Digital Marketing Transformation Pt 1

Digital Transformation is when SME's and Enterprises recognise the need to change to better engage with their customers and staff, but what about marketing?

Digital Marketing Transformation Pt 1

The term “Digital Transformation” is recognised by most businesses in one form or another.  It normally applies to larger SME’s and Enterprises and means the directors have recognised the need to digitally re-align their business processes to become more efficient and ultimately more profitable. 

However, all the transformation guru’s point out that digital transformation is not about the money, it’s about facilitating a way of functioning within a work environment that will ultimately pay dividends.  But I always want someone to “show me the money”, just saying…

But it doesn’t stop there.  Going “Digital” is a desire to use technology and software at important customer touch-points to deliver a seamless and effortless experience to its users.  And by users, I mean customers, prospects and employees.

However, what does it mean when it comes to marketing transformation?  If anyone has anything to do with customers and prospects it’s certainly the marketing departments, so how does Digital Transformation impact marketing?

Book Recommendations (Link to Amazon):

Everyone B2B wants Marketing Perfection

Every marketer is looking to achieve perfection when it comes to strategies and a return on marketing investment (ROMI) in order that ‘A’ they can stay employed and ‘B’ have something that stands out on their CV if they do decide to change companies.

Business owners (in the B2B space) would like everything to go viral so it minimises their costs and gives them the exposure they need.  However, B2C’s seem have deeper pockets so playing a longer game is perfectly acceptable, especially with so much marketing intelligence.  But what about B2B’s, how can they “up the ante”?

If we’re realigning our businesses to become more efficient and profitable, how should marketing dovetail with Digital Transformation?  Read on…

Dotcom Boom Bust

The Dot Com boom-bust changed our understanding of ecommerce and the internet to a medium that needed to be viewed as one-to-one marketing.  And so “Content is King” was the motto.  The trouble was, most businesses were too impatient to care about content and simply wanted their salespeople to “get in front of prospects asap”.

It’s not that anyone’s missed the boat, but the whole content thing has evolved to “Context is King” which means a whole new empathic understanding of who we’re dealing with needs to be considered.

If a business wants to appear relevant, they’ve got to get real.  And by “real” I mean dropping the stock photos, dropping the corporate speak, and genuinely being interested and aligned with the people they’re selling to.  Businesses must ‘put on’ the psyche of the people they’re selling to and literally ‘become them!’.

On first impressions, a company can look like it’s got everything sorted, i.e. a Marketing Director, Demand Gen Team, Product & Field Marketers, Copywriters a Web Dev Team and so on.  They can have all the tech, i.e. CRM, Marketing Automation and all the apps, only to end up looking like the Morecombe & Wise Show sketch with Andre Previn – playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.

But what about soul?

If you simply present generic content with generic images with generic copy, you simply become a generic ‘also-ran’ and ultimately invisible to your audience and no amount of Marketing SaaS will change it.

You’ll still get a few deals, but they’ll probably happen because of a salesman’s efforts and his/her relationship with the prospect rather than anything to do with the marketing department.

But it is still about both internal and external customers.  If you have a generic attitude towards generating new business, you’ve probably got the same attitude towards your employees!

Terminology like bring-your-own-device BYOD may not have passed you by, especially as it can mean reducing hardware and upgrade costs, but the reality is that everyone in the Western world are connected to their smartphones and various other devices and therefore it is our responsibility to blend a method of working with the digital elements that affect the lives of customers and employees alike.

So where do you start? 

Looking at the strategies and approach for Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a good place to start, however, you might be thinking ABM is for large sales companies selling to other large companies, right?  Wrong!  It’s the principles of ABM you need to look at, no matter how big or small you are:

“ABM is team selling aligned with understanding the personas, behaviour and influences of the multiple decision-makers in an organisation…”

This may seem like too much work, but we all have a choice – “Do what we’ve always done and we’ll get what we’ve always got!”  This strategy is not simply for external customers, it’s also for internal customers, i.e. employees.  No matter what we’re doing, we must ensure relevance for everyone connected to us and therefore deliver something meaningful and of value – and that value can only be determined by what it means to the recipient.

Marketing Personas

We have to get under the skin of those who we want to sell to (or employ) or to coin another phrase “to walk a mile in their shoes”.  It’s essential to know what keeps them up at night, what affects their day-to-day flow of work, what are their genuine pain points and all the while presenting an honest and transparent persona or ‘tone-of-voice’ of our businesses.  It’s no good employing a graduate to do the copywriting for a blog when they have no idea who they’re writing for and especially when they have absolutely no experience of the suspects’/prospects’/customers’ business.

Yes, it will cost time and money to take this approach, but there’s always a trade-off, like perhaps reducing the sales teams!!!  If the face-to-face sales people account for approximate one sixth of the new business activity, then it makes sense to ‘redeploy’ resources and make sure that everyone is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ and there is an equitable balance in activity.

Know who you are selling to?

Take a look at the positions below, they all have different drivers for doing the jobs they do, so it makes sense to speak to all of them differently, for example:

  • Managing Directors; They own the business and look for profitability for themselves and for shareholders
  • CTO/CMO/CIO/COO; They’re employed and want to keep their jobs! They’re also major influencers in the overall process
  • Managers; As above, but quite happy that they’ve been included in the discussion
  • Executive Assistants; They’re doing as they’re told and are looking for info only

In simple terms, whatever decision the above people make, they’re thinking “will this decision take me closer to promotion and a ‘gold star’ or will it bring me closer to getting fired”.  It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘what’s in it for me (WIIFM).

If you’re going to get inside the head of your prospects, you need to be communicating directly to them and not adopting ‘one-size-fits-all’.  Trying to use one approach simply does not make sense.  Of course, there can and will be some crossover, but the narrower you make your messaging, the more targeted you will be in the eyes of your prospects.

Agile Methodologies

Whilst Digital Transformation projects normally lean towards Agile’s Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, marketing most certainly lends itself to Kanban.

The reason this is relevant is that there are so many activities that need to be addressed, it makes sense to adopt a management strategy and methodology that is logical considering the multiple tasks required versus the typical number of staff available.  It is especially useful when working on marketing automation strategies.

Book Recommendations (Link to Amazon):

Digital Transformation is about servicing both internal and external customers and exceeding their expectations.  How are you doing?

Link to Part 2

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About the Author

Nigel Maine

Nigel Maine

Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping SMEs for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.

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