Technology is changing the world at rapid speeds, which can be both wonderful and terrible for businesses. On one hand, it helps bring more consumers to your products and services, which can lead to more sales in a shorter period of time. On the other, if you can’t keep up, your competitors who can are going to blow you out of the water. Customers who feel like you aren’t meeting their needs are going to go elsewhere.
What is a Digital Marketing Transformation?
While many experts disagree on an absolute definition of digital marketing transformation, everyone can agree on a few basic aspects. Tasks like adapting a digital marketing strategy, creating a site that allows consumers to access it easily via their mobile devices, and ramping up your social media presence may seem like the obvious answer, but that is all just a part of it.
Digital marketing transformation means changing the way you do business in a digital world. It means changing your company’s culture to make digital marketing a central part of it. With few exceptions, companies should no longer think about digital marketing as a separate entity from their regular marketing plans. It should all just fall together under a general marketing umbrella. There is no longer the question of if you should increase your digital presence. Not having one means becoming obsolete.
Another part of the digital marketing transformation definition has to do with making your business customer-centric. Once upon a time, companies told customers what they wanted, but today, it’s the other way around. Shopping behaviors have changed over the last few years, and digital marketing transformation means keeping up with those behaviors and meeting customer needs.
Common Challenges of Undertaking a Digital Marketing Transformation
Like with any major shift in the way the world does business, digital marketing transformation is not without its challenges. That’s true for both large and small companies, as each will face unique challenges. The most common problem is that most businesses aren’t prepared. Digital marketing is changing at unprecedented rates, and even if you don’t have the staff with the knowhow to keep up, finding and hiring one or more people who can keep up is difficult.
But that’s just the first challenge. Some others include:
1. Managing big data
As of December 2016, 90 percent of all available data in the world had been created in the previous two years. Given that everything we do today, from our car navigation system to the grocery store checkout, produces data, that’s not a surprise. The problem companies are facing is how to manage all that information.
2. Figuring out what the customer wants
Big data makes it easier to target specific customers, and analytics are easier than ever. But at the end of the day, digital marketing transformation is about what the customer wants, and finding that out may seem overwhelming for some marketers.
3. Lack of understanding
If you’ve been in business a while and things are going well, you may not see the need to make changes. That’s exactly the kind of attitude that can cost you everything in the not too distant future. Many business owners and marketers still think of social media or mobile shopping as fads, but the experts say they are here to stay.
4. No time or effort to reorganize
When your company does decide to put its digital presence at the forefront of its operations, it’s going to affect more than just the marketing department. There may be some confusion about what task is whose responsibility. Completely reorganizing your business structure or even just one department can be time-consuming and overwhelming, even when it’s absolutely necessary.
5. Paying too much attention to trends vs. reality
“We absolutely need to build an app.” “We need to focus on Instagram instead of Facebook.” These may be true for some companies, and they may be current trends, but are they a reality for your company? Don’t do things just because everyone else is doing them. Do them because they will help improve the way you do business in the digital age.
Where to Start?
So, you know your company needs a digital marketing transformation. Where do you start? The best answer to that is the same place where you’d start for any major changes. See what your competitors are doing and what the results are. Find out what your customers desire and whether you are meeting those needs. Take a look at your employees, particularly those in marketing, and their day-to-day operations. Are they wasting time doing something a computer could do instead of being creative? The answers to these questions should be the foundation for your digital marketing transformation journey.