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How Digital Transformation Is Changing the Marketing Industry

You’ve probably noticed how increasing digitization has impacted virtually all industries and parts of society. It enables new business models, saves time and much more. Here is an in-depth look at some of the most meaningful ways the ongoing digital transformation has reshaped the marketing industry.

1. It Speeds up the ideation process

Digitization in marketing means colleagues can compile ideas or make decisions faster than they did before. Such collaboration happens regardless of the physical distance between the participants.

In one example, Unilever created what it describes as “Tinder for ideas.” The brand tasked an in-house team to develop an app called Idea Swipe. It lets people weigh in with new possibilities without using traditional, non-digital methods that usually involved putting sticky notes on a wall. Unilever hopes the app will double the company’s impact, while cutting time and expenses in half.

More specifically, the app generates questions that receive feedback almost instantly. It also allows people to ask open-ended questions or submit them as part of a group. The app reportedly allows getting and giving feedback much faster than was possible before Unilever underwent this kind of digital transformation.

2. It deepens and extends the customer-marketer relationship

Before marketing evolved to be so heavily influenced by digital transformation, a marketer’s role was primarily to promote the appeal of a product or brand to make it more desirable for customers. Their primary objective was to make sales. Today’s marketers still want to sell things, but their relationship with buyers doesn’t end once the sale happens. It persists for as long as a customer engages with the brand.

Social media is often the first place people go to get in touch with brands, and those companies must turn to technology to foster those ongoing communications. Many people won’t bother waiting for a customer service representative to get on the other end of a phone line to talk to them. They’d sooner go to the company’s official Twitter feed.

The Ghanaian branch of Vodafone, a popular telecommunications brand, recently made headlines when its CEO responded to every customer comment or question on social media. Since customers can get on social media and give feedback to brands in seconds, they hold the marketers associated with the products accountable for any issues.

On a positive note, this continual feedback gives companies an advantage by letting them quickly gauge responses to things like new offerings, different packaging styles or a recently launched contest. There’s no longer a need to wait weeks or months to start calculating the impact of any change a company or marketing department makes.

3. It facilitates task automation

Digital transformation in the marketing sector also allows marketers and other professionals to stop spending so much of their time on manual tasks. One of the mistakes companies often fall victim to when working on their digital transformations is assuming they need to completely overhaul existing systems, rather than going through more gradual changes.

The most effective companies figure out how to introduce new processes and tools into the ways they get things done. Then, the transition happens over time, instead of all at once. One of the best ways to avail yourself of digitization in marketing is to determine how it could automate tasks and streamline workflows.

When DISH Network decided to increase its investments in automation, one of the biggest payoffs related to using machine learning to automate bidding for keywords concerning the brand’s advertising strategy. The company’s CEO reported the brand got a 60 percent conversion rate increase after connecting their offline media to the digitally transformed parts of the business.

4. It provides more opportunities to appeal to customers

There’s no single definition for the digital transformation. But, in the marketing sector, a successful digital transformation often means a company has tapped into improved ways to reach out to customers and encourage them to take desirable actions.

For example, a marketing team might use digitization to help them focus on creating a better omnichannel experience for customers, so their experiences are similar whether they engage with a brand through online or offline channels. Or, marketing digitization might entail more specific email marketing efforts, so people receive content that’s maximally relevant based on what a company knows about them and their habits.

The transformation means even some companies people wouldn’t ordinarily associate with a robust digital presence are changing their ways. For example, online grocery services are upping their digital investments to better address customer needs and help them see why buying groceries online is a worthwhile switch.

FreshDirect is an online grocery store that uses digital promotions particularly well. It makes product suggestions during the checkout process based on things a person already chose to buy. This strategy is similar to the tried-and-true technique of putting must-have items like batteries, hand sanitizer and breath mints by physical checkout lines. But, it’s even more intelligent because it personalizes the suggestions to an individual shopper.

When marketers choose to dig into the data they have about customers and base engagement efforts on the information, they’ll be better able to compete during an era when companies increasingly realize generic content doesn’t adequately cater to customers anymore.

Plenty of reasons to start a transformation

The four items covered here emphasize why it’s so critical to consider moving forward with a digital transformation for your marketing practices if you haven’t done so already. Remember, any changes you make don’t need to happen immediately, and it’s best to look for ways to do things differently without discarding all the tools you use now.         

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