Businesses have gone through transformation driven by technology for decades. New norms of operating have emerged and many industries have been disrupted. As a result of the sharing economy, everything from entertainment and music streaming businesses to hospitality and automotive have been impacted. Our own industry has even been completely transformed through automation, AI and machine learning.
And the pace of change is nowhere near slowing down.
Markets, governments and consumers are fully leveraging this disruption with a mix of digital technologies that accelerates the impact across society in a strategic way.
The result is that the end consumer has access to products and goods both faster and more conveniently. This has put a strain on the many organisations that still have a traditional infrastructure and haven’t evolved as fast as the market. The rise of Amazon, for example, has created an estimated 20% drop in footfall in retail stores. Towards the end of last year, news of Sears closing over 150 stores further validates this.
Personalisation at scale has never been more important
There are many such examples. For any company to survive today, it must reinvent itself through technology without losing sight of its purpose and what it stands for. So, how do organisations stay ahead in this highly competitive landscape?
1. IT ALL STARTS FROM WITHIN
Business leaders have to affect a cultural shift and change in mindset. They must lead the way by investing in people and upgrading their skill sets, embracing integrated structures and using tools and resources with technology at the core. We’re seeing more and more structures where marketing, sales, e-commerce and IT are working closer together, not just locally but globally through collaboration platforms across different offices and markets.
In a recent report by Emerging Markets Intelligence and Research (EMIR), 87% of marketers in the Middle East stated that transforming their organisation to be ready for a digital economy is of high priority, while 40% confirmed that having the right data and technology was the most important factor to drive sales growth. Processes need to be implemented across all facets of the business.
2. CREATING SEAMLESS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Once the internal infrastructure has been set, it’s about digitising the brand ecosystem and creating a clear blueprint of how all these platforms will create a holistic experience for consumers. From the website, search strategy, social media content and app to the new generation of comms instant messaging tools – the brand must create a seamless customer journey loop.
The key is to ensure that virtual brand experiences effortlessly translate into people’s real-life experiences. Human interactions will always be key in any brand/consumer relationship, and technology will only enhance and facilitate that experience, not replace it completely.
3. PERSONALISATION AT SCALE
The companies that have a deep understanding of the consumer are the ones that stay ahead. And those that can fulfil their promises in terms of convenience, distribution and customer service are doing even better. This is where CRM technology plays an integral role – brands must make sure their comms are not only contextually relevant but also timely. It’s not just about collecting the data but about using it correctly. Personalisation at scale has never been more important.
For any company to survive today, it must reinvent itself through technology without losing sight of its purpose
Ultimately, digital transformation has helped marketers make better decisions through systematic measurement frameworks. In that same EMIR report, 32% of marketers stated ‘lack of resources’ for accurate measurement as the barrier to using marketing analytics to track performance. This means our role as business partners is to help brands align their marketing objectives with their business objectives and make better informed decisions, through analytics models including month-by-month sales data audits, media, audience and brand measurement.
Whatever your approach, in the long run it’s about being agile, responsive and fluid – in both vision and action.