We live in an age where we see digital native unicorns, a name fondly used for start-ups valued for more than US $ 1 billion. They’ve turned the world of business upside down by focusing on customer experiences with great user interfaces (UIs) that sit in front of the masses backed by a great systematically driven supply chain. These great user experiences are giving traditional businesses a good run for their money and have finally managed to coin a term to get the digital laggards out of their armchairs, ‘digital transformation’. Here are some key areas to think about when planning your digital transformation journey.
Digital middlemen With the dawn of the commercial Internet, things have started to move rapidly and have created ‘digital middlemen’. The physical middle layer of business is getting wiped out to more savvy online alternatives. For example, it’s very apparent in the case of buying and selling of travel being more or less taken over by price comparison sites. The airlines and other tour operators still try to be competitive by offering tactical direct sales but most travel is being bought through the Ocados or the booking.coms of this world.
1. Digital content platforms While everyone from review sites such as Trip Advisor to content sites such as medium.com influence the way we communicate and trust, modern content marketing needs to be backed by authoritative domain knowledge from peers to other experts. Review sites and blogs act as the community-driven alternatives to physical ‘experts’.
2. Social listening/sentiment analysis Marketers and brands are still afraid to put their ‘online reputation’ on the line. Whilst this has hampered creativity quite a bit, social listening and mapping tools such as Momentro, Hootsuite and Social Bakers are giving marketers a little bit of breathing space to react immediately to negative as well as positive customer sentiments.
3. Lean marketing Speed is a significant factor in digital businesses and is key when it comes to marketing. Whilst digital transformation seems like a buzzword, in marketing it certainly is an iterative process that’s heavily influenced by concepts such as agile or lean start-up methodologies. Gone are the days when one puts all their monies in one main campaign. Digitally-savvy marketers have understood the importance of conversion-driven marketing. The advent of tools such as Google experiments and heat mapping tools such as Hotjar have empowered marketers to make decisions based on relevant data points. Gut-based marketing is not out completely but there are so many data sources available to transform your decision-making into the digital arena.
4. Cloud is no longer the future Cloud computing was taught in schools as a concept that would be so far-fetched that it was similar to water being a free good in economic theory. However, technology has evolved in leaps and bounds that the cloud is actually not a competitive advantage anymore. The ability to adapt quickly is less of an advantage when everyone can do it; rather, not adopting cloud is becoming a competitive disadvantage. This technology advancement means that things are accessible anytime, anywhere. With the advent of social media, this means much more interesting ways of being in front of your consumer during their decision-making process – hence, why giants such as Google are pushing for concepts such as ‘Micro Moments Marketing’ and mobile first design thinking.
5. Digital transformation vs. marketing automation If you look at Google trends for digital transformation and marketing automation, the peaks and troughs are remarkably similar until very recent.