So far in this three-part blog series, we’ve focussed on the growing domination of digital marketing to influence consumers and what’s needed to harness the digital channel for effective marketing.

Today to conclude the series, we’re focusing on developing a roadmap to success in digital marketing.

1. Innovation and strategies

The best path for driving up marketing performances and conversions is by creating innovative customer experiences, and by creating specific strategies for media, brand, price and product.

For example, brands such as P&G and Converse are already creating interactive experiences that are designed to capture their customers’ attentions and create tailored engagements. In a similar fashion, telecom companies use data analysis to help them create new innovations such as remote health checks or home monitoring systems.

2. The cross-channel experience

The transition between different channels, and in particular the transition between the digital and analogue world, needs to be made as seamless and as frictionless as possible. When a customer walks into a store to look at a product that they are thinking of purchasing and have reviewed online, the people in the store should already have an idea of what that customer wants, and should greet them in readiness of this. To enhance the cross-channel experience even further, companies need to look at ways of synchronizing the content across different platforms, from smart TVs to tablet and smartphone apps.

3. Enabling operations

Companies need to adopt approaches that are flexible and agile, to create technology and customer-focused business models that support an end-to-end marketing approach in order to deliver an interactive and relevant experience. Coca-Cola are among the business leaders in this approach – by merging their individual departments they are creating the necessary flexible approach.

4. Using analytics

To maximize the return on marketing resources, structured analytic techniques regarding customer data need to be undertaken. One of the roles for the CMO in this new marketing structure is to focus more on the customer, rather than the services and products offered by the company. A CMO is in fact becoming a CXO (Chief Experience Officer). In understanding customer behaviours along the entire purchasing journey a CXO will be able to manage the consumer experience in as streamlined and as synchronized a way as possible. This change in role with mean the CXO will become the new leader of the product management strategy by understanding how the connected consumer experience is driven across multiple channels. This will include strategic requirements such a flexible user interface and a unified way of looking at consumer data, and crucial enablers such as operating models and technology platforms. The CXO will also play a crucial role in making sure that a multi-channel approach plays the central role in the business’s strategy as a whole.

5. How a marketing organization matures

How a marketing organization matures, and how talented they become in driving their own destiny in the digital eco-system will be evaluated using three factors:

a) Unification

Most multi-brand companies concentrate upon the creation of efficiencies by unifying their marketing services across key sectors. Such an approach has so far only met with limited success as it remains the way of the business world for budgets to be fragmented, meaning that unified service groups still have to compete with external service providers for funding. The true working model needs to unify both local and global concerns in a way that can be managed at the local level.

b) Integration

Budgetary issues will remain between analogue and digital media as long as the digital realm is seen as being a separate marketing function. Recently, one company turned down offline media for a particular promotion in the belief that search marketing would generate the results that were desired. This decision resulted in an overall reduction in the volume of searches, which in turn led to a negative impact on the performance of the marketing program as a whole. This kind of experience will be repeated unless companies address the challenges of the addition of digital channels to the whole marketing infrastructure and adopt an integrated approach instead.

c) Talent mix

CMOs need to make such the marketing team they are building has the right mix of talents, as well as managing their own skill-set. Marketing functions urgently need to have the right kind of people on board who have expertise in engineering customer experiences. This will enable the team to address two core business capabilities:

  • Cross-channel optimization – the ability to define patterns and exact opportunities in cross-channel information and data.
  • Cross-channel management – the ability to create customer experiences that are optimized and integrated seamlessly across the different digital channels.

Marketing departments need to focus on developing and broadening their digital capabilities as they move towards a fully integrated digital approach.

Moving beyond digital

The new role of the CMO and marketing departments means more than just a structural change. It means a complete change of the marketing mindset where the focus is upon embracing every aspect of digital channels to best serve the increasingly demanding consumers of today, and in as seamless a manner as possible. No one really anticipated how the internet would completely revolutionize nearly every aspect of human existence, and in particular how consumers now interact with the world of business and commerce.

Companies need to be more proactive than reactive when the next stage of the digital revolution comes around, whatever form that may take. Businesses that keep an exact focus on creating personalized and relevant consumer experiences based on data analysis and emerging technologies will be the ones that are best prepared.

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