Digital commerce reached $1 trillion last year, and digital revenue is expected to increase by more than 80% by 2020. This fact alone is just one of the many clues as to why CEOs are stressing the importance of digital transformation. The competitive edge provided by digital business cannot be ignored, so CEOs are pushing for improved digital customer experiences.
CEOs demand that CMOs lead the digital transformation, but that requires expertise from CIOs. IT must enable marketing. While IT’s focus is usually on the fine details of technology, marketing is focused on effectively reaching customers. Instead of hindering one another’s progress, IT and marketing should be working together to bridge the gap of digital transformation for truly powerful marketing in a digital age.
Bridge to Collaboration
The CIO and CMO relationship is bound to evolve away from a head-to-head competition for praise and resources into a collaboration toward a digital future. The 2016 State of the CIO report revealed 49% of CIO-CMO relationships have become closer in the past three years, while 43% say it has remained the same. Despite slow progress, companies are recognizing how a partnership between the two groups is the only way to ensure marketing has the tools they need to succeed and IT receives insight about crucial pieces of the business.
The IT department has the knowledge to empower the marketing team with various tools. And while IT professionals are equipped to make these decisions, they are better made in conjunction with what marketing needs. Say the marketing department desperately needs an automation platform to handle a massive content calendar. IT knows marketing needs a platform but chooses one without the capacity to manage vast amounts of content. Communication, goal alignment and an open way of working help avoid these potential points of failure.
Tackling digital transformation begins with understanding the existing options, then looking ahead to places technology can improve operations. The many aspects of marketing all lead back to one common theme: knowing the customer. Various elements of technology have streamlined the collection, aggregation and interpretation of data about who your customers are and what they respond to most.
The following technologies are heavily used in the marketing industry with plenty of vendors and an enormous range of capabilities.
- Analysis of customer behavior and past campaign performance generates valuable insight for future use. The results allow marketers to target customers more accurately down the line.
- Email is one of the most common customer touchpoints because of its familiarity, simplicity and truly customizable interface. You can deliver any type of information through an email personalized to your customers’ interests and they can control their engagement levels on their terms.
- Search Engine Marketing. SEO is so important to a company’s visibility that marketers have begun to incorporate the strategy into how they produce, present and use content. If content is showing up in a search engine, there’s a much better chance customers will see and interact with that company.
- The only way to retarget a customer in cross-device situations is to use technology. Certain algorithms, cookies and logins have made it possible to retarget a customer from desktop to tablet to smartphone.
- Marketing Automation Platforms. These are the products and services that combine all these and other tech-driven marketing functions into one user-friendly interface. These range from single-function apps like a social media management platform to full coverage of a business’s marketing needs.
- Content Journey. Technology that has just emerged leads customers through the content journey in a way that makes logical sense, but also provides a sensory experience, giving a product or service a certain appeal. This is one example of how technology has pervaded even the most unexpected aspects of marketing and will continue to do so.
Exploring these areas where technology invented or improved particular marketing tasks reveals where marketers and IT professionals should be looking for inspiration for completing digital transformation. The switch into a purely high-tech world in which nearly everything is automated has already begun. It will only continue and probably evolve to places we can’t even fathom.