Life as we knew it changed with the rise of the internet, but more dramatic changes have taken place with the proliferation of digital technology and the widespread use of digital media. Digital technology was expected to speed things up, however, what remained unpredictable was the social impact that digital media with high speed online connectivity would have. Almost every business today has an online presence and marketing had no choice but to go digital. New technologies and tools have forced marketers to adapt to stay on top of their game. The consequences of going digital in marketing have resulted in more accurate metrics and interactivity which have opened up a whole new set of marketing opportunities. Here is a closer look at the way digital transformation is changing the way marketing works and its implications.
The Inevitable Change
The term ‘digital transformation’ may sound like a vague concept, however, we have been experiencing it practically for years. Digital technology has been gradually integrated into most industries as well as our everyday work tasks whether at an individual employee level or at an entire business operations level.
At an individual level, we might integrate digital transformation into our lives by storing our records electronically. For example, our health records once digital allows the data to be more accessible, faster to process and allows for quicker and better-informed health care decisions to be made.
On a larger, industrial scale, we have already witnessed how businesses like Amazon and Uber have far outraced their competition by merging traditional business concepts with digital technologies.
When we look at digital transformation as a whole affecting businesses, it is hard to miss how it is specifically bringing about changes in marketing.
Intervention in The Digital Funnel
The first place that digital transformation affects marketing is in the marketing funnel. This was a traditional concept that marketers used to track the journey of their potential clients along the multi-stage sales path towards a successful purchase. The marketing funnel included the following five stages:
- Awareness: the customer becomes aware that you offer a product or service that they are looking for.
- Interest: The customer goes into the details to ascertain if your product meets their needs.
- Consideration: the customer is taking a serious interest in your products or services.
- Intent: the customer is building towards a favorable outcome for the business.
- Decision: the customer decides to make a purchase
In a pre-digital marketing world, businesses could only create marketing materials for each stage of the funnel. Intervention with the potential customer was only possible if a salesperson could engage directly with them. Digital marketing and therefore digital transformation has now given businesses greater control over the sales funnel. Marketers now have two invaluable tools to guide the customer towards a purchase, multi-stage interactivity and analytics.
Personalization of the marketing content
One of the most obvious ways that digital transformation has affected marketing in a positive way is that digital marketing can now personalize content to individual customers. Metrics give us the ability to track the consumer’s behaviour and shopping patterns at an individual level, this in turn allows for personalized marketing responses based on consumer data. A vendor can now keep track of a customer’s purchase and suggest similar products, refills at the appropriate time or recommend other products that would be useful with the original purchase. Metrics from social media platforms allow the marketer to send personalized emails based on their interests, and behaviour while they are in the sales funnel. The marketer also has the advantage of no longer having to guess where the consumers interests lie.
Analytics Have Changed The Game
The biggest hurdle that traditional marketers faced was the lack of high-quality actionable data to make decisions. Despite developing quality content, there was no real accurate way to calculate the effectiveness of that marketing content in leading to a sale. Analytics available as a result of digital transformation has made that possible and more. Marketers can now effectively track how many people saw their posts or videos on the various social media, they can measure how many people responded to that ad by clicking on the call to action button. In this way, they can measure the effectiveness of the marketing media being developed. Analytics also give marketers specific data like gender, location, the age range of viewers and time of day that the content was most effective with. Marketing budgets and strategies can now be tweaked using data and metrics to optimize efficacy.
Interactivity Is A Key Factor
Digital transformation has led to interactivity in marketing. Traditional media like television and the radio did not give people much of a choice over what they consumed or who they shared it with. It was a very one-sided affair. Social media has radically altered the way marketing content is consumed. The consumer now has the choice of what media they want to consume and how they want to consume it. They can interact with vendors, ask questions and receive responses to advise their buying decisions. Consumers also have the ability to react and give feedback on the content they consume. With live ads, consumers can react in real-time to the content that they are viewing. Digital transformation has facilitated a level of engagement and interaction that wasn’t possible with traditional methods and has improved the way that marketers can approach their targets.
Automation Fills The Gap
Consumers sometimes stop short of an actual purchase even though they have products in their shopping carts for various reasons. In this situation, it is critical to influence the shoppers purchasing decision in the buyer’s favour. Digital transformation uses tracking metrics and buying behavior and allows for automation to act upon conditions which can facilitate a sale. For example, an email or a personalized reminder can be sent without human intervention, to a consumer in a time-sensitive manner. Chatbots can even provide basic customer support services which will help to improve the effectiveness of marketing
Digital transformation has affected a wide gamut of operational and marketing activities. It is important to understand what it entails and encompass it in your business processes sooner rather than later.