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The digital age, or the third industrial revolution, has only been around since the 1950s but in the blink of an eye, now affects all aspects of our lives. This shift has not only drastically affected our personal lives, but business, government and public sector agencies are also having to move with the times – and quick.

Digital transformations are now not a “want” in order to stay ahead of the curve, but a must if organisations wish to keep up. Japan, for instance, aims to take digital transformation to another level, with a plan to incorporate digital transformation across the whole of society through their industry 5.0 initiative.

What is “Digital Transformation”?

Although relative, impacting different organisations in varying ways, digital transformation broadly speaking (and in the business sense) is the integration of digital technology into all aspects of business, resulting in a change to how the business operates and how value is delivered to their customers.

Cultural changes are also a fundamental part of digital transformations. To quote the Agile Elephant: “Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social, mobile and emerging technologies.  It involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”

It is important to understand, however, that digital transformation is not always about simply incorporating the latest and top of the range technology within an organisation, but often more about refreshing and updating outdated processes and legacy technology. The Bank of England’s IT expenditure is 33.6% higher than other central government departments due to the use of legacy systems. This is something that they have acknowledged as having ‘room for significant efficiency improvements.’

What is digital marketing transformation?

Broadly speaking, digital marketing transformation is the change in an organisation thinking towards marketing activities. We all know that media consumption is continuing to grow, primarily driven by mobile. In fact, 24 percent of all global media is consumed on mobile, set to increase by 28% by 2020).

As customers rely more on digital devices to consume content, customer expectations are changing almost constantly. That’s why marketing practices must then constantly evolve in order to keep up.Before digital became an ‘all day – everyday’ part of our lives, marketing on a mass scale to consumer segments with the ‘same’ message was the norm. Today, personalisation is key. Marketing models are no longer centred around the traditional marketing funnel, but are instead mapped by individual customer journeys across a wider set of touch points.

Digital transformation of marketing channels

Data, Analytics and Insights

The digital transformation of marketing channels allows for more data-driven decisions to be made through the use of data collected from many different sources.

Data in its rawest form is not quite enough to make decisions. The data needs to be converted into information which when analysed, becomes insights. Well-informed insights can then be acted on.

This level of data collection and analysis means businesses can make more informed marketing decisions whilst allowing a return on investment (ROI), alongside stats on engagement etc.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I do not know which half” – the famous words of John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a very successful merchant from the United States.

With traditional marketing, it’s much more difficult to measure ROI from a campaign. A commonly used method is to measure the spend of the campaign against the profits gained and to know which areas of marketing spend are being wasted or not. To be honest, this method is rather ‘woolly’, as it (almost) never provides a genuine representation of the ROI of marketing spend.

Digital marketing on the other hand, has a few far more accurate methods of ROI. For example, one metric commonly used in digital marketing is Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). This is worked out as total campaign cost/conversions = CPA. CPA is often found in digital marketing activities such as:

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a model of internet marketing where a fee is paid each time one of your advertisements is clicked, or a way to pay for visits to your site over ‘earning’ them.

Search engines are one avenue for PPC advertising, allowing ad placement of ‘sponsored links’ typically placed at the very top and bottom of the search results with organic results falling in between. If you search “digital marketing agency in Leicester” for example, ASSISTED. may show up at the top of the search results.

Increased visibility in the highly competitive financial sector, for example, is crucial if you plan to stay ahead of the competition. By incorporating PPC into your strategy, you can find yourself at the top of high volume searches such as “life insurance” which currently has a monthly search volume of 90500 and ‘personal loans’ with a current monthly search volume of 40500.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, alternatively known as banner advertising, is a method of advertising which uses logos, animations, videos, photographs or other graphics to display a commercial message online.

Display ad retargeting is a very effective use of display advertising. Once a prospect has engaged with your website or part of your current contact database, ads are ‘retargeted’ towards them.

Display ad retargeting is often used for brand-building efforts to keep a brand top of mind in terms of awareness, lead generation and customer acquisition (popular amongst e-commerce and retail brands). This tactic is often used on social media channels and Google Display Network, where ads are displayed across a huge network of sites across the internet.

Content Marketing

Content marketing focuses on creating and strategically distributing valuable and relevant content with the aim to attract, retain and drive profitable action from a clearly defined audience. Rather than promoting products or services, content is designed to solve ‘customer pain points’ (issues) which prospects and customers may face.

Other benefits of SEO perspective are high-quality content assists in building domain authority when linked back to your website, helping to improve organic search engine rankings and drive referral traffic to your website.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a method of marketing online which utilises social media websites. A primary goal of organic SMM is to produce content that users will share amongst their network to increase brand exposure and customer reach whilst establishing a presence on social media platforms.

Alongside organic, biddable campaigns similar to PPC can be set up which target particular target audiences/personas based on their social media profiles (some targeting options include demographics, location, interests and behaviours). When beginning a campaign, there are a number of things to promote, such as:

  • Website
  • Specific products or services
  • Social media pages
  • Blog articles

The bidding process itself is driven by the relevance of your ads promoted to your target audience. The higher the relevancy score, the cheaper the ads will become.

Why should you incorporate digital marketing into your strategy?

The world has changed drastically over the last 50 years with traditional marketing. Although it’s still effective, it’s just not having the same level of impact it once had. Prior to digital being an everyday part of our lives, brands would put an advertisement in a magazine or billboard to connect with prospects and customers. Now with people spending a large portion of their time on digital devices, the way they communicate with brands has also changed as today people actively seek out brands to connect with through digital media.

Aside from catering to the needs of the modern day consumer, digital marketing has many added benefits for brands as it allows for more control of their marketing channels and spends. Digital provides a clear and precise ROI of marketing spend, which today can be accurately measured as revenue returned alongside standard data measured such as engagement metrics.

Without a digital approach to marketing, competitors who have incorporated digital into their marketing strategy will have a substantial competitive edge.