Digital transformation is an imperative for the business that wishes to remain relevant in a changing landscape. With an abundance of digitally enabled behaviour and greater interconnectedness, marketing needs to adapt in order to meet the requirements of today’s audience. Indeed, 78 per cent of marketers believe the field will undergo fundamental change over the next five years.
As a guide, here are 5 digital transformation trends that every marketing strategist should be focussing on:
1. Exploring big data
Big data techniques and technologies are redefining the landscape for enterprise. Current projections suggest that big data will be worth close to $50 billion by 2017, with Gartner predicting 4.4 million big data scientists will be needed this year (that’s the population of the US state of Kentucky). Gartner further predictions also put the IT spend of CMO’s as outpacing that of the CIO. Big data is a big deal.
With an enhanced ability to gain information about target audiences and their needs, bringing big data to the table for your organisation has to be a central focus for marketers in 2015 and beyond.
2. Adopting a user-centric approach
McKinsey believe that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Revisiting the traditional conversion funnel with a fresh focus on feeling, or even better, walk a mile in the customer’s shoes to feel for yourself, and you will expose the opportunities to better connect touch points and further streamline the way you treat your potential customers.
Creating a set of customer personas can greatly help your teams in adopting a user-centric approach. Don’t be afraid to make your user-personas as human as possible, and always invite them to be challenged and improved. Insights can come from anywhere within your organisation so welcome input from all who have a touch point with your audience.
Taking the conversation to where your customers are is no longer an option, as is treating your customer like ‘just a customer’. With a nod to David Ogilvy’s, “the consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife”, the expectation is for brands to understand, to be relevant, to engage, and to treat customers as if the brand couldn’t survive without them…
3. Identifying the best ‘context’
With content marketing now firmly established as a powerful means to attract and engage with today’s audience, further benefits come with identifying the best ‘contexts’ for content delivery. As much as $67 billion is expected to be spent on digital marketing in 2015 and much of that investment will be guided by customer context considerations. What does all this mean? Programmatic media buying will become critical to maximising ROI for digital advertising budgets. And what does that mean? So you’ve created and curated great content, now you need to know where to amplify it, when to share it, and why your audience would be interested in your message.
4. Spoiling your users with mass customization
Henry Ford reportedly said “People can have the Model T in any color – as long as it’s black”. Today it is mass customization that presents a big opportunity for every B2C marketing strategist as a means to stay relevant with their customers and differentiate from their competitors.
A Bain survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers found that while less than 10% have tried customization options, between 25% to 30% are interested in doing so. Delivering mass customisation requires a creative problem solving approach, as demonstrated by some big brands that have been investing in mass customization.
Prominent examples include Nike Id custom shoe design, M&Ms with your own printed message, and Coca-Cola, who invested $100 million into Freestyle vending machines that allow consumers to personalize their drink from their smartphone.
5. Considering mobile as your first touch point
The mantra of ‘mobile first’ has been with us for a while in marketing circles and its significance only seems to grow with every quarter that passes. The issue is a particularly crucial one for retailers, where the proportion of sales made via mobile phones or tablets already stands at around 27 per cent and continues to rise.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the first point of contact between brands and consumers, marketing strategists must take full account of this fundamental shift. If you are not yet convinced, try searching ‘buy shoes’ on your phone and canvas the first page of results. The addition of ‘mobile friendly’ as a tag in Google is a pretty convincing shot across the bow for the laggards.
As a whole, confidence in digital channels among marketing decision makers is rising at a rate of 10 per cent each year. As digital transformation continues to open up new horizons and redefine the landscape of opportunities that exist, a relevant marketing strategy is one that has also adapted in order to take advantage of the new ways to connect and engage with audiences.
Whatever the year brings, a focus on finding out more about big data, adopting a user-centric approach, leveraging your content by delivering in the right contexts, engaging users with mass customisation, and being truly mobile first is sure to inform a marketing strategy that is in good shape for the future.