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Understanding Digital Marketing and Digital Transformation

I am passionate about digital transformation and digital marketing because I have used it to achieve our business goals, we live in the digital age and we operate in a digital economy, only those that are digitally equipped will succeed in their career and in business. Many will become millionaires from this and many will be financially free for life. The question is will you be among them? What needs to be done now is to master how I have used:

Digital technology
Digital marketing
Data and Analytics
to transform a failing business into a successful one and growing strong.

First you think 3rd platform technology. Data is the driving force of any successful business, with 3rd platform technology becoming the norm.

Think,

I will not store in physically – Cloud

 

Think,

I will never make decisions without the facts and figures – Big data analytics

 

Think,

I must engage and connect – Social

 

Think,

I must integrate into my customers lifestyle – Mobile first strategy.

 

Then start thinking of how the innovation accelerators can help you achieve these:
-Security for the digital age – Next Generation Security
-Humanizing your business and bringing it to life – Augmented and virtual reality
-Interconnectivity Unified and always connected – ease of use – Internet of Things
-Giving your business a soul – Cognitive or AI
-Getting rid of staff and automating processes and services, focusing on speed of delivery, efficiency, performance and customer experience – Robotics
-Modelling reality : 3D printing

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), The Third Platform is an Information Technology (IT) term coined by IDC that distinguishes the current IT environment of mobile, social, cloud and Big Data from earlier eras of computing. The evolution of the Third Platform has led hardware and software firms to adjust their business models to align more closely with the needs and demands of consumers first, with enhancements for enterprises following.

You need to understand that technology is for you to achieve your goals and not for you to serve it, it is built to serve you. You just need to identify the problem, find the solution, then digitize and automate it.

Now if you have digitized and automated your entire business channels with unified integration and customer centricity, you are at the heart of what you do where you are informed by data, then you are set for life, but how do you then get the customers and keep them?

This is where digital marketing comes into place. You cannot do Digital Marketing perfectly without going through Digital Transformation (DX), and when you go through digital transformation you now need to be informed by data so you move from digital marketing to data driven digital marketing.
So what does this mean? We start with data and finish with data.
At DBT, we are addicted to Application Programming Interface (API), we do so much but built nothing, this is also part of the digital transformation culture, we just acquire and integrate using APIs. What are the consequences of not being informed by data and having unified channels?

 

At this point the business is wasting money and not maximizing opportunity. As a digital expert you must be both innovative and data driven.

 

This is where Big Data comes in, you need a lot of data about your customers, but Iyou need it from a variety of sources that gives you greater insights into customers in your channels and outside your channels, you need this data now and you need it to be accurate.

 

That is a lot of data so how should you see yourself?


Remember what I said, know what the problem is, find a solution using your common sense and trust me it’s easy, then ask Google what tools already have solutions for these and if they have open APIs for integration. Just so you know, merely from what you have learnt so far, you are a digital solutions architect, you just need practice.
Automation (or digitization) is the number one disruptive force, and companies that lag or refuse to move in this direction will greatly suffer and eventually get pushed out of the market, an example is UK toy emporium, Toy ‘R’ Us, a major go-to spot for birthday and holiday gifts, which was recently forced into bankruptcy after falling behind online- Disruptive Innovation.

Disruptive innovation is a term in the field of business administration which creates a new market and value network, eventually disrupting an existing market and value network and displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. Getting a clearer hang of it now?

Put bluntly, it is the beginning of the end for sales people, as disruptive technology replaces them, and here’s proof- vox.com recently decided to go fully programmatic, selling its premium ads using automated software and data; tons of sales personnel about to be about of job- Disruptive innovation! not just vox.com, but many large corporations and even smaller companies are moving in this direction. Tough truth. This makes it pertinent that as a member of the digital sphere you have to be skilled for this disruption or be pushed out of the market.

Some disruptive technology trends to watch out for include- robots becoming coworkers, AI replacing white collar expertise, self-driving vehicles, virtual reality as commercial reality, robots teaching themselves, bots usurping apps and a whole lot more. Question is how equipped are you for this disruption, as patterns and processes are being automated, what are your chances of staying relevant in the job market in the near future. What are your chances in the face of all these disruptions, will your current skills and knowledge still be relevant in the job market three years from now as business processes are getting more and more automated? We can help you.

 

Let’s begin with equipping you for this fast growing digitized job market and world!

The first thing a business needs is digital presence.

Second, is what digital platforms can you find your customers, which leads to exploration.

The next step is to map out a digital marketing strategy for customer acquisition.

There are quite a number of channels that can be explored when it comes to digital and when we mention channels, it doesn’t just mean digital marketing channels, you can actually break channels into categories, such as- sales channel, marketing channel, service channel, operations channel, customer service channel, finance channel; basically every business activity that has a channel is what must be worked with.

So, the digital marketing channels:

This is basic.

 

However, if you want to be more advanced, this is to get a job, be an expert and run a successful business:

So what is the sales funnel?

Using RACE as the framework-

 

How does it all fit together?

 

Here are trends to watch out for in 2017, and as you can see they are driven by data, digitization as well as automation, and digital marketing will drive IT decision making as they invest in these areas.


So, the next step is to think “how can we digitize these channels?” Because digitization is what Digital Transformation is all about. Digitizing channels and getting them to interact with each other, so we can have a unified system. Once upon a time this was all done the traditional way, which was slower and not so effective anymore.

As we move towards digitizing sales, digitizing marketing, digitizing customer service, it will become so much easier to be informed and make decision based on data gathered, because, all of the activities of the customer is automatically stored on the system per customer, so all departments can access this system and get information as regards marketing to or serving the customer.

Imagine the immense opportunities that lay in being able to automate this whole process, by doing this, you will be driving down operational cost, improving overall product, performance and efficiency which enables you to be a lot more customer centric and deliver customer satisfaction. Digitizing channels is not something any business can ignore, because these are channels that drive customers to the business and all these channels need to be integrated to achieve a unified system where all departments can go to get data regarding customers, strategize and make informed decisions that will grow the business.

Marketing used to be only about just advertising to get customers, now with digital, you can use same advertising medium to, not just find and acquire new customers, but also continue to interact with existing customers, so the process continues all the way to advocacy- where you get your existing customers to be loyal enough to refer more customers to your business. It’s win-win for you.

Talking about the channels used to gain customers, RACE is a framework that is commonly used in the process. It helps create a digital marketing strategy and framework for customer acquisition and customer advocacy, helping to manage and improve results from your digital marketing.

You want to reach potential and existing customers, which begs the questions- Where can we reach our customers?  What digital channels can we use to reach our customers? Search, email, mobile, display, analytics, these are digital channels that can be used to reach customers. It is important to note that the method of converting customers on each channels are different.

You want to reach, prospective and existing customers, through channels they use on a daily basis. Companies are trying to use mediums to integrate into the lifestyles of their customers, Why? because these are channels that customers are using on a consistent, constant basis, compared to the traditional method of reach, which includes bill boards, tv, radio, although, still effective to some extent, not as much as digital.

 

Search-

Basically, as a business, you need to be where your customers are; your customers are on google, this means you need to make your business easily findable on google when customers search for things related to your business- this highlights the importance of search as a digital channel; as it majorly focuses on customer acquisition. Your customers visit various blog sites, it will be a good idea to put display ads on such blog sites. So you need identify what your objectives are and what you want to do or achieve on each of these platforms.

 

Social Media Marketing-

We are in an era where virtually everyone is social media ‘mad’- so if you are looking for Millennials – Snapchat and Instagram is the go-to channel, for the older generation, it’s Facebook, for professionals, LinkedIn. Fundamentally, for every audience there’s a social media channel and they include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, any social media channel that has massive following and is used to interact. There are tons of information and data about every customer on social media that businesses can key into when it comes to understanding customers, and how to strategize in selling, servicing or interacting with them.

 

Email marketing-

Over 90% of people still check their mails every day, making it a powerful tool. This is certainly a channel you want to key into when it comes to reaching both new and existing customers. Develop a contact list, target your audience based on interest and personalize content according to customer information, build relationship with customers. Tools like Mailchimp, Freshmail, Listbuilder etc, are great examples of email marketing tools and they have inbuilt analytical tools that can help measure how well your emails are doing and what is not working, what needs to be modified or improved on.

 

Mobile-

Mobile access has surpassed desktop, more people are accessing the internet via their mobile phones and businesses have to tap into that. Google and Facebook are currently leaders on mobile, while the former is dominating on search, the latter is dominating on mobile. There are of course other platforms out there, but these are the current giants of mobile. Having a mobile friendly website a business, advertising on other mobile website, mobile applications, social networks are what mobile marketing entails.

 

Analytics-

Google analytics used to be the go-to when it comes to analytics, but that has changed, as there are so many analytics tools out there, such as adobe analytics, Tableau, Kissmetrics etc., they are getting smarter and can easily be integrated into other platforms. As a business, you need to explore these varieties of analytics tools and find the one that works for your business. Depending on what solution your company is using, they might have a bespoke analytics tool that is integrated into your Customer Relation Management (CRM) system. For Career Insights, we use Salesforce which is integrated into our CRM system and Salesforce analytics as well.

 

Display-

Involves placing advertisements on blogs sites, which can be in form of banners or videos. Like the other channel, with display, you can build awareness for your business, shape people’s opinion of your brand, find and focus on people who are interested in your products or services and getting them to become customers.

Another great thing about channels is that they let you get market reality, you are able to gather information and data on what people are doing or saying in relation to your service or product at that point in time. Market research is also important, so do your research; but market reality gives you real time idea of what the situation of things really is, helping you to make decisions that will improve on your strategy and service.

Everything mentioned so far are very important because statistics has shown that digital marketing is informing IT decisions, and projects that will be signed off will be based around digital transformation. You cannot talk about Digital Transformation without talking about Digital marketing, as they are very much interlinked. Business are not just employing digital marketing to acquire customers but to also speak to existing customers, as they can gain insights from existing customers via the external channels that these customers use, which are the digital marketing channels.

Again, your prospects as a digital professional or business owner are massive and these statistics are a proof, hence, it is pertinent that you key into these opportunities so as not to be left behind.

These trends are creating a desperate need for Digital Project Managers and Business Analysts, Digital solution architects, Digital Marketers, Web Analysts, Big data Analysts, CRM & Business Intelligence experts, GDPR PMs & Bas, if you snooze on the opportunities that abound therein, you lose.

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