Digital transformation has quickly transitioned from an ambitious undertaking of innovative brands to a requirement for any business that hopes to remain competitive in the next decade. The term broadly describes:
the process of transforming an organization's business model and operations to embrace digital technologies
the digitization of existing products and services
the use of digital channels to reach and communicate with customers
the introduction of new tools to enhance internal processes
Sound like a big undertaking? Well, it is. The market is also quite large. According to Valuates Reports, the global Digital Transformation services market was valued at $215.3 Billion in 2019.
Digital transformation is already here, and marketing teams must consider what success means as the ground—and their budgets—shift beneath them.
Shifts in Budgets, From Marketing to Digital
As companies respond to the need to invest in digital business, many have shifted spending away from marketing. According to Gartner's The State of Marketing Budgets 2021, CEOs state the principal focus in 2021 included customer experience and e-commerce, two activities typically owned by Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) rather than Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). The result is a decrease in the percent of revenue allocated to marketing from 11% to 6.4% from 2020 to 2021. Respondents in manufacturing reported one of the steepest declines, from 12.7% to 5.8%.
Throughout the pandemic, marketing teams have proven capable of doing more with less, transitioning dollars typically spent on events and out-of-home (OOH) advertising into more measurable and impactful digital strategies.
That said, it's not all bad news for marketers. Throughout the pandemic, marketing teams have proven capable of doing more with less, transitioning dollars typically spent on events and out-of-home (OOH) advertising into more measurable and impactful digital strategies. Marketers capable of navigating the changing landscape brought by digital transformations can not only succeed with smaller budgets but invest in new strategies and tools that can cut costs while increasing return on investment (ROI).
How Marketers Find Success in Digital Transformation
One of the most significant impacts of the internet's growth is the democratization of information. Information that was previously only available upon request can now be discovered using Google in just a few seconds. Anyone with a device connected to the internet can research, share their views, and make buying decisions with anyone anywhere in the world.
Similarly, businesses have never had this level of access to their customers. The internet has made it far easier for companies to meet customers across various points in the buyer journey, create compelling and interactive marketing experiences, improve behavior tracking, and save costs through automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
In this article, we'll look at the top six opportunities for marketers who embrace digital transformation and the impact each can have on the value returned to the business (which you should absolutely use as leverage when negotiating your 2022 marketing budget).
Customized Landing Pages
Improved Tracking of the Buyer Journey
Leveraging AI in Existing Tools
Embracing Continuous Improvement
1) Marketing & Data Integration
As a business adopts new solutions to support its digital transformation, there will be critical opportunities to integrate marketing and sales tools that leverage access to better data. The result can provide a more holistic view of the customer and create a seamless experience.
For example, consider that a business has determined it will implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) system as part of its digital transformation. The CRM system can track customer interactions across various aspects of the business such as phone calls and emails with the sales team. If the business also integrates its website with its CRM system, it can track which website pages the customer visited and the actions taken on that page. This information can help the business better understand customer behavior and preferences and improve the customer experience on its website.
That is a fairly standard approach to integration. However, the business likely chose the new CRM because it can integrate with several other systems used in its digital transformation. As a result, the CRM may have access to deeper data on each customer, such as past purchases. Through personalization (more on that below), the business can deliver tailored web pages specific to that customer's experience.
While many great enterprise-level content management systems can meet your integration needs, we recommend Craft CMS for its flexibility, extensibility, and security.
2) Customized Landing Pages
Strong landing pages are a vital component of successful digital marketing campaigns. They act as the front door to your product or service and, when built correctly, they deliver a customer who’s primed to receive personalized messaging. A well-designed landing page can also help increase your site’s conversion rate, and it can be the difference between a customer who clicks away from your site and one who enters the buyer journey.
According to HubSpot, the average landing page conversion rate across all industries is 9.7%, and businesses using optimization software for their landing pages see an average conversion lift of 30%. Combining landing pages with the data surfaced in digital transformation in your marketing tools is the perfect recipe to craft highly targeted, optimized conversion points.
For an example of how we built customized landing pages into a global B2B product manufacturing website, see our case study on DMP.
Strong landing pages are a vital component of successful digital marketing campaigns.
3) Improved Tracking of the Buyer Journey
In more traditional marketing tactics, the buyer journey is reasonably reliable, with the buyer moving through a series of stages before making a buying decision. In the digital age, however, buyers can move through the buying process at their own pace, often researching and considering multiple options before making a purchase. This means that your marketing efforts need to be more flexible, adapting to the buyer's journey. Digital marketing can help you target buyers at each stage.
Further, marketing teams have a unique opportunity to provide valuable insights to sales teams like never before. Using data to track buyers' interaction with your website and digital marketing campaigns, and delivering that data to your sales teams, can create dramatic improvements in efficiency and return on investment.
When sales and marketing teams are aligned and working together towards a common goal, the results can be impressive. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies that use marketing data to drive sales decisions achieve a 19% increase in sales quota attainment and a 27% increase in lead-to-sales conversion rates.
4) Interactive Marketing
Interactive marketing is a customer-centric marketing approach that allows you to connect with customers and prospects in real-time, based on their interactions with your brand. It allows you to create marketing experiences that are tailored to individual customers. When done well, various types of interactive marketing can create deeper connections with users and build strong customer loyalty.
Information Discovery & Communication
We all know the challenges of gaining and keeping a reader's attention while they are bombarded with content and ads. Layered information is an effective way to market to audiences by getting a broad overview of a topic and then learning more about it if they are interested. Additionally, providing the customer with control over the process can build trust and loyalty in an automated buying journey.
Going a step further, rewarding engagement is a great way to strengthen the relationship of an existing or prospective customer who engages with your brand. Offering incentives such as discounts, exclusive content, or entry into a contest will nurture prospects and build brand loyalty with customers, all while promoting your brand.
Lastly, two-way communication is all about creating content that encourages two-way interactions with prospects and customers. Tactics can include quizzes, interactive videos, calculators, and interactive storytelling. By engaging your audience in this way, you can create a more meaningful connection while gaining a deeper understanding of each customer.
The use of customer behavior analytics to personalize marketing content is a growing trend. By understanding customer preferences, businesses can deliver tailored content that is more relevant to individual customers. This can be done through targeted email campaigns, personalized web pages, or even customized product recommendations.
Personalization does come with challenges. Many companies are struggling to implement it—and some are failing to do any personalization at all. Personalization requires more sophisticated technologies to process data quickly and recognize patterns that help predict the effectiveness of customized experiences. The challenges of personalization can be overcome with the help of the right technologies; however, according to Gartner, 63% of marketers struggle with personalization tech.
Our recommendation is to maximize less complex opportunities, such as building robust and highly targeted landing pages, before moving into personalization. Additionally, waiting to tackle personalization will allow the industry to better understand the impact of Google and Apple's decisions to pull back on user tracking.
5) Leveraging AI in Existing Tools
Like personalization, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have long been challenging aspirations for marketers. Gartner reports that only 17% of marketing leaders use AI/ML broadly, even as 84% said the technologies enhance the ability to deliver a real-time, personalized experience.
However, there are many applications of AI/ML built into enterprise-level marketing tools that can be incorporated into campaigns at a low bar of entry. Salesforce, Oracle, and HubSpot are all incorporating AI into their marketing tools. These tools allow you to automate your marketing tasks, lead scoring, customer segmentation, and website optimization through A/B testing. If you haven't started incorporating AI into your marketing efforts, your company's digital transformation is the perfect opportunity to start.
Gartner advises marketers to develop frameworks that tie tech deployment to objectives while factoring in costs and ROI to address the AI/ML dilemma. Leveraging existing tools and built-in AI/ML features before trying new technologies is also recommended.
A website is a powerful aspect of a strong marketing strategy but left stagnant it becomes a time capsule more than a demand-generation engine.
6) Embracing Continuous Improvement
When launching a website, there is a common belief that the project is now complete. While this concept is sometimes shocking to clients, we advocate that a website launch is when we can really get to work. A website is a powerful aspect of a strong marketing strategy but left stagnant it becomes a time capsule more than a demand-generation engine.
Our best partners understand this, having worked with our team to craft a marketing strategy that ensures the website is continually updated with expert content, new engagement features, and robust landing pages to accompany marketing efforts. When a website becomes an active part of a marketing strategy, it also becomes a revenue machine.
Your Next Move
If this sounds like a lot of work, you're not wrong. Digital transformations are incredibly difficult, and the tasks that fall to marketing teams often do not match budget allocations. Thankfully, our team has successfully navigated this journey with many B2B partners. No matter where you are in the journey, we can bring the experience to deliver modern solutions that drive business growth.
To get started, reach out to schedule a free conversation with our founder and CEO on the challenges you're facing and how we can help. We’ll take a look at your current website and marketing efforts and help you identify if we're the right fit. Ready to get started?