The Four Elements of Digital Maturity

Digital Marketing

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing seems to have grown up in the blink of an eye. In just a few short years, it’s expand­ed from a small com­po­nent of some com­pa­nies’ strate­gies to the cen­tral force in mar­ket­ing inno­va­tion around the world. In a 2014 AdWeek report, more than a third of CMOs sur­veyed report­ed that dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing would account for 75 per­cent or more of their spend­ing with­in the next five years—and that num­ber has undoubt­ed­ly grown since then.

Still, accord­ing to the 2016 Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Sur­vey, more than 80 per­cent of North Amer­i­can organisations—and a full 93 per­cent of Euro­pean ones—report that they “don’t feel advanced” at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. In almost all cas­es, this frus­tra­tion is due to the fact that busi­ness­es haven’t pegged their dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion efforts on a spe­cif­ic key per­for­mance indi­ca­tor (KPI) or busi­ness goal. Many mar­keters also cite resources, bud­gets, and staffing con­straints as obsta­cles to dig­i­tal maturity.

Among busi­ness­es that have achieved dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion suc­cess, how­ev­er, 81 per­cent say their dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty efforts have “def­i­nite­ly dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed” them from their com­peti­tors, while 70 per­cent report that automat­ing deliv­ery of per­son­alised web con­tent has improved KPIs.

As more busi­ness­es focus their dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion efforts, it’s becom­ing clear that dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty breaks down into four essen­tial ele­ments. Here’s how each of those ele­ments plays into a suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal-first strategy—and where each of them is head­ing in the next few years.

Data-dri­ven marketing

The first essen­tial ele­ment in dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty is a foun­da­tion in advanced ana­lyt­ics, which dri­ves opti­mi­sa­tion across every chan­nel, through­out every stage of the cus­tomer jour­ney. This means much more than just A/B test­ing; it also brings in web­site ana­lyt­ics, pre­dic­tive mod­el­ing, robust mul­ti­chan­nel cus­tomer pro­files, email opti­mi­sa­tion, and many oth­er com­po­nents. When done cor­rect­ly, the com­bi­na­tion of these tac­tics yields whole cus­tomer views that can be used to pre­dict which con­tent will be most engag­ing and dri­ve attrib­ut­able rev­enue across all channels.

A full 57 per­cent of busi­ness­es agree that cus­tomer jour­ney ana­lyt­ics is one of the areas they’ll be invest­ing in most heav­i­ly over the next three years. These data-dri­ven jour­neys will offer insights on key moments through­out the cus­tomer jour­ney, and on the “next best offer” or ide­al mes­sage for each cus­tomer at each stage of that journey—and 66 per­cent of these will imple­ment cross-chan­nel data inte­gra­tion as a jour­ney ana­lyt­ics tactic.

Com­pa­nies that look beyond siloed data and invest in ana­lyt­ics that inte­grate first‑, second‑, and third-par­ty data will uncov­er a deep­er under­stand­ing of their cus­tomers’ desires and next moves, enabling them to stream­line and tar­get their mar­ket­ing more effi­cient­ly than ever before.

Cus­tomer expe­ri­ence 

When done right, a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence can ignite pas­sion for your brand, but a neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence can extin­guish that fire just as quick­ly. It’s no secret that “expe­ri­ence is the new prod­uct.” In a world where mil­lions of indi­vid­u­alised expe­ri­ences must be avail­able and auto­mat­ed at any giv­en moment, per­son­al­i­sa­tion at scale has become a cru­cial priority.

More than 90 per­cent of mar­keters now rate con­tent mar­ket­ing and whole cus­tomer views—the data and con­tent pil­lars of dig­i­tal cus­tomer experience—as impor­tant com­po­nents of their strate­gies. Instead of focus­ing on what’s top-of-mind for the busi­ness, these mar­keters are reimag­in­ing the expe­ri­ence in terms of their cus­tomers’ needs.

This change is already pay­ing off for many busi­ness­es. Among mar­keters who report their dig­i­tal matu­ri­ty as “advanced,” 91 per­cent report improve­ments in web KPIs, while 74 per­cent report improve­ments in mobile.

But cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is far more than just a goal—it’s a cru­cial com­po­nent of any company’s sur­vival in the dig­i­tal-first age. Only busi­ness­es that devel­op per­son­alised con­tent, and con­nect with cus­tomers across every touch­point, will remain rel­e­vant in this new world.

Mobile first

These days, our mobile devices seem almost as essen­tial as the air we breathe. “Mobile first” is the new mar­ket­ing mantra, and with good reason—smartphones now account for 92 per­cent of user inter­ac­tions. More than 50 per­cent of busi­ness­es now offer brand­ed mobile appli­ca­tions, while 69 per­cent either cur­rent­ly pro­vide or plan to pro­vide a respon­sive mobile-first website.

In this mobile-cen­tric ecosys­tem, spend­ing on mobile inno­va­tion con­tin­ues to increase across all ver­ti­cals. No less than 47 per­cent of mar­keters say they plan to fur­ther increase their mobile bud­gets over the next year, while a full 73 per­cent say it’s “very impor­tant” or at least “some­what impor­tant” to improve their mobile engage­ment capa­bil­i­ties over the next three years.

Web design and apps serve as the pri­ma­ry focal points for these mobile invest­ments. A full 69 per­cent of respon­dents say they’re invest­ing in respon­sive mobile-first sites to serve cus­tomers with smart­phones and tablets; 50 per­cent of North Amer­i­can respon­dents, specif­i­cal­ly, are also invest­ing in the devel­op­ment of new mobile apps.

Mobile isn’t just a chan­nel, it’s the future. Com­pa­nies that hope to sur­vive in the world of “mobile-first” will need to con­tin­ue pri­ori­tis­ing mobile chan­nels and appli­ca­tions, while lever­ag­ing data to ensure that mobile con­tent pro­vides a use­ful, rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence for customers.

Cross-chan­nel marketing

The bar­ri­ers between mar­ket­ing chan­nels are break­ing down. Cus­tomers expect mes­sag­ing to flow freely across all plat­forms, deliv­er­ing flu­id expe­ri­ences that meet them wher­ev­er they are. Inte­gra­tion among web­sites, email, mobile devices, apps, and wear­ables cre­ates new oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters who orches­trate com­pelling cross-chan­nel expe­ri­ences, and the Inter­net of Things (IoT) is poised to change these dynam­ics even further.

Most mar­keters are now wide awake to this real­i­ty: 88 per­cent cite cross-chan­nel mar­ket­ing as a high pri­or­i­ty. Among those mar­keters, 89 per­cent cite cam­paign orches­tra­tion, con­nect­ed expe­ri­ences, and cus­tomer jour­ney man­age­ment as their top areas of focus. Those efforts will need to be dri­ven by cross-chan­nel jour­ney ana­lyt­ics, which ensure con­sis­tent expe­ri­ences as cus­tomers move freely from one chan­nel to the next.

Dig­i­tal­ly mature com­pa­nies are using data to under­stand which aspects of the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence are most impor­tant on which chan­nels, and to lever­age the strengths of each chan­nel into adap­tive omnichan­nel mes­sag­ing that weaves every channel’s data and assets into one cohe­sive story.

Each of these four ele­ments is equal­ly cru­cial for dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. In fact, in many ways, all four depend on one anoth­er. The most advanced com­pa­nies are using dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing plat­forms that inte­grate all the process­es, tech­nolo­gies, and tools nec­es­sary to move for­ward in a holis­tic way, by com­bin­ing advanced ana­lyt­ics, per­son­al­i­sa­tion, and cam­paign management.

To hear more about the 2016 Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Sur­vey results, you can access a record­ing of a webi­nar that pre­sent­ed with my col­leagues from Adobe here, which also pro­vides you with access to the whitepa­per. If you’d like to under­stand your own dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing matu­ri­ty in some detail, I rec­om­mend tak­ing the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Matu­ri­ty Assess­ment here.

Digital Marketing
Jamie Brighton

Posted on 11-17-2016

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