The business model of this sector has also been impacted. Today, the digital-first approach offers brands a highly measurable “self-service” environment where data is so granular that brands no longer need to work with broad brushstrokes when it comes to is to target new and existing customers. In this sense, the traditional media operate from a much less detailed audience record.
When you also consider that customer touchpoints are also limited, these shortcomings have an even greater impact on customer experience and the ability of brands to grow. At a time when most brands now know that their customers are on a myriad of channels, media partners also need to build pathways to those customers – meeting them where they already are and can be easily reached. Brands need to start thinking about digital channels, if they haven’t already, to ensure continued brand exposure now and in the future.
With marketing budgets under pressure, it has become imperative to find ways to market that are both profitable and rapidly gaining popularity. Covid-19 has caused many challenges, but here it also presents an opportunity for brands. As the work-from-home strategy becomes part of the future of businesses, people are spending more and more time online. There are many different digital channels that brands can use to reach their customers.
It also meets the demands of a new generation that wants on-demand content. In the “new normal” and in the future, it has become more important than ever to have a digital strategy that helps people instantly connect with brands. From social media to instant messaging, having channels that your customers already interact with and are familiar with can help brands achieve great ROI in many different forms.
The customer journey is king
In South Africa in particular, customer service levels can still be improved and digital channels have the potential to improve this significantly. Customer experience and the customer journey with a brand have become paramount. Creating excellence in these areas requires a multifaceted approach that incorporates digital channels, highly targeted marketing content, and the ability to quickly resolve customer service queries.
With the plethora of channels available, it can be tempting to overdo it, using too many different domains. However, this can become difficult to manage, as consistent customer experience and messaging remains essential. Without a clear plan in place, budgets can also quickly spiral out of control, negating return on investment. A smart digital strategy, supported by an integrated and intelligent technology platform, is essential.
Can you measure it?
Marketing is often the first budget to be cut because it is difficult to quantify the return on investment, whether in terms of increased customers or revenue. This requires effective strategy and targeting, but it also requires the ability to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and channels. A smart, integrated technology platform that brings together various digital channels and strategies into a single view, integrates with third-party solutions such as CRM systems, and provides analytics around data, has become essential.
By harnessing the power of real-time granular data, it is possible to get a very clear picture of exactly how effective a marketing strategy is on individual channels. The strategy can then be modified based on which channels receive engagement, the best conversion rate, and ultimately the success of marketing spend. Digital does not benefit from a global strategy; it’s essential to match the channels and instead focus on two or three that are successful, instead of trying to hit every touchpoint.
Digital is key
An integrated marketing strategy is not just about advertising spend, but all touchpoints and a clear, consistent, and comprehensive communication strategy. Digital should form the foundation of this strategy in today’s post-Covid-19 world and as we move into the future. However, it is imperative to use the right channels and reach the right customers through effective segmentation and targeting.
Digital is constantly changing, which means that the strategy must also evolve and adapt – it must be forward-looking and always keep a clear picture of the targeted customer segments. Crucially, it must also be measurable and quantifiable, to prove ROI and create a plan that can be modified based on success rates based on data rather than guesswork. Becoming a winning brand in a tough economy is a challenge, but those that grow and survive are those that are able to effectively embed digital strategy (and digital channels) into their core.
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