Digitalization is progressing ever faster. Consumers have access to constantly new state-of-the-art technologies. This leads to new and growing customer expectations that companies need to fulfill in the context of digital change.
The challenges of digital marketing have become increasingly complex due to a stronger market and customer orientation or the immense demand of information in ever shorter intervals. But what exactly is it that marketing executives need to prepare for now and in the near future, and how can they achieve this? This post offers some first ideas.
1) MANAGING THE FLOOD OF DATA
Nowadays, advertisers collect massive amounts of data on customer preferences and behavioral patterns – online and offline. They are mainly used for marketing purposes to gather new insights about customer behavior and campaign performances.
However, most of that data is unstructured. Marketing departments need to prepare it before they can draw useful information from it. This is where many companies fail. They collect data but don’t use it effectively to optimize their advertising measures. The main difficulties here are above all the lack of data linkage, technologies currently in use, and inflexible organizational structures.
Some data is better than other. It’s not about collecting endless amounts, but to focus on the data that is truly relevant. This is how advertiser can draw new insights with added value.
If a company doesn’t have the necessary resources, it’s worth teaming up with a service provider or agency. They know how to structure data and help the company use existing data volumes effectively.
2) CHANGED USER BEHAVIOR AND GROWINF INFORMATION COMPLEXITY
The variety of different channels, the possibilities of the mobile web or the endless flow of information – all of these factors influence the behavior of consumers and confront marketers with ever new challenges. Methods that once used to work with consumers are quickly outdated and force advertisers to adjust more and more to their customers, and even individuals.
Nowadays, nearly all users research or buy products on several devices. For advertisers, this cross-device usage means more complexity because they need to know the customer and their behavior to be able to communicate with them effectively. Also, while different channels offer plenty of options for marketing measures and customer communication, a lack of insights heightens the risk of bad investments. For a consistent customer experience, companies must have integrated technology platforms that provide a coherent view of the customer.
If companies don’t want to lose their customers, they need to adjust to their changes in user behavior. An example: If more and more existing customers turn to mobile devices, the website must be responsive so the content is properly displayed on their smart phone or tablet. Also, the design of a website has a great effect on the customer experience and should therefore be consistent.
Marketing tools to analyze the user behavior and recognize devices that customers use to research products or to finally generate a conversion, are extremely valuable. They provide important insights to optimize the communication with consumers.
3) INTERNAL TRANSFORMATION AND SILO-THINKING IN TEAMS AND TECHNOLOGIES
Specialists are a relic from the past – cross-channel thinking should become the norm. Reality, however, often tells a different story. Although multi-channel marketing has arrived in theory, in practice the individual channels are still viewed separately.
At the same time, many companies are still stuck in their silo mentality. They collect data, neatly separate and store it in different places instead of transferring everything to a centralized system by default. Moreover, channels are optimized separately, too, since all channel managers have their own budget and don’t want to risk sharing with channels that perform better.
Consumers have long used different channels to interact with companies and have come to expect a seamless experience across all touchpoints. The responsibility for an effective customer experience needs to be shared by the entire company – i.e. data, systems, strategies and processes all need to be effectively combined. Therefore, it is important to put the forms of organizations, roles, responsibilities and everyday work processes to the test.
First of all, the traditional hierarchical company structure should be replaced by a dynamic matrix structure to enhance coordination and a faster implementation of innovations. Expanding the team’s expertise and recruiting new talents can also promote the decrease of outdated structures. Team-building events, work dates or projects across different areas provide excellent possibilities to eliminate the silo mentality of teams and departments. This shifts the focus from own goals to those of the entire department or company.
Attribution solutions can also minimize silo thinking step-by-step. Marketing experts rely on it to see how different channels cooperate and support each other to turn a potential customer into a real customer. It also promotes the development of a common database through which the optimization of all marketing channels can be controlled in one place.