The year 2019 will go down in history as a landmark year for Digital Marketing, especially in the US. For the first time, digital ad spending will surpass traditional expenditure. According to eMarketer’s forecast published earlier this year, total digital ad spending in the US will grow by 19%, reaching US$ 129.34 billion in 2019. This accounts for 54.2% of estimated total US ad spending. By 2023, digital is projected to surpass two-thirds of total media spending. Not surprisingly, mobile will account for almost 67% of digital ad spend (US$87.06 billion).
This shift is noteworthy and much needed, as it demonstrates that brands are in tune with digital-native consumers. But the bigger question is, ‘Is it enough to succeed in today’s digital era?’
The answer is a resounding ‘no’.
This transition is part of a larger revolution of which companies across the spectrum need to be cognizant. Companies that lead this change will have the coveted competitive edge, and those who don’t join the bandwagon will be left behind. In 2017, only 60 companies that were on the 1955 Fortune 500 list were still around. That’s fewer than 12%. The other 88% either went bankrupt, got acquired, or are no longer in the list.
The origin of this evolution is Digital Transformation (DX).
Dissecting the DX difference
DX is a revolution that requires an overhaul of processes, technology, infrastructures and culture. It cannot happen overnight but needs to be built into the DNA of your organization.
To navigate the new world, it’s essential to understand what exactly has changed from the traditional to the new digital world. The answer is simple – the power center has moved from brands to consumers. Consumers are today in control of what they see, where they see and for how long they want to see it. Every brand, no matter how big or small, needs to reinvent its digital strategy, cognizant of the fact that consumers are in command, not them.
Why your business needs DX
Research conducted by Forrester found that improving the experience for customers is a top strategic priority for enterprises. This ties perfectly into DX as its key drivers are customer satisfaction, profitability, and increased speed-to-market, according to the study.
Along with enhancing customer acquisition, retention and overall experience, DX can help streamline processes and operations, gain deeper insights into the business, build automation via Internet of Things (IoT), leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, ensure speedier development of products and services, facilitate growth and become future-ready.
Four realms to conquer
At NLB, we see the digital battleground divided into four realms: Experience, Engagement, Personalization and Insights. And brands need to conquer all four realms to compete, survive, and win. Each of these areas need a clear vision, objective and set of goals that align with overall consumers expectations from a brand.
Experience is not limited to how consumers interact with a brand’s own properties, digital or physical. It’s about understanding the consumer journey and identifying all potential points of interactions along the same, so a brand can unify the communication and experience that consumers are privy to, at every step. The key is to unify all consumer related data elements (both online and offline) in order to get complete visibility into the path and the pattern of consumers
Engagement with consumers is one of the biggest challenges brands face today. With increasing distractions and diminishing attention spans, creating genuine engagement is the key to success. Engagement marketing relies on building strong, long-lasting relationships with your customer. Rather than blatantly marketing and selling to them, it involves inviting them to be a part of the brand lifecycle. It is imperative brands utilize bespoke tools to nurture and attend to the needs of each and every individual, so they become brand advocates, becausethe fact is, word-of-mouth still rules the recommendation roost.
Personalization is the key to keeping consumers involved and excited about a brand- make them invest in you, by showing them how well you know them! It helps a brand continuously re-enforce their commitment to the consumer and demonstrate who is really at the center of every business decision. Personalization depends on using various trigger points such as likes/dislikes, geography, time, browsing history, etc. to recommend relevant products to consumers to create the most optimum marketing campaign and ensure maximum sales conversions. NLB’s Next Level Personalization Framework can help brands create one-on-one contextual, relevant, and customized customer engagements, and enable them to join all the marketing dots to win over the elusive consumer.
While the promise of Experience -> Engagement -> Personalization is very powerful, it will fail if you don’t have the right Insights to adapt to changing needs and business dynamics continuously. Brands need to think of an insights engine as a way to learn from the past so that they can course-correct for a better future and a happily ever after.
To gain these golden nuggets of insights, it is imperative brands deploy smart technologies that accumulate the petabytes of data every organization has access to and use new age technologies powered by AI and ML to make sense of that data, and use it in real-time to drive business-critical decisions.
All this may seem overwhelming and chaotic, but remember “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”. The good thing is that technology has brought in tremendous disruption to arm brands with all the weapons they need to win in the digital battlefield. In this digital era, marketing is highly personalized and contextualized. This is only possible by adopting new-age technologies such as AI and ML and leveraging those to get deeper insights into consumer preferences, identify shopping patterns, predict their future needs, and target them in a hyper-personalized manner on the platform or social channel they prefer to frequent. This experiential marketing tailors content, creatives and delivery mode for each individual consumer and truly elevates the customer experience.
If you need help strategizing and implementing your digital strategy, you can partner with us at NLB, and our DX ninjas can help add the right tools to your arsenal, providing unwavering support as you steer through a digitally transformed world.
VP – Digital Services