Remember the days when TV, radio, and print ruled the world of marketing and advertising?
That era is long gone, all thanks to an incredible phenomenon we’ve all been witnessing and experiencing in our daily lives for years; digital transformation.
We don’t go a day without checking our email inboxes and social media accounts, we’re willing to share more and more information about us online, we carry our phones around with us at all times, we are bombarded with content every minute of every day… life is changing and that doesn’t just impact us as individuals.
On the contrary, this digital shift has forced millions of businesses to change the way they function and, in particular, the way they promote their name, products, and services.
That’s exactly what we’re going to explore in today’s article, so keep reading to learn all about digital transformation and how it has revolutionised the world of marketing.
What is digital transformation and why is it important?
Defining digital transformation isn’t simple, because its impact on each company is different depending on its size, industry, business model, and other factors.
However, as a general definition, we can say digital transformation is the process of integrating new digital technologies into the different areas of business, upgrading the way it works and making sure it keeps up with the ever-changing market requirements.
This process is crucial for any business that wants to survive (and thrive) in the 21st century for many reasons:
❖ It helps boosts productivity and efficiency
❖ It allows you to enforce data security
❖ It provides you with new ways to engage with your customers
❖ It allows for smoother collaboration between departments
❖ It provides with you more accurate data, that will help you keep growing your brand
❖ It increases innovation within your business as a whole
And when it comes to the advantages of digitalisation in marketing and business, the statistics don’t lie:
❖ In 2019, digital-first companies were 64% more likely to accomplish their primary business goal (Adobe & Econsultancy)
❖ The global spending on digital transformation is expected to reach 2.3tn USD (over 3.23tn AUD) by 2023 (Statista)
❖ 52% of businesses plan to cut investments due to COVID-19, yet only 9% will make those cuts in digital transformation (PwC)
So, you know the what and why of digital transformation, and that leaves us one question to answer: how exactly is this digital change happening?
13 Ways Digital Has (and Is) Changing Marketing
Here’s 13 crucial advancements that have had a particularly important role in shaping digital marketing as we know it:
1. Automation has become a crucial marketing tool
Nowadays, one quick Google search is enough for a consumer to find dozens of companies that are, in their eyes, equally well-fitted to help them achieve their goals.
This means that, unless they already have a connection with your business, they could buy your product or go for any other alternative – and it would be the same for them.
In other words, timing is now more important than ever.
You need to be able to reach your prospects at the right time so that you convince them that your product is the one they need, and whether it’s through email marketing or chatbots, automation is the way to do it.
2. The digital funnel has evolved
Digital transformation has modified consumer behaviour, and that reflects on the funnel, that is, on the steps a potential consumer takes before they actually make a purchase decision.
If before most consumers would learn about a brand through traditional channels and head to a physical store to buy a product or service, nowadays, the funnel is primarily digital and it is made of five main stages:
❖ Awareness: the user discovers that you sell a product or service they might need.
❖ Interest: the user looks into your brand to understand if you do, in fact, match what they’re looking for.
❖ Consideration: they’re starting to become more interested in what you have to offer.
❖ Intent: they’re becoming increasingly convinced about your product or service.
❖ Decision: they make a purchase decision in your business’s favour.
Because consumers can now go through most – if not all – of these stages digitally, brands get a lot more control over a user’s journey, being able to use a series of different strategies in order to get them in the right direction.
3. Being a strong competitor doesn’t depend on your budget as much as before
Although organic reach is dying and investing in paid ads is becoming almost mandatory among brands with a digital presence, marketing isn’t nearly as much about budgeting as it used to be.
Plus, the budget you need in order to reach an incredibly wide audience has decreased massively.
Thanks to strategies like social media, email marketing, SEO, and more, even the smallest business can play the marketing game (and win)!
4. Interactivity has become key in the digital realm
There are currently two billion websites online, 60 million active Facebook Pages, and 25 million businesses on Instagram. People are being constantly bombarded with content.
Since the competition has become a lot tougher over the years, brands have had to find ways of standing out, and one crucial way has been by introducing interactivity in their digital strategies.
Doing so not only allows consumers to have more control over their digital experience with a brand, but it boosts engagement and interaction rates to completely new levels.
5. Being mobile-friendly isn’t an option – but rather a requirement
In 2020, nearly half of website traffic worldwide is generated by mobile devices, and this trend has been happening for a while now.
So much so, that in 2018, Google came out with mobile-first indexing, which in other words, means that the search engine started prioritising the mobile version of a website, over the desktop version.
Smartphones are getting smarter and smarter, and that continues to have a huge impact in digital marketing, as it becomes almost mandatory that brands provide a mobile user experience that is just as good as the desktop one.
6. Brands get access to an increasing amount of user data
Anyone who owns a website – or business, for that matter – knows how important data has become over the years.
Before this transformation, brands only had a general idea of who their audience is, without gaining access to specific, actionable information about them. Digital transformation has changed that.
Nowadays, businesses have access to analytics, that is, to a series of relevant metrics they can monitor over time, in order to make the best marketing and business decisions they can.
This has been a huge game-changer because it helps brands understand exactly who they’re speaking with, giving them more certainty about which approach they should take.
7. Personalisation has become a lot more advanced
We have all received branded emails that include our name, location, birthday, or even professional, which businesses can send thanks to the data that we discussed above.
However, personalisation has become a lot more sophisticated than that.
Seeing our first name in a newsletter isn’t that exciting anymore, and brands had to take things a step further, using incredibly detailed data (which they get access to via their landing pages, social media, and website) to take actions such as:
❖ Send emails if a user added a product to their basket, but didn’t complete the purchase
❖ Send emails based on subscribers’ interests on social media
❖ Change the visuals on an email according to relevant data about their subscribers
❖ Reach users through their preferred digital channel
8. Brands are able to develop closer connections with users
This point comes as a result of two others: the larger amount of data that businesses are provided with and the personalisation levels they’re able to reach.
By making sure that the message each customer receives resonates with them, instead of sounding generally and sales-focused, brands are able to connect with them at a much deeper level.
They get the chance to build a brand personality, gaining a more human side, and becoming like friends, more than just another business.
9. Customers value transparency more than ever before
We all value honesty and transparency in our relationships with other people, so why would we expect anything less in our connections with brands?
The reality is that many of us don’t – so much so, that 66% of consumers see transparency as one of the most attractive traits a brand can have. And think about it: would you buy from a business that you know isn’t completely authentic?
These higher expectations are, once again, a direct consequence of the more intimate connections businesses can create with their customers, through the power of the digital.
10. Brands are thinking further (and further) outside the box
Succeeding in today’s marketing landscape isn’t about budget sizes as it used to be – but what is it about, then?
Given that the main goal is to stand out among an infinite amount of other brands that are online, it boils down to skill and creativity.
There’s no doubt that many brands all over the world are delivering marketing campaigns like never before and, as digital change continues to happen, chances are that we’ll see increasingly innovative initiatives coming from brands that we’d never expect.
11. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular
By 2023, 8 billion people in the world are expected to be digital assistant users. Furthermore, voice-based shopping is predicted to reach USD$40 billion (over AUD$56 billion) in 2022.
Essentially, this means that optimising your website is becoming slightly more complex.
The way a user types in a search query will be different from the way they speak to Siri, and that’s something brands need to consider in order to stay on top of the SERPs.
12. VR and AR have become strong storytelling tools
Brands from all industries and sizes have been using storytelling in their marketing strategies for a while now. It’s no secret that by telling a story, they can more easily engage and convince users.
However, the way they are telling these stories is changing, thanks to the advanced technologies that are nowadays available, namely VR and AR.
Although the usage of these sophisticated technologies in marketing is still in its initial stages, we can definitely expect more and more brands to join in on the trend.
13. Continuous learning has become more crucial than ever
One of the most exciting, yet daunting things about digital transformation is the speed at which it is happening.
Today, you’re reading about these 13 digital trends, but come back in a year, and we’re sure we’ll have another brand new 13 to talk about – and that is why continuous learning is so pivotal.
In order to be a strong marketing player, in the long run, companies need to invest in employee training and make sure they are prepared to handle the constant technological changes.
The world of marketing will never be the same
We’re in an incredibly exciting time for all businesses. But only through continuous learning will you be able to keep up with digital change and use it to your advantage.
Here at Monarch, we can equip you with all the knowledge and expertise you need to efficiently handle not only today’s but tomorrow’s marketing challenges.
Enrol in our digital marketing or social media marketing courses today, and start investing in the future of your skills.