Digital transformation: A buzzword marketers are continually told is essential to go through. As a result, clients often come to us wondering why it's so critical to modern-day operations. While it does sound like just another fad that comes and goes, digital transformation is here to stay. That’s because its main goal is to enable marketers to unify their data and technologies in real-time, so they can use that data to provide automated, personalized experiences.
But there’s more to digital transformation than just updating your MarTech. At its core, digital transformation is about how marketers create new or modify existing business technologies and processes to attract new customers, nurture prospects, and enhance the customer experience. In this article, we are going to examine what a marketer’s digital transformation looks like, from the planning stages to the end state. By having a true picture of what your digital transformation initiative could look like, it’s easier to visualize and attain.
The Foundation of a Successful Digital Transformation
Your strategy is what will make or break your digital transformation initiative. So, let's go back to the main goal of digital transformation. With customers expecting more personalized experiences across all channels, marketers must track how their audiences are engaging with their brands online as social media is often the first-place customers check when researching new products or services. And throughout interactions with your brand(s), they want each channel to consider their communication preferences. This means marketers must use new technologies in order to create new, personalized experiences.
A digital transformation strategy helps you craft these highly personalized experiences by analyzing your overall marketing strategy and then laying out how you can harness new technologies and automations to transform how customers consume information. When beginning to craft your digital transformation strategy, it’s critical to understand the overarching goals of digital transformation and create a strategy that will enable you and your team to accomplish them.
Goals of a Marketer's Digital Transformation
Establish a data-driven approach to marketing
Enable deeper segmentation across your MarTech stack
Automate repetitive, manual tasks
Enhance personalization across all channels
Establish a Data-Driven Approach to Marketing
Any digital transformation initiative should begin with a data-driven approach to marketing operations. Customer data should drive every decision your team makes instead of relying on gut reactions.
From a technical point of view, you must break down informational silos by consolidating all your customer and marketing data in one place. In past articles, such as “What is a Data Platform (CDP)?” and “Digitally Transform Marketing Operations with a ‘One CRM’ Marketing Hub," we’ve discussed that creating a single view of your customer not only empowers you to share, analyze and act on data, but it also establishes a foundation for crafting highly personalized experiences. But implementing new methods for capturing and managing data is only useful if there’s buy-in throughout your entire organization. Before implementing any new tech or processes, take the time to foster a data-driven culture.
How to Create a Data-Driven Culture
Buy-in starts at the top. Senior leaders must focus on making data-based decisions if they expect their employees to do the same. They must lead by example.
Choose metrics with care. Select metrics that truly measure how your marketing efforts exceed your audiences’ and organization’s expectations. When done right, accomplishing your marketing goals should assist in contributing to accomplishing your company’s overall strategic objectives.
Train beyond your data analysts. Your data analysts aren’t the only ones who should understand how customer behavior influences outcomes. Coach your team on how your customer data is gathered and collected, so they can have a hand in making more accurate decisions and achieving team goals.
Promote knowledge sharing. Decisions are stronger when viewed from different perspectives. Implement regular KPI meetings with cross-functional contacts to discuss your overall metric and campaign results, so everyone throughout your organization can gain a better understanding of your customers and how you are meeting theirs and your organization’s expectations.
Enable Deeper Segmentation Across Your MarTech Stack
Once you establish a real-time source of customer data in one place using a customer data platform (CDP), it's critical to refine your segments. For example, Salesforce’s CDP features an easy-to-use interface, a standardized data model, and drag-and-drop functionality to enable marketers to build comprehensive segments without being reliant on developers or IT teams to write SQL statements. These segments can then be activated downstream within Salesforce Marketing Cloud, enabling your team to create rich nurturing journeys and personalized communications.
When crafting new segments, the trick is to create ones that include your loyalists as they will be the most likely to convert and purchase from you many times over. Group this segment based on those customers who opted into all SMS or email preferences and regularly consume your content. Begin to analyze which emails and campaigns have been most effective as well. You want to understand what content has made the largest impact on your loyalists, so you can continue to encourage continued conversions. Having this segment in place will help you create custom journeys and communications that will drive revenue growth over time.
Automate Repetitive, Manual Tasks
Most of marketers’ time is spent collecting, organizing, and analyzing data, and then manually creating campaigns and communications in response to past results. Having to manually gather performance data, adjust your creative assets to respond to your data findings, and re-establishing new send lists takes time away from focusing on more strategic objectives that grow the business.
With your data analysis and segmentation strategy established, you can more easily create custom journeys that tailor each interaction with customers, thus creating an ongoing, seamless experience. For example, with Salesforce’s Journey Builder, based on life events and previous interactions with your teams and brands, you can establish actions that can either send them personalized content, notify your sales team to reach out to them, and more.
Every action can even be A/B tested in real-time empowering you with an added level of customization and optimization. This way, you can focus on objectives that truly matter and will add to the customer experience.
Enhance Personalization Across All Channels
With more customers expecting brands to provide personalized experiences across all channels, digitally transforming your personalization capabilities can help you stand above the noise generated by other competitors. Of course, having your customer data activated downstream across your whole MarTech stack is a huge step forward in enhancing personalization as it enables you to customize email content and build customized user journeys. But there’s also other technology you can utilize to make huge strides in personalization.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are opening up new opportunities to personalize the customer experience. For example, by implementing AI & ML in your MarTech stack with personalization tools, such as Salesforce’s Einstein, you can:
Score every customer’s likelihood to engage with emails, notifications, or convert on your website
Deliver dynamic content or product recommendations through analyzing engagement and purchasing history
A/B test personalized messaging in real-time with AI-powered performance reports and recommendations
Prevent unsubscribes by analyzing how many emails to send to certain customer segments
Combining customized user journeys with stronger, more personalized messaging empowers your team to reduce churn and encourage continual engagement.
Begin Your Own Marketing Digital Transformation
Digital transformation, while incredibly useful and rewarding when done right, does take time. It’s a continuous process, one that you iterate on over time. It’s important to start small and focus on low-hanging fruit that will remove roadblocks that are making it harder to accomplish your objectives and satisfy customers’ needs. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your digital transformation journey doesn’t have to be completed in a day either.
Watch our latest webinar on-demand, a Digital Transformation Fireside Chat with SPARC Group LLC, for more examples of how you can digitally transform your marketing operations. In this webinar, SPARC Group, a fashion industry leader that designs, sources, manufactures, distributes and markets women's, men’s, and kids' apparel and accessories worldwide, speaks on how they enhanced their personalization capabilities by digitally transforming their operations.