Reading some of the current business literature and advice columns sometimes creates the impression that digital transformation is something nasty and ominous. An unstoppable force that everyone just has to deal with – grudgingly, whether they want to or not – like global warming or premature hair loss.
Accept what you cannot change, the literature suggests, and get with the digital program by following these easy strategies (or accept going out of business before the end of the year).
Perhaps some perspective is in order. A bit more optimism and a lot less doom and gloom in facing these changes.
Because if you’re like us, you’re excited – no, thrilled – about digital transformation and the million ways it puts marketers in touch with today’s hyper-connected consumers.
Time for optimism
Just imagine how fast everything is moving today, including the very channels we marketers get to play with: It took landline phones 110 years to reach a user base of 1 billion. Television went to 1 billion in 49 years; mobile phones in 22 years, and the Internet in 14 years.
Smartphones, drivers of the mobile hyper-connectivity revolution, reached 1 billion users in a mere 8 years(!) according to the ISB Digital Summit. This sets the stage for historic levels of reach, impact, conversions, and real-time dialogue with consumers like never before in the history of the world.
“We are living in a time warp which is a massive windfall for the digital marketer,” said Selligent chief marketing officer Nick Worth at this year’s #RECONNECT15 digital conference in Munich in front of an enthusiastic audience of digital marketing pros.
Now is the time to be more enthusiastic than ever. After all, this a glorious (digital) age we live in. And we have the 7 Reasons Why Marketers Should Be Excited About Digital Transformation:
1. The audience is listening – around the clock. Think back to those days when marketers tried to call consumers on their landline phones – and actually catch someone who happened to be home. Today, smartphone owners can be reached anywhere on the go, and 48% of them never shut down their phone while 64% even sleep with their mobile next to their bed. Now all you need is the right message…
2. Marketing Mega-Hits happen over night. Everything is accelerating, even food marketing. McDonald’s needed 18 years to sell its first 100 million burgers by the year 1958. Powered by the digital marketing boost of social media, Taco Bell sold 100 million units of their Doritos Locos Tacos – featuring a taco shell composed of Doritos chips – within a mere 10 weeks in 2012. That’s Loco, indeed!
3. The power of word-of-mouth. A great brand reputation has always been fundamental to efficient marketing and still goes a long way today. Turns out, reputation will even short-circuit people’s decision-making: Today, 6 in 10 users consult their smartphones during in-store shopping. While 38% call a friend for advice, 25% look up prices, and 24% look up reviews (Pew Institute study). If your brand comes out on top across these areas, conversion has never looked better: 60% online consumers said that they now make purchasing decisions faster because of available online research (Google).
4. Multiple touch points, and they all matter. Forget the traditional path to purchase – customers now “hop” across different screens, hitting different milestones of their customer journeys in an order of their choosing. Every interaction is influential, each touch point must inspire the shopper to move forward. According to Google and Crossview Insights, 67% of shoppers now use multiple devices to shop online – so marketers are banking on omnichannel solutions to support leaping from channel to channel.
5. Virtual engagement, real rewards. Digital rewards and loyalty points programs have evolved nicely, but brands are now finding innovative ways to throw their fans some real-life rewards. Pepsi recently rolled out their Web-connected Pepsi Like Machine that churns out a can of icy cold Pepsi when customers “like” the brand on Facebook. While this idea will put sample-slinging promo girls – a marketing tradition of over 50 years – out of business, the digital connection allows Pepsi to keep the conversation going after that soda’s been slurped. Cool!
6. The Internet of Things connects to people. Direct marketing used to mean knocking on someone’s door to make a sales pitch. Now connected devices are unlocking new levels of convenience in households, together with great opportunities for marketers to embed their products deep into the everyday lives of customers. GE and Quirky recently released the Eggminder, a device that tracks the quantity and freshness of eggs in people’s fridge with a smartphone app, putting an end to having to scramble for fresh eggs. Next up are automatic refresh orders on groceries and household items, heralded by Amazon’s Dash Buttons.
7. This is only the beginning. We’ve come a long way from landline phones and one-size-fits-all marketing materials. More than 5.3 billion mobile devices provide personalized access to customers today, and the amount of customer data – together with ways to drive relevant marketing based on this data – is skyrocketing. In the future, brands with strong digital infrastructure will know what customers like and want – even before the customers know themselves. With real-time, in-the-moment marketing based on customer data, everyone will have access to their own virtual shopping assistant at every step of their own, personal customer journey. For digital marketers, it’s a blue sky moment in an emerging market – and data is the fuel.
Selligent moves ahead
With all these these radical changes – the empowerment of the consumer and the rapid evolution of digital marketing – we at Selligent always aim to be at the cutting edge of changes. It’s the reason why we showcased the integration of Amazon’s Dash buttons into our platform at the world’s premier digital marketing event (dmexco) this year and it is why we constantly strive to add significant new features and functionality to achieve end-to-end Omnichannel Audience Engagement for our customers.