Digital marketing at its core

Article

The digitization revolution has extensively influenced businesses regardless of their sectors, value propositions, and organizational structures.

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Several companies have struggled – and some still struggle – to cope with such a transformation, in order not to lose ground, by adopting minor incremental changes. Despite the convenient benefits provided by small adjustments, it evidently appears that those initiatives tend to be fruitless in the long-term, especially if they are not conjugated with a more profound transformation. Hence, to successfully adapt to emerging trends and to handle both market and competitors pressures, it is necessary to fully re-invent your business, embracing and nurturing the digital revolution, from the inside out.
The re-invention processes of your business at its core, meaning central capabilities that allow it to perform effectively, implies a broad strategic re-thinking and a comprehensive view over the whole organizational renovation. The elements composing every business’ core are so embedded and intrinsic that by opting for a digital transformation and lacking to take those into consideration would ultimately be detrimental, inevitably pulling your organization back to its legacy of practices and processes. Therefore, re-invention requires a systematic and coordinated approach across several teams, processes, structures, and business functions.

1. Mastering digital marketing is a priority for your business

Digital transformation has impacted all business functions within every company. Nevertheless, few of them have been influenced as much as marketing by the digital revolution. Specifically with referral to traditional practices and activities, which are currently outdated and which investments result to be mostly insignificant both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Digital marketing may be defined as the set of all those operations performed online or on digital platforms and channels. All the activities run on your company website, blog posts, interactive tools, decisions concerning online branding, online presence, email marketing, and several other initiatives, fall under the digital marketing umbrella.

Differently from traditional marketing practices, however, digital operations require agile development, and an iterative process of testing and learning to improve the whole process. Mainly because, as a consequence of the digital revolution, results driven by digital marketing initiatives have real-time resonance and wider reach, and this might provoke both massive complexities and room for conflicts, as well as unique and endless opportunities and innovation flows. Missing out on the latter would imply a lack of adaptability to change, eventually threatening your business survival.

2. Building digital marketing capabilities

By considering to successfully extend your company’s investments in digital marketing implies that one of the major concerns is whether you should opt for implementing some digital operations or to transform your company into a digital one. Taking into account the current state of the market, with pressures from incumbents as well as from your existing competitors, the second alternative undeniably is the ideal path to follow. Yet, in order to achieve such a result, the key priority is to build digital marketing capabilities and to invest into a broad and comprehensive approach to reach digital success and strike the competition, assuming a superior aggressive competitive position within the market. Hence, five essential imperatives should be taken into account in structuring such capabilities.

  • Integrate digital operations within your global business strategy:
    Coordinate and combine digital and traditional operations, such as planning and execution, in order to explicitly signal the integration of several channels, to ultimately shape a comprehensive and inclusive customer journey.
  • Attract new skills, tailor new roles, and foster iterative learning:
    Establish a team of people with the right skills, by redefining roles and responsibilities, and encouraging initiatives, test-and-learning, and mistakes. Those skill holders would specifically focus on digital operations, tailoring their expertise on online processes and initiatives, with an iterative approach to all the activities in a responsive way.
  • Re-organize digital activities attentively:
    Adopt a specific organizational solution to address digital activities, in order to manage them in-house. Ideally, strategic activities, such as shaping the digital strategy or defining brand-equity procedures, should be centralized within a predominant operative team. On the other hand, daily activities, such as customer service, should be localized in one or smaller and more dynamic teams, in order to speed up processes and enhance your company responsiveness to customers’ needs and expectations.
  • Simplify response methods:
    It is crucial for your business to be reactive in a real-time span and to rapidly handle every customer inquiry, dealing with every single issue through an agile system since it would secure higher customer retention. In order to speed up those mechanisms a constant monitoring, the ability to anticipate and prevent eventual matters, and establish a horizontal promptness appears to be mandatory.
  • Rely on data, analytics, and constant measurement:
    Tracking and monitoring your customer’s activities online, while measuring digital operations performance, would grant a broad and unique knowledge of your segments. Those data might, in turn, orientate your future decision, and provide valuable insights to sense the market, its trends, and prospective opportunities. The informative potential of metrics also allows your company to improve customer acquisition, retention, and overall effectiveness of your whole marketing plan.

3. Digital marketing benefits

Among the several beneficial results that implementing a digital marketing strategy and plan could provide to your business, assuming a long-term view, seven outcomes are most relevant:

  • Content will strengthen the connection with your customers:
    Maintaining an online presence, covering all your touch-points, will increase the number of interactions with your customers, positively affecting your customer retention;
  • Tracking your customers will support shaping their journey:
    By taking into account metrics and insights, your business will be secured with a flow of detailed information, which would contribute in providing your team with riskless decision-making processes in shaping the customer journey, through a set of educated guesses which will be regularly sustained by core data.
  • Real-time testing and learning will increase conversion:
    Another meaningful consequence of tracking and monitoring your customers, through metrics and analytics, is that the testing-and-learning processes will become significantly more time-responsive and the whole procedure would be speeded up.
  • Digital operations will grant you higher marketing ROI and revenues:
    Increasing digital outreach secures your business with cost-effective methods to attain better results, both in terms of customer acquisition, retention, and ultimately generating higher revenues and marketing return on investment (ROI) than traditional practices.
  • Time-sensitive data will provide an easier adaptability:
    By observing your digital marketing performance, and your online operations, your teams are allowed to react and adapt almost in real-time, facing eventual controversies in the short-run, anticipating trends and future possibilities, and planning on the go.
  • Digital marketing will require a more effective organizational structure:
    In order to undertake a digital marketing transformation, the whole strategy must follow a re-inventing process, which in turn implies an organizational adaptation, assuming a cross-functional infrastructure, which allows horizontal operations in order to handle every procedure on a wider spectrum, operating more efficiently.
  • Your company will become more competitive:
    In a nutshell, implementing digital processes and operations will secure your business with a more aggressive and competitive posture within the market, not solely allowing your company to survive this technological transition, but ensuring it will be a leader on the field, because it would grant superior adaptability, a scalable model, effective and efficient practices, and increased relevance for your customers.

Therefore, in order to reach significant results and secure your business position on the market in the long-term and in the digital era, it is indubitably necessary to begin implementing digital marketing as a whole re-inventing operation for your company, not limiting to fewer incremental changes, but considering the core prominence of undergoing a radical transformation. This will offer the company a constant flow of innovation, adaptability to change, and a favourable ecosystem for your customers, and the relationship they decide to build your business. The next issue will elaborate on customer-centricity, in order to provide more insights into the role they play in your business.