The term “digital transformation” has been thrown around over the years. It’s been said by many thought leaders in the marketing industry and has been adopted by different companies in their business models, but what does it really mean?
As ambiguous as it sounds, digital transformation means precisely as it’s written out - transforming your current business processes to adapt to the new and rising digital trends happening in the industry. For many of your departments, it holds different meanings. Your HR team could translate it as leaving paper files behind and instead digitizing all employee records and data while your accounting team can make the change from paper-based contracts to electronic reporting and data.
Whatever approach you choose to take with it, the definition is clear – digital transformation is transitioning from paper and print-based methods to digitized and electronic processes. In terms of marketing, digital transformation means that you must utilize all your digital channels to market your product and get deeper insights about your customers and improve their experience with your brand.
What is digital marketing?
The most challenging part of digital transformation is getting your employees on board with it. Before, digital channels, like social media networks, were treated as tools to enhance personal relationships and connect with loved ones. Now, it’s considered to be at the forefront of marketing campaigns – customers trust a brand with reliable and credible social media pages.
With this mindset, it’s essential to make your employees realize that digital marketing is worlds different from traditional marketing. While conventional marketing focuses more on print ads, digital marketing is more focused on social networks or online publications. This includes your website, email, and sometimes, even third-party publications.
Traditional marketing is letting your customers come to you or reaching out to them through cold calling; digital marketing revolutionizes that process by allowing you to create personalized content that caters specifically to your target market. All your content fulfills a particular function that appeals to your customer, letting them have control.
With the digital change comes the shift in the marketing dynamic, as well – consumers are in charge now, and marketers must be sure to curate and deliver content that caters specifically to what they need and what they want to see.
It’s more than just delivering your product; it’s breaking down all your company’s silos and unifying different departments together to work together and market effectively in the digital age. Customer behavior is changing, with users becoming more and more digital as time passes.
This means that the way they buy is also different, as they’re more informed and well-researched about a brand before they even choose to interact with them. The keyword here is ‘choose’ – because by being so knowledgeable, customers have more power and are more enabled to make sound purchasing decisions.
To begin the digital transformation process, it’s best to know how customer experience affects your business. Customers are more conscious of the fact that they want a satisfying end-to-end experience with the brands they’re interacting with.
Digital channels, such as social media, give them an avenue to engage with brands directly. These channels have brought on a new marketing process called the buyer’s journey, also known as the digital funnel. The funnel can be divided into eight stages, mainly:
The funnel initially had four stages: awareness, consideration, close, and delight. Over the years, since the rise of the digital age, it has considerably evolved to according to customer behavior. Now, it factors in engagement and post-sales experience, which are the last four steps of the funnel.
Customers at the awareness stage are at the point where they know they have a problem but don’t know how to solve it. This is where they start doing their research – and where your business comes in. Digital transformation means you must adhere to the rules that these digital tools have, such as search engine optimization. Optimizing your website pages and social media networks is how your customers find you. Think of it as a digital index, where specific terms and phrases can lead your customer right to you.
During the engagement stage, the customer is more aware of their pain points. At this stage, they’re looking for educational and informative content that can define what solutions they need for their problems. Monitoring pages where they engage in, like social media networks or forums, gives you a more in-depth look into what topics they’re talking about that are related to your business. Offering content such as white papers, webinars, or eBooks during this stage is crucial so that you can establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry and be the first option in their decision-making process.
At the consideration stage, your customers are now set on buying from your brand. They’ve become marketing qualified leads (MQL), or prospective customers that have expressed interest in availing your product or service. Certain criteria must be met to become a qualified lead for your marketing team, which can include your leads signing up for your weekly newsletter or fitting the characteristics of your target market. Nurturing them means sending them targeted content, such as free trials and case studies, through automated email campaigns can push them in the right direction to buy your product.
The most exciting stage of the funnel is purchase, mainly because your customer is finally sure and ready to buy from you. It’s the stage where they need nurturing the most, so it’s crucial to direct them to sales so that they can properly guide the customer throughout the purchasing process.
The adoption stage is when the customers start to realize the value of their purchase. Examples of content that would help them better understand your product better are how-to guides, tutorials, checklists, kick-off meetings, and anything else that can make their transition easier. What was promised in the purchase stage should be delivered in the adoption stage to avoid losing customers who regret their purchase.
To keep your customers happy, you must show that you care about their satisfaction. The retention stage is an opportunity for you to provide them with the best customer service whenever they need it. Remember that customer experience comes first, so making them feel that you genuinely care about their product experience helps build brand loyalty and trust. Releasing educational content, best practices, product updates, and more enables them to maximize your product or service so that they get the most out of their purchase.
By the expansion stage, customers are ready for an upsell or cross-sell. Your company has earned their trust that they are open to any talks about upgrades or add-ons that can enhance their product experience. If they encounter any new pain points, they will go to your first to see if you have any solutions available before checking out your competitors.
Finally, the advocacy stage is where your customers become your ambassadors. It’s a win-win situation for you and your customer – they enjoy your product and excellent customer service; your brand gets free promotion to your customer’s network. These customers can bring you more revenue and increase their lifetime value, making them an asset to your company. It’s important to nurture these customers with loyalty packages – exclusive offers and unique invitations are just a few of what you can offer them to make them stay.
Digital marketing happens at every stage of the marketing funnel. Engaging with your customers through social media makes it easier to address any immediate concerns. Using social listening tools can help you understand how your consumers see your brand and can help you develop a more accurate marketing strategy. Automated emails containing exclusive content like weekly offers, free trials, or exclusive offers for members, can keep your customer interested in your brand.
Are you looking for a way to integrate digital transformation into your marketing framework? Download our white paper and get exclusive tips and insights for your business!
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