Let’s imagine digital transformation as a huge asteroid hurtling toward your business — regardless of whether you’re following its forecasted path or not, it’s going to leave a mark. (Unless, of course, you have Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck on your team of experts, in which case Armageddon is canceled, and you can go on your merry way.)
What I’m trying to illustrate here is that, whether you know it or not, digital transformation is already affecting your business. Your customers and potential leads are better informed, further down the sales funnel, and loaded with more preconceptions than ever before. You can choose to be daunted by that or you can choose to see the trend as an opportunity, because, frankly, those same forces that are feeding them information are also handing you incredible advantages.
The flip side to digital transformation is that marketers are also better informed — we can know more about the habits, preferences, histories, and behaviors of customers than ever before. Smart companies are harnessing that huge data set and using it to guide strategy.
According to the Aberdeen Group, best-in-class organizations are 93 percent more likely to use data to personalize content or communications. In a 2017 report, Aberdeen reported that data-driven marketing and analytical tools “provide clear answers about who to target, where there are opportunities for interactions, when such opportunities arise, and what works best in any given situation.” You’ll notice the how and why questions are missing because Aberdeen attributes those answers to the creativity of the marketer. (See? Humans still have value!)
What can your team do? The details depend on the maturity of your marketing organization — are you a Level 1 team that has yet to engage digital media, a Level 2 team that has jumped in but might be in over your head in pulling actionable information from results, or a Level 3 team with efficient teams and killer data sets? Regardless of which you are, there are three areas you should focus on:
A unified approach: The whole team has to understand that potential customers are already conducting their purchasing research, so marketing efforts have to consistently demonstrate the company’s brand, reliability, leadership in the industry, and trustworthiness across all channels. A unified voice and message go much farther than a scattershot of ideas.
Useful content: Create content that not only informs but inspires with its style and substance. This is more than product descriptions and industry overviews; it’s useful content free of sales-speak and expectations, and it communicates transparency by offering different viewpoints.
Analytics: Digital marketing content delivers value to customers in the form of information, but it also delivers value to your team in the form of data. Who likes this content? Who shared it? Who acted on it? When? If you’re not measuring the performance of your marketing efforts — and then acting on those insights — then you’re wasting opportunities.
Don’t let digital transformation diminish your sales and marketing teams’ performance. Hitch yourself to this comet to see where it can take you.
Read the full report from D Custom to learn more.
How mature is your team when it comes to content marketing? Answer these seven questions to find out!
I’d like our company to be known as home to the world’s greatest __________.
b. Sales team
c. Thought leaders
If I contact my customer, it’s usually to:
a. Tell them about my product launch
b. Inform them about industry trends and how my company fits in
c. Communicate a topic of interest to them, based on the persona I’ve created for them
What is the best purchase you’ve ever made?
a. Updated trade show banners
b. Content management system
c. Analytics software
What marketing tactic do you see companies using all the time, but it doesn’t seem to have any value for your organization?
a. Social media
b. Free content
c. Business cards
How coherent is your online presence (embodied as a movie character)?
a. Dory: We forget who we’re talking to
b. Ron Burgundy: We’re kind of a big deal
c. Gandalf: We share the wisdom you need
What’s one thing that, if you had it, would transform your organization?
a. We don’t need to transform; we’re already great
b. A marketing expert to jump-start our content efforts
c. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
What has been more potent for your search performance — paid or organic search?
a. I don’t believe in organic anything
b. They’re managed by two different teams, so I’m not sure
c. That’s like picking my favorite child. How dare you ask me to choose?
How did you score?
Mostly As: It’s tempting to think that the laws of inertia apply to business — we’ve been successful so we’ll keep being successful — but that’s not the case. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate how digital marketing can fit into your overall plan.
Mostly Bs: Finishing in the middle of the pack can be a respectable performance (if it’s your first marathon), but when the tools to pull ahead are at your fingertips, why not go for it? It’s time to give your marketing team the push (and budget) to use digital transformation to their benefit.
Mostly Cs: Congratulations, you’re a Level 3 marketer who puts everyone else to shame. You have a good handle on who your customers and potential leads are, what they want, and how to best communicate with them. Digital transformation isn’t just a buzzword for you; it’s a way of life.
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