Most coverage of digital transformation refers to its impact on the business as a whole, with marketing as one small part of the discussion.  

At a recent Econsultancy event, delegates were offered insights by an industry expert into how digital transformation can transform marketing on its own.

Econsultancy has written a lot about digital transformation over the past few years. Some of the topics we have covered in the blog recently include: 

 We have also offered numerous case studies, including: 

 And research papers for subscribers: 

 ...among others.

Most of our material covers businesses as a whole and intends to inspire marketers to start or contribute to enterprise-wide digital transformation. Yet, there is a case to be made for looking at digital transformation from the perspective of our largest audience, marketers.

At a recent Econsultancy event in Singapore, Digital Outlook 2017 Part 2 hosted by NTUC, Mutiny Asia founder Nick Fawbert did just that and offered insights about what digital transformation means for marketing and how it could potentially change how we do our jobs.

Digital transformation goals

According to Nick, the goal of digital transformation for marketing is a 'reduction in expenditure and an increase in customer retention and spend through the use of digital channels.'

The way that these goals are hit, at a high level, is fairly straightforward. Digital transformation changes the business through digital content, business strategy, effective structures, talent development and industry engagement.

In the trenches, though, digital transformation is not at all straightforward. It is an intensive exercise which requires commitment from everyone in the digital marketing supply chain including senior management, comms, content producers, data and analytics professionals, IT, and even HR.

And while each of these departments will have their own challenges and wins, the biggest shift for marketers is that digital transformation changes the model at the heart of marketing strategy.

The potential of digital transformation for marketing

Before becoming fully digital, marketers tend to map their strategy toward 'the general consumer' or a target market.

A marketing strategy, in this context, is intended to guide the consumer through the various stages of the buyer's journey. It raises awareness through broadcast channels, satisfies interest through content, builds desire through communicating value, and drives action through offers, for example.

Following digital transformation, Nick argues, marketers should not only rethink the strategy but also the whole marketing model. That is, instead of planning to lead a general consumer through the buying funnel, marketers should now devise a strategy which aims to observe the behaviour of individuals through their unique customer journeys and react accordingly.

And with their new strategy, marketers should identify the 'inflection points' which indicate a shift in the customer's needs or a change in their aspiration. Inflection points, Nick told attendees, show that marketing has successfully moved an individual from simply being aware, for example, into being interested or from understanding the value of the product to asking how they can sign up.

Then, using inflection points and new digital technologies, marketers can react in real-time to the individual and deliver the ad, email, social media post, etc. which acknowledges the consumer's change in perspective and keeps them highly engaged.  

For example, if a consumer clicks on an 'awareness' ad and then browses through product information, they should now be considered 'interested'. All future advertising, emails, and other interactions with them should focus on moving them further toward a desire or purchase.

That is, using digital, marketers can now structure the conversation so that each individual is getting the additional information they need at each stage of the buyer's journey.

How marketers can get started with digital transformation

Nick summarised the steps that an organisation has to take in order to carry out digitally transformed marketing strategies.

1) Driven by data

Data must be unified across divisions and ideally with external partners. With data in silos, it will be difficult to know exactly where consumers are in the buying process.

2) Powered by automation

In order to deliver the individualised marketing experience, marketers will need a high level of control over their channels. Only then will they be able to identify inflection points and ensure that what they are delivering satisfies customer needs at each stage.

3) Optimised by analytics

Finally, none of this works without being able to capture and analyse consumer behaviours across digital channels. Experiments, iterative changes, and gradual improvements all work toward an optimal customer-based marketing strategy.

Final words

Nick then finished with some more general advice for the delegates.

Marketers implementing digital transformation, he said, should take small steps toward the larger goal. They should reject 'waterfall' models which plan everything first, then execute, and then finally test. Instead, they should embrace more agile marketing which delivers changes in small chunks with condensed timelines.

And, reminding attendees that digital transformation is ultimately about changing the whole business, marketers should ensure that they collaborate well with other departments.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank Nick Fawbert, founder of Mutiny Asia, for his presentation as well as the delegates who took time out of their busy schedules to attend.

We hope to see you all at future Singapore Econsultancy events!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 7 July, 2017 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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