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The impact of digital transformation on marketing

by wrich

By Kashif Naqshbandi, Chief Marketing Officer at Frank Recruitment Group.

Even as the world embraces tech and the advantages that it can bring, marketing will always rely on a very human element to be truly successful. How people react to your company’s image and messaging, the way they share that with friends and colleagues, and how your own sales team uses any collateral to then connect with a prospect—it all hinges on creating an emotional reaction at some stage in the process.

However, our sector has been the beneficiary of some incredible technological advances that mean we can take a very data-led approach to forming our marketing strategies, with hard stats our guiding decision-making every step of the way. Want to check how many people are reading your eye-catching emails? No problem. In fact, with marketing automation platforms you can digitise the entire customer journey and decide how and when to target customers depending where they are in the sales funnel and how they react to your emails and the content within them. 

Marketing has very quickly undergone a digital revolution, which has also meant a huge shift in the make-up of a successful marketing team. Now, the specialists who can understand and interpret the tools you have and the data they produce, and make correct decisions based on them, are invaluable. Even a content writer should be able to carry out detailed keyword research and produce content based not on what they think their audience wants to hear, but on what they’re actually searching for in real time. As with any technological progress, this technology won’t go away, either. We’ll rely on it more and innovation will spring from the insights we can now access.

Tech in your DNA

Keyword and trend research isn’t the only way we utilize tech tools in our content marketing. We also produce industry-leading salary surveys containing detailed analysis of the ecosystems we work in, and trends within these spaces that we can talk about and expand on. We can reach out to influencers and subject matter experts for more insight as well, and as the surveys add value to their own audiences, it makes strategic partnerships much easier to form as a result. Even vendors such as Microsoft have used the data we have compiled in their own collateral. 

These reports are quite literally the cornerstone of everything we do as a department, and none of it would be possible without robust statistical tools that help us compile them. And that’s only the start of it—the entire process requires a huge investment of man-hours and would be close to impossible to produce without any digital assistance. 

In the last year we’ve also embraced the rise in online events, and have been able to share our insight with an even bigger audience. We’ve been able to hit more specific niches, across an even bigger geographical spread. Rather than panic at having to learn a new platform and new way of doing things, it was a natural progression for a team that has technical innovation running through their veins.

Embracing the change

Traditional marketing won’t ever die, as so much of it is based on human instinct. However, we now have better visibility to make more accurate decisions. That can only ever improve our jobs, and those who refuse to embrace it will have a strategy that largely depends on luck. If you aren’t a tech evangelist yet, you need to put it at the heart of your marketing strategy rather than relying on chance.

There is so much available to us now, whether it’s as simple as harnessing the power of Google Analytics, or taking advantage of platforms such as Salesforce and the add-ons that can transform the way you interact with existing and potential customers. Speak to your CIO and other peers from a marketing perspective to find out what’s available to you. There’s a huge array of platforms and plugins to fit every niche.

Tech will allow you to achieve objectives, grow your business and empower marketing to become an even bigger part of your organization. But you have to be clear with what you want the outcome to be, or you’re investing for the sake of spending. We haven’t just brought in systems and tools and figured out what we can do from there. The starting point is always developing a clear strategy and defining goals before looking at what we need to help us get there. And you need to have people on board who are best placed to take advantage of the tools that you bring into your organization, too. Tech will be a part of your success, not a short-cut to it.

Levelling up

Ultimately, the digital revolution has allowed marketing teams across the planet a real chance to level things up. Our own department is comparatively small, but we’ve always overachieved compared to the company’s sales footprint. Embracing the change and being open to the innovation available to us is a big part of that.

There’s a misconception that computers will replace humans, which is fundamentally untrue. Technological innovation allows us all to do our jobs more effectively, but it also requires specialists who can contribute and help make that happen. Marketing will always have people at its very heart and going digital doesn’t change that, it just allows you to do it better.

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