ultimately is a way of achieving that greater reach. Even bigger brands are becoming much more  inclined to engage in this way – as it’s authentic and genuine.”

– Becky Wren, Screwfix / Country Bumpkin Chic.


Becky wren
toby McConnell key digital client manager


“2020 it’s going to be about personalisation. It’s all about getting to know your customers better and serving them the information that’s more appropriate and personal to them. From a practical point of view, look at your analytics to breakdown your key personas. When you then decide how you can best engage with them, it comes back to content. Video will be a big opportunity to personalise the interaction with your customers. Small businesses in particular should take advantage of the more personalised route to encourage customer feedback. They stand to benefit from this with online reviews and word of mouth. This approach could be a way to gain the edge over larger businesses.

– Toby McConnell, Key Digital.


The Discussion

For those that couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at an Unlock event in the future. If you’d like to see the discussion in its entirety – have a watch of the video below.

Key takeaways

  • Personalisation is shaping the future of digital marketing
  • Cyber security and privacy are important areas to watch
  • Video is still on the rise, even as opportunity for small businesses
  • User generated content – bigger brands are more open to sharing their customers stories
  • Accountability and responsibility of business owners is key

Looking for more actionable key takeaways for your digital marketing strategy? We’re taking a closer look at many developments in digital marketing as part of our 2020 Digital Vision series of features.