The phrase “digital transformation” is often used—from the media to boardrooms worldwide—but the very definition of this word is not entirely obvious. Sure, we all know it’s got something to do with enhancing digital systems, but what does this mean for the marketing world?
In professional industries, digital transformation refers to how digital technology is understood, implemented, and incorporated into day-to-day tasks, whether by individual employees or throughout the entire business operation.
Way back, when businesses abandoned file cabinets and manual procedures in favor of computers, the first real digital shift happened. Yet, this idea of “digital transformation” has developed with the technology itself over the years.
As technology advances, businesses need more extensive digital transformations to keep up.
WHAT IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
Although trying to sum up “digital transformation” can be tricky with the definition being so obscure, the actual idea is very straightforward.
Essentially, we’ve been seeing digital transformation for years and are now witnessing an acceleration.
At the individual level, digital transformation could be something as useful as electronic health records in the medical or wellness industries. The shift to digital records makes this information more accessible, and easier to analyze, and raises the possibility that health professionals can make better-educated judgments.
On a larger scale, digital transformation has already shown what it can achieve for companies such as Amazon and Uber. These companies have taken classic business principles, such as retail sales and transportation, and utilized revolutionary digital technology to leapfrog the competition.
In general, though, digital transformation is frequently seen as a whole in terms of how it affects business. For those with a vision, it may bring about some exciting and beneficial developments in marketing.
HOW DOES DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INFLUENCE DIGITAL MARKETING?
THE DIGITAL FUNNEL
The digital funnel, a traditional construct used by marketers to map out the activities prospective buyers take, pursuing a multistage journey that eventually culminates in committing to an actual purchase, is one of the first instances where digital transformation affects marketing.
The marketing funnel was straightforward before the arrival of digital technologies.
The five stages are as follows:
- Awareness: This is the point when consumers recognize that you provide a product or service they are searching for.
- Interest: When a consumer does more research to see if your company matches their demands.
- Consideration: A consumer starts taking a keen interest.
- Intent: When the consumer begins forming a preference in favor of a company because they believe they need the product or service.
- Decision: A consumer becomes a customer after making a purchase.
Before digital marketing, businesses in virtually every state could only generate marketing materials and hope for the best. An intervention was only conceivable if a knowledgeable salesperson were there to connect with a prospective customer personally.
Now, with digital transformation, these processes provide a business with a much larger degree of process control, granting marketers two crucial new tools: multistage interaction and analytics.
THE POWER OF PERSONALIZATION
The ability to tailor information to specific clients is one of the most effective ways the digital revolution has transformed how digital marketing works.
Due to the combination of metrics and interaction, monitoring individual customer activities and behavior is now feasible and then using that data to deliver a customized marketing response.
Keeping note of a customer’s purchase and subsequently proposing related products—or, in some instances, “refills” for consumable items—is just the beginning. Social media platform analytics can now follow individual consumers’ interests, make suggestions, and even send targeted emails based on that consumer’s behavior before they convert.
When consumer interest is monitored on social media, marketing professionals no longer need to predict where consumer interest may lie.
DATA + DIGITIZATION = REIGN SUPREME
Before the digital transformation started gaining traction, the most significant “blind spot” in marketing was the absence of high-quality, usable data for marketing professionals to draw conclusions from.
There was no reliable method to gauge the impact of marketing material after a television ad, or any sort of media campaign was launched. This left marketers scratching their heads, wondering just how many individuals saw the campaign, let alone purchased the product just because of it?
Analytics has been a game changer for marketing, and digital transformation emphasizes how important it will be in all future marketing endeavors. For example, a video on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or another social media site can show a marketing team precisely how many people viewed the video. Also, if those individuals click on a CTA button, which redirects the viewer to a website, it’s pretty simple to determine how successful the video is at converting people. More than that, other more precise data becomes accessible, such as which social media platforms individuals viewed the video on, where these people reside, and what time of day the video had the most views and click-throughs.
When it comes to performance, understanding your audience and target market is key. That’s where cookies, pixels, and other tracking are handy. In short, these are used daily across hundreds of thousands of websites worldwide to better understand prospective and current audiences—which essentially helps with marketing to future audiences and optimizing for increased conversions (sales, leads, etc.) and a lower cost per conversion.
What’s the difference between a cookie and a pixel? The difference lies in how the information is relayed and where it sits. Cookies are saved on the user’s browser (Chrome, for example)—these don’t allow brands to track cross-device activity, and users can also clear their cookies or even block sites from loading cookies in their browser. On the other hand, pixels can track user activity across their devices (tying in marketing efforts across websites and digital ads).
In other words, digital transformation now provides marketing professionals with far more detailed user data and analytics, enabling them to fine-tune and improve marketing strategies. Knowing what doesn’t work, what does, and how well it works allows you to be more agile, responsive, and targeted.
INTERACTIVITY IS CHANGING THINGS UP IN A BIG WAY
The influence of digital transformation on interactivity has been enormous and unparalleled. Digital media, as opposed to conventional media such as cinema, television, and music, is interactive, providing consumers more control over what they consume, how they consume it, and with whom they share it.
Websites, for example, can now offer visitors choices about what information they want to see and how they want to consume it. People may connect with corporate profiles on social media by asking questions and receiving replies. Customers may add comments or rate the material they read or watch using the heart, thumbs-up, and favorite buttons.
Like live-streaming, live advertising allows customers to be on social media while watching an influencer promote a product. Instead of just watching an influencer, viewers may now engage with them by leaving comments, providing recommendations, and even receiving answers during the live broadcast. In the future, there may be a degree of engagement and involvement that was just not feasible before digital transformation. This affects the breadth and character of how marketers may approach their audiences.
ON THE BALL AUTOMATION
When it comes to influencing a purchase choice, timing is everything. A customer may be ‘on the fence” about making a purchase, even going as far as to complete the basic buying steps, only to abandon the cart phase before committing to an actual purchase.
Automation mixed with metrics implies that customer behavior may be observed and handled without the need for a person to oversee the activity and hope to notice and respond to it in time. When particular data or activities are identified, the software may respond to those circumstances by sending emails or customized messages quickly, without needing to tell a human agent to act urgently.
This sort of automation is becoming more common as chatbots do basic customer care assistance for simple activities, enhancing marketing response and efficiency.
Digital transformation can impact a wide range of both operational and marketing operations. The goal is to understand what’s required, to learn from digital pioneers across industries, and ensure your organization has the technology, procedures, and personnel it needs to grow and succeed.
If you’re keen to learn more about how your business can maintain relevance by adapting to change and capturing value through digital transformation, get in touch with us today!