What is Digital Transformation in Marketing?

Publication Date
14 September 2023

What is Digital Transformation in Marketing?

The marketing world has undergone some exciting changes in the digital age. With technology and data-driven strategies leading the charge, businesses can now communicate with their target audience in brand-new ways.

By embracing digital tools, marketing departments can create campaigns that are not only more personalized but also grounded in real-time data insights. This shift is bigger than just selecting the right tools; it affects everything from customer acquisition to engagement and retention strategies.

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, it's essential for leaders and marketing aficionados to understand all the nuances of this transformation. And we’ll help you do that and more.

How does digital transformation start?

Digital transformation in marketing is not a one-size-fits-all process. In the same vein, it is not a simple, linear task. Perhaps most crucially, breaking down silos is non-negotiable in this journey. An integrated approach is vital, ensuring all marketing channels are in sync, sharing data, and communicating.

Check your KPIs

Digital transformation in marketing commences with a clear delineation of your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. Such indicators might include metrics like click-through rates for advertisements, open rates for emails, or conversion rates for prospective leads. A keen focus on goal completion—be it calls, clicks, or downloads—is paramount to gauging the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

Understand the marketing funnel

Now, every marketer, new or seasoned, should acquaint themselves with the marketing funnel concept. It represents the customer journey, from initial product or service awareness to purchase. It’s divided into several stages: awareness, interest, consideration, intent, and decision.

Start by identifying where your consumers are within this funnel:

  • Awareness: At this initial phase, create compelling content or campaigns to make potential customers aware of your brand. Think blog posts, social media shoutouts, or captivating advertisements.
  • Interest: Once they know you exist, pique their interest. Share informative webinars, product demos, or captivating stories highlighting your brand's unique value proposition.
  • Consideration: Here, consumers are comparing you with competitors. Offer them detailed product comparisons, customer testimonials, and case studies to demonstrate your edge in the market.
  • Intent: As consumers show readiness to buy, give them that final push. This might involve exclusive offers, personalized consultations, or limited-time discounts to incite that purchase intent.
  • Decision: Guide your consumer over the finish line. Ensure a seamless purchase experience through an intuitive checkout process, responsive customer support, or reassuring post-purchase communications.

By understanding the marketing funnel, marketers can create targeted campaigns to reach customers at each stage of the funnel and guide them toward making a purchase. This approach can help businesses increase conversion rates and drive more sales.

Lean on automation

One of the biggest advantages of digitizing your marketing efforts is the ability to lean on automation tools to do the heavy lifting for you.

Tools like Hubspot, Constant Contact, and Oracle Eloqua stand out as leading choices in the industry. These platforms assist in meticulously tracking and reporting on your KPIs and enable strategic actions. For instance, with the right setup, you can automatically trigger an email to prospective leads once they engage in particular actions on your site, such as downloading a resource.

In the age of social media, a platform like Hootsuite emerges as a game-changer. It simplifies the complexities of managing multiple accounts by streamlining posting across various platforms. So, while sharing the latest photo of a product on Instagram, you might also target specific websites or online communities to maximize your reach.

What role does technology play in digital marketing?

We already stressed the importance of marketing automation tools, but technology is poised to play much more of a role over the coming years. Considering the advances in AI and VR, your marketing activities will continue to mingle with digital technologies. Let’s consider a few examples.

AI in marketing

AI plays an increasingly pivotal role in the digital transformation process. AI algorithms help in customer segmentation, retargeting, click tracking, and even automating digital marketing campaigns, enhancing customer engagement and improving the ROI of marketing campaigns. AI also plays a role in our next point: conversational marketing.

Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing provides real-time, one-to-one connections between marketers and customers using chatbots and AI-driven tools. Instead of relying on full-time staff to respond to website queries from customers, AI chatbots can do the legwork. You don’t have to worry about missing a lead early in the morning or late at night because nobody is available to speak to them.

Videos for digital channels

The popularity of video content on digital channels continues to rise, offering brands a dynamic way to convey their message and engage their audience. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram play a massive role in positioning your brand as a forward-thinking company. Becoming more active on these platforms with video is vital to a successful digital transformation in marketing.

Data democratization

Data democratization fundamentally shifts the way organizations access and interpret data. Regardless of their data expertise, individuals can engage with and draw insights from available data sets. In a marketing context, it means strategies aren't merely anchored in intuition but strongly reinforced by tangible data.

With real-time insights readily available, marketing teams can swiftly adjust campaigns, target audiences with heightened precision, and ensure an optimal return on investment. Data democratization, in essence, bolsters the agility and resilience of marketing strategies in a constantly evolving market landscape.

Benefits of a digital transformation in marketing

By this point, it is safe to say that digital technologies in marketing have become a necessity to be competitive. Organizations that have been slow to adopt will need to develop an aggressive digital transformation strategy to catch up.  In an ever-changing world, digital transformation in marketing offers many advantages, beginning with the ability to stay agile and adapt to market shifts.

A significant benefit of digital transformation is the enhancement of customer experiences. Leveraging technology allows your brand to personalize interactions, cater to individual preferences, and predict consumer needs before they even arise.

Furthermore, by integrating key activities across various marketing platforms, your brand can ensure a consistent and seamless communication flow with your audience. This integration also breaks down data silos, providing a holistic view of customer behavior and preferences, which can inform and refine marketing efforts.

The buy-in from stakeholders becomes considerably easier when they recognize the profound impact of a digital-centric approach on the business model. It's not just about modernizing operations; it's about evolving to unlock new revenue streams, foster deeper customer relationships, and position your brand as a forward-thinking leader in its domain.

As your company embraces this transformation, you solidify your standing in a competitive landscape and ensure sustainability and growth for years to come.

Learn about marketing’s role in successful digital transformation in this Q&A

Leah Patterson is the VP of Marketing and Communications at Mobiquity. She recently sat down with us to discuss how the evolving and expanding digital space is creating generational challenges—and opportunities—for brands.

Q: We know that products and experiences are moving rapidly from physical places to digital spaces. What is the biggest marketing challenge that creates?

Perhaps the greatest challenge for marketers in the movement of products and experiences from physical to digital is the lack of control around messaging and brand reputation.

When marketers only had a physical presence to contend with, say for a product launch, the entire consumer experience could be planned to a tee—from product placement and displays to in-store promotions and highly scripted endorsements.

The advent of the internet and e-commerce expanded possibilities around reach and scale of product launches and advertising, but they were still largely controlled by the brand themselves. Social media and the popularity of reviews and ratings began to change all this, giving individuals a voice in your brand discourse—good or bad.

The ability for the brand itself to physically control all these channels no longer exists, but this doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. While challenging, the brands that manage to connect the dots and find ways to engage with the audience of customers regularly using their products will gain. Bad products can no longer hide behind inventive marketing strategies, and that’s a win for everyone.

Q: What is the biggest opportunity it creates?

There’s a huge opportunity for marketers to take advantage of the shift from physical places to digital spaces. The best part is that one-to-one marketing, the holy grail for marketers, is possible in this new world.

Brands can (and should) tailor each person’s experience to the individual rather than offering a generic product or interaction and crossing their fingers that it will stick. In the past, we made educated guesses on features and functions that people would want and crafted clever campaigns to get them to buy our stuff.

Now, with real-time tracking and analytics, we can collect the intelligence to know if our hypotheses were correct. We can learn about how people use the products and how they interact with our marketing.

Marketers can use this data to refine their messaging and publish changes immediately. You’re not locked into a billboard on the side of the road, a 30-second commercial, or a magazine ad that you designed months prior.  We can capture people in the moment AND serve them an ad or offer for something they actually want. 

Q: How does experience relativity (having the digital experience you create compared to ALL digital experiences, not just those of your industry competitors) change your approach in marketing?

With consumers judging your products, apps, and experiences alongside the last best interaction they had, it poses a real need for all businesses to think outside their traditional competitive set.

For marketers, this requires taking note of the trends across all industries, not simply the industry your products and ads need to appeal to. It requires testing and adaptation of messaging, look and feel, and usability. It also requires thinking about the silent utility of the experience you create. Are you helping people accomplish their goals?

The lesson we’ve learned in the last two years is that marketing teams need to be ready to pivot. It’s no longer realistic to scope a whole year’s campaigns upfront. If there’s a good tool or a new service that’s working for another brand or even within another industry, we need to be talking as a team about whether we should test it out rather than being okay to stick with the status quo.

Q: How has the expansion of the digital space changed the way marketing interacts with other departments?

The expansion of the digital space has enabled more collaboration between marketing and other departments. We’ve worked with companies considering branding and marketing in the definition of the product itself and in all elements of the product build rather than simply at the end stage for packaging and launch.

Additionally, once digital products and experiences are live, the use and analytics data around the tools often sit in the hands of marketers. We are using this data to design more targeted and relevant campaigns but also to inform feature enhancements, process workflows, and product roadmaps. Marketing is a central point of view between the product and the customer and therefore has a unique view that can be shared across all factions of the organization.

Q: From a marketing standpoint, what is the most important thing brands can do to draw customers toward them in the digital space?

Brands need to think about marketing from the beginning, from idea inception to testing and development, not simply for a brand launch or feature reveal. The brands that will win in the digital space are the ones that design immersive experiences that speak to human needs and wants, not just the brands with the prettiest packaging.

Marketers need to put on their consumer hats and take note of the things that keep them coming back to the products they love. For me, many of my favorite items have both a physical presence in my home and a digital companion experience. These are the products I find myself returning to the most.

Up your digital transformation in marketing strategy

In the ever-evolving marketing realm, digital transformation stands as a beacon guiding businesses toward enhanced customer experiences, efficient marketing activities, and improved ROI.

As marketing continues to adapt and evolve in this digital age, your marketing and digital transformation leaders must be in sync with the latest trends, tools, and strategies. Understanding and effectively implementing these changes can be the difference between merely surviving and thriving in the competitive business landscape.

If you're interested in delving deeper into Mobiquity's approach to digital marketing and understanding how we ensure that the essence of a product's design and development reaches prospective users precisely when and where it matters, let’s talk.