The rise of the internet and the proliferation of digital, not only as a technology but also as a media format, have had profound and unexpected effects on 21st-century life.
While everyone expected digital technology to speed up things, few predicted the social impact that digital media, combined with online connectivity, would have.
When it comes to marketing, the shift to digital has had far-reaching consequences.
Now, digital media properties such as more accurate metrics, combined with interactivity, have created entirely new marketing opportunities.
So there’s no denying that digital technology can be a powerful marketing tool.
But what about the actual digital transformation? What does this have to do with changing the way marketing works?
The Undeniable Change
While the term “digital transformation” may appear to be a nebulous concept, the actual results are fairly straightforward.
We’ve been witnessing them for years and are now witnessing an acceleration of previous changes.
When professionals discuss digital transformation, they are referring to how digital technology is understood, then applied, and integrated into our daily work tasks, whether at the daily, individual employee level or in the broader sense of entire business operations.
Individually, digital transformation could be as effective as electronic health records in the medical or wellness industries.
The shift to digital records makes this information more accessible, faster to process, and increases the likelihood that health professionals will be able to make more informed decisions.
On a larger scale, the digital transformation has already demonstrated what it can do for companies such as Amazon and Uber.
These companies have taken traditional business concepts, such as retail sales and transportation, and applied innovative digital technologies to leapfrog the competition.
In general, however, digital transformation is usually viewed as a whole in terms of how it affects business.
For those with vision, it can bring about some exciting and profitable changes in the field of marketing.
The Digital Funnel
The funnel, a traditional concept used by marketers to map out the actions potential customers take, taking a multi-stage journey that eventually results in committing to an actual purchase, is one of the first places where digital transformation influences marketing.
- Before the advent of digital technologies, the marketing funnel was simple and, in some ways, impenetrable. The five stages are as follows:
- Consumers first become aware that you provide a product or service that they may be looking for during the awareness stage.
- Interest – when a shopper conducts additional research to determine whether your company meets their needs.
- Intent – when they begin to build towards a decision in favor of a business because they believe they require the product or service.
- After making a purchase, a consumer is converted into a customer.
In almost every state, a business could only create marketing materials and hope for the best in a pre-digital marketing world.
An intervention was only possible if a knowledgeable salesperson was present to directly engage with a potential customer.
Because of digital transformation, these steps now give a business much more control over the process, providing marketers with two invaluable new tools: multi-stage interactivity and analytics.
Personalization Is Possible
The ability to personalize content to individual customers is one of the most effective ways that digital transformation has changed the way digital marketing works.
Because of the combination of metrics and interactivity, it is now possible to track individual consumer actions and behavior and then use that data to provide a personalized marketing response.
Keeping track of a customer’s purchase and then suggesting similar products—or, in some cases,’ refills’ for consumable items—is only the beginning.
With social media platform metrics like Facebook, it’s now possible to track individual customers’ interests, make recommendations, and even send personalized emails based on that consumer behavior before they convert.
When consumer interest is tracked on social media, marketing professionals no longer need to guess where consumer interest may lie.
Data Is Queen in Digitization
Before the digital transformation, the single biggest ‘blind spot’ in marketing was a lack of high-quality, actionable data on which marketing experts could base their decisions.
There was no accurate way to engage the effectiveness of marketing content once a subway station poster or a television commercial was created.
How many people saw that subway advertisement? How many people saw the commercial on television, let alone bought the product solely because of it?
Analytics was a game-changer in marketing, and digital transformation continues to emphasize how important it will be in all future marketing efforts.
A video on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform, for example, can inform a marketing team.
Furthermore, if those people click on the “Call To Action” button, which redirects the viewer to a website, it is simple to determine how effective the video is at converting people.
There are more granular data available, such as which social media platforms people watched the video on, where these people live, and what time of day the video received the most views and click-throughs.
In other words, digital transformation now provides marketing professionals with much more precise user data and metrics, allowing them to fine-tune and optimize marketing strategies.
Knowing what doesn’t work, what does, and how well it works allows you to be far more agile, responsive, and targeted.