We work on a daily basis with companies wishing to accelerate their digital transformation. As leaders read and hear a lot about the growing possibilities offered by new technologies, they wonder if their marketing function is up to par, especially in the use of these new possibilities. Very often our observation is the following: all the ingredients for success are in place, the required investments have been made in technology, but the arrival of digital technology and all the data it generates destabilizes those who must use it. This loss of benchmarks “blocks” the marketing function, which takes refuge in its operating habits. The customer experience is therefore not there.
The whole problem ultimately comes from the fact that the transformation of marketing in the digital age is first and foremost a paradigm shift. Meeting this challenge requires a change of mind and even a way of working, which is not the province of technology.
From there, in our opinion, the 4 challenges of the marketing function of the company or organization are as follows
Challenge # 1: Moving from guessing marketing to certainty marketing
Just yesterday, the marketing function worked with socio-demographic and behavioral data. A target group was established based on common denominators: their age, their level of education, their place of residence (rural or urban), their income, etc. This target group presented by assumption a good chance to be interested in the product or service. “Good luck” meant at best a 10% chance. The rest, 90%, was a loss assumed at the outset.
If this margin of error were accepted, it is completely unbearable in the era of Big Data and all its analytical instruments. Because the reality today is as follows: the information generated by the capture, analysis, and processing of data is immensely more precise than that which is presumed by humans.
The “digital data” provided by Search, the combination of data generated by DMP and the recommendation engines (machine learning) makes it possible to replace the assumption by certainty, or almost, which considerably increases the accuracy of targeting while delivering an experience positive and memorable to the consumer. Instead of presuming a potential need common to the whole of a target group, we detect a purchase intention on a case by case basis: such an individual is today even likely to buy my product or my service. He was spotted by algorithms based on his profile and his consumer behavior. Even better: we know how to reach him.
From there, to continue to target in a socio-demographic way and to carry out its marketing offensive starting from the postal codes, for example, is an aberration whose practice is explained only by the habit or the ignorance of two things: the new possibilities and new consumer expectations. The world is changing: we must change too.
Challenge 2: Go to hyper-personalization of messages and recommendation
Most marketing offensives are still worked out by a media strategist who builds an annual dissemination calendar based on qualitative and quantitative studies… and a good dose of subjectivity.
As competent and experienced as he may be, this media strategist will never be as precise and effective as machine learning processing huge amounts of data in order to detect purchase intentions. It will never be able to replace a tool specifically programmed to trigger behavior in a consumer whose visit, via digital, makes him a client with very high potential. These tools have the power to transform a prospect into a customer by making a relevant offer when he is most receptive.
As much as the traditional media required planning in advance, the possibilities of marketing automation and programmatic marketing allow reaction today in real-time. All companies today claim a desire to switch their advertising investments to digital so … why continue to make annual plans?
More Here again, the challenge is that of a paradigm shift: the marketing functions must develop new reflexes, think differently.
Challenge # 3: Switch from product to personalized customer experience
In the digital age, the product is no longer at the center of the marketing strategy. As curious as it may seem, effectiveness consists of capturing an audience and in building their loyalty, after which (and after which only) the product will be offered to it. Why? Because the customer experience is today an essential component of the offer. The consumer bought a product yesterday. Final point. Today, he begins by adhering to the values attached to this product. Even more and more often, its membership precedes its purchase.
This is also the reason why so many sectors of activity are experiencing difficulties. As they focus their strategies on their products or services, as usual, new players capture their audience by providing them with interesting content that can help them solve problems. When the time is right, this solution becomes a terribly attractive product. That’s it.
This is one of the most difficult transformations to be carried out within the marketing functions because they must imperatively question the dominant role of product marketing within the value chain.
Challenge # 4: Consider all points of contact with the consumer in calculating ROI
ROI-based decisions that only measure the economic performance of call centers and retail outlets are increasingly biased. Why? Because they only consider two points of contact with the consumer, whereas today there are tools to follow him in real-time on all the points of contact with which he interacts.
Thanks to web analytics and attribution models, it is now possible to consider all the points of contact and therefore to make more informed strategic decisions, based on complete rather than partial data. If ROI is still at the center of business decisions, it can no longer be calculated as before: it is to ignore essential data.
One of the major projects of the marketing function, therefore, consists in taking digital performance into account and integrating it into its analysis. To achieve this, it is necessary to set up the measurement infrastructure which will be able to generate the required data. Here again, you have to change your way of thinking.
Invest in technology, but also on the evolution of ways of doing things and talents
Going digital is not just about investing in data capture, analysis and processing equipment, and software. We could even say that this investment represents only half of the investment required. The other half should be spent on transforming the marketing function of the company or organization.
This transformation of the marketing function requires solid planning since it is not only a question of implementing new technologies but of thinking about new technologies. By comparison, we could say that it is not by buying a recycling bin that we do recycling. It is by working on what people think about recycling, failing which the bin will remain empty and its purchase to be placed in the column of losses. The same goes for technologies: everywhere they prescribe that the ways of doing things must be rethought, that the roles and responsibilities be redefined, in short, that a transformation project is an integral part of the investment.
To take advantage of technologies, the organization must break down silos and form multidisciplinary teams where marketing, distribution, and technology teams will work together like a start-up: sharing, collaboration, synergy, and alignment will create the state of ‘own spirit of transversality, agility and even continuous change. These teams will create technological solutions from the new possibilities offered and real needs and, from there, will identify new ways of working by opening the door wide to design thinking and sprinting. This will not fail to attract and retain the true digital talents, today so precious.
The trap is to invest in these new tools and continue to work as if they were simply new versions … of the old tools. The Big Data, it’s much more than that: it is the scrapping of a bygone way of communicating with consumers. Neglecting the importance of planning this transformation, managing this change in depth, is seriously risking being overtaken by new players and put your investments in the trash. Not even in the recycling bin …
Nichole Kerr is a reporter for SYP Studios. Sarah has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Nichole studied at Anthem Institute in Las Vegas.