What is Digital Transformation and how can I apply it to my marketing activities? The truth is, Digital Transformation isn’t a “thing” you can plug in to your current marketing plan, nor a tool you can download. Rather, it’s a way of thinking, a way of communicating and a way of delivering value to customers.
We could almost call it a philosophy. And from this philosophy we can then begin to build our strategies and tactics using the digital technology that is on offer now and that is being developed by tech companies around the globe. All with one scope in mind: delivering a higher level of customer value and gaining competitive advantage. So, let’s take a look at three ways in which digital technology can transform marketing activities.
Higher levels of organisation
We all know how it works on a day-to-day basis – client files, job folders, research papers all floating around on your desk, spreadsheets with marketing plans and slide decks presenting last quarter’s measure of success. Being able to bring together all of this data into a single digital platform that every team member can access with their own levels of permission and workflows that get triggered by approaching deadlines and a planning process that in a few simple steps helps you generate schedules and tasks, now wouldn’t that be a dream come true!
Implementing such a system would be exactly what Digital Transformation is all about and the principal benefit of this would allow all members of a marketing team to work more efficiently, more effectively through every stage from planning to execution. Removing manual processes from the equation leaves more space for creative and intellectual thought, which in turn will lead to better marketing planning, better overall organisation, better implementation and the development of a stronger marketing team.
Automate it so you don’t have to
Marketing automation is no new concept. It’s been around for more than two decades and, with the birth of social media, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. When we think of automation we think of simple, single purpose tools as well as more powerful multi-functional platforms that set you back as much as hiring another employee! However, what about platforms that will automate your department’s internal processes? What if every process was set up as an automation that ensured that every task was carried out by every person involved and within the predefined timescales? How would that affect your day and what would you do with all the freed-up time that you previously spent chasing up with staff and projects to see how they were getting along and if they were ready to progress to the next step?
Digitally transforming and automating every marketing activity means meeting the real with the ideal. It means not needing to waste resources on ensuring the team is on track and being able to pinpoint exactly where a project is at any given moment in time, allowing you to focus more on improving and less on chasing! Having your house and processes in order means you can do your job: focus on creating highly engaging user experiences.
Give them the ultimate customer experience
Now that you no longer need to concern yourself with the location of project folders nor run after marketing assistants enquiring about project progress, you have more time and resources to make your customers feel valued. Whilst we previously mentioned that an industry-standard marketing automation tool can cost as much or more than hiring an employee to do the job, what an employee cannot deliver is the same depth of insight. Despite pushing the boundaries of privacy, thanks to digital technology marketers can now access a level of data about their customers and potential customers that previously was not possible. With information comes power and with power comes responsibility (cit. Ben Parker) so it is what marketers choose to do with this data that will lead them either toward true competitive advantage or toward a law suit.
In the age of the customer, there is only one real objective when analysing customer data and it stems from the fundamental question: what do my customers really want? Being able to answer this question is the key to business success, which explains marketers’ hunger for data. This data can be in the form of statistics collected over a period of time showing customer trends and patterns, allowing marketers to design better-targeted campaigns, develop more satisfying products, and improve user experience leading to higher retention rates.
But the real battle-horse of digital platforms nowadays is the possibility to see what happens, as it happens and being able to react instantly. There are numerous external factors that from one moment to the next can dramatically harm a campaign – natural disasters, viral reactions on social media, political crises – and the ability to monitor customer behaviour in real-time can mark the difference between swooping in and saving the day, and obliviously allowing your campaign to plummet into a black hole of negative public opinion.