Do you really need digital best practices? For more than fifty years, marketing has mostly been about communicating, promoting and selling products offline. Then, suddenly the rules of engagement changed forever. What happened?
The Internet and the smartphone happened. Close your eyes and think for a minute about what life was like before the Internet. Can you? New generations of customers will never experience the world without connectivity, and now you definitely need a digital marketing strategy to engage them and earn their loyalty.
Even for non-digital customers, it is hard today to imagine the world with no Google, emails, Wikipedia, Facebook, e-commerce or mobile apps. As customers, we tend to take for granted technologies that were the only a dream not so long ago; and yet too many companies still lack digital vision, relying on outdated marketing tactics.
Markets have changed, and customers with it. Is your brand evolving too? With the spread of mobile devices, the opportunities to create genuine engagement and deliver meaningful customer experiences are literally everywhere. In general, things have been getting a whole lot better for digital leaders, no more sidelined as the weird cousins of traditional strategists.
In a world shaped by emerging technologies - where information is readily available, and customers take instant decisions in a ‘tap’ - you only win if you can speak the same language they speak. Whether you like it or not, their language is made of innovation, digital screens, virtual interactions and disruptive technologies. Are you ready to change skin?
The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone: every single company is constantly looking at innovative lessons to build a digital strategy that works in the Age of the Customer. That is a strategy built around the experience of customers, not the product or the organization itself.
Once again, let’s go back to the main trends that define our business ecosystem:
- The convergence between the analog and digital worlds (the so-called digital transformation).
- The emergence of connected devices (the smartphone, wearable technology, the Internet of Things).
- The fragmentation of life into Micro Moments, inspired by specific needs and desires.
- The passage from traditional consumers to empowered customers and the dawn of the digital customer.
- The tevolution of the customer journey map, across different devices and touch points.
The way people live, communicate and connect to each other is not carved in stone. It moves with the times and evolves with technology. For marketers, that means the willpower to get ready to move on and adapt tools, strategies, and actions.
As said, opportunities are everywhere, and so pitfalls. In the digital era, it is easy to miss the mark, even when you think you are doing everything right, as perfectly shown by the huge amount of social media fails, useless mobile apps, and digital strategy mistakes out there.
Traditional patterns are unable to ensure increased engagement, brand awareness and loyalty because they focus on the brand rather than the customer experience. Now we know that the experience is the real differentiator in digital markets.
New horizons mean new patterns and parameters, and that is where the following five digital best practices came out. When it is time to plan your next move (namely your digital customer experience) take a little time to read these suggestions.
UNDERSTAND WHAT DIGITAL MEANS
Just look around and you will see plenty of articles and researches about the importance of a digital-first approach to engaging the new customer. However, what is digital exactly? What does it mean - for YOUR company - going digital and developing a digital strategy? This is the 'level-zero' question you should always ask before starting the process of transformation. Digital screens are everywhere, digital technologies they reshape reality: How can you add them to your strategy, without losing your identity and core values?
MAKE DIGITAL EVERYONE'S JOB
The first mistake so many organizations fall into is the idea that digital is a compartment, responsibility of few and not part of the company as a whole. Digital is not (only) the job of marketers; it should be the rule that guides the actions of every single person involved in the planning and execution of your strategy. We know that employee engagement is the foundation of a truly innovative brand, and digital is the field of choice where you can measure if you need to bring something into alignment.
CONVERT BIG DATA INTO SMART DATA
Big data have been around for years now, and yet so many entrepreneurs have no idea what it is all about. There’s always been lots of data, even before the Internet and the specific analytics dashboards. "Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it." Innovative organizations are already skipping from big data to smart data, that is the ability to extract useful insight from vague numbers and statistics.
LOOK AT THE EXPERIENCE AS A WHOLE
The only way to deliver a meaningful experience - relevant and personalized - is to look at it as a whole. Digital customer experience design starts with a comprehensive methodology aimed at creating memorable moments for customers through every connection they have with the brand or the product, where and when it matters the most. Bringing out emotions, needs, wants, capabilities, and shaping a flawless omni-channel customer journey that is truly custom-tailored.
OPTIMIZE THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
The spread of mobile devices and the emergence of digital customers entail a great challenge for digital leaders: customer behaviors change endlessly and it is very difficult to track patterns and recurring frameworks. The customer journey is not what it looked like only ten years ago. You will need a completely new customer journey map to revamp the traditional methodology and give sense to all the different touch points and interactions people have with you, day after day, device after device.
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