Creating A Successful Digital Transformation
Have you ever watched the NBC sitcom The Office? As crazy as it sounds, the show debuted in 2005 and will have been off of the air for over a decade this month. And whether the humor meshes with you or not, the show itself is a visual time capsule of the digital transformation that began at the turn of the century within the business world and one that continues to this day.
CIO and CTO executives often face a daunting challenge: how can they transform their business practices to reflect an increasingly online environment? For our purposes today, we’re going to look almost exclusively at creating a blueprint for a successful digital transformation within your firm’s marketing. However, we’ll also briefly touch on other pillars of digital transformation: IT, Operations, and Business Growth.
Too much automation
One of the first things a company will do when they’re creating a blueprint for a successful digital transformation is to integrate CRM into their operations. This helps to keep their marketing, sales, and operations staff all “on the same page” so to speak. As an extension of this process, they’ll often add collaborative-based project management software into the mix.
First, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that each of those tools and processes has its place and purpose. Sales and marketing need to work together and keeping everyone in the loop is frequently a net-positive decision.
However, there is such a thing as too much automation. This takes away some of the human element. CRM is a great way to maintain records and integrates nicely with the business systems of most chimney firms. One of the problems that can emerge here is when automated notifications get missed or — and this is common — they come in with such frequency that important details are lost in the flood of data.
Use your CRM, yes, but use it wisely. However, there is another “problem” with automation we need to address as well.
Automation systems can move potential leads from one workflow to another. However, these need to be carefully tailored to catch nuanced details. As a basic example, if a lead becomes a customer, you shouldn’t continue to send them email drip campaigns as if they were still a lead.
Moving beyond automation for a moment, all of your decisions within your marketing campaign should be driven by data. Using data is a hallmark of a successful digital transition as it provides you with quantifiable ways to capture your potential audience’s attention. The Brandtastic team often uses data when natively posting our clients’ social media content. The same is true with the ad accounts that we manage. The human equation — one that is often buried within piles upon piles of data — can help sort through these data points. Then, using our extensive experience, we make informed decisions for our clients.
Natively posted content
Did you catch when we mentioned natively posting our content? This concept is often at the heart of many successful digital transformation strategies. Automating the posting of a brand’s social media content can save time.
But does it produce results?
There are many popular solutions for social media scheduling. Some of them are even a part of your CRM itself while others act as a standalone all-in-one tool. From one location, a member of your team can schedule TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on. It sounds practical on the surface.
In practice, however, it doesn’t always produce the best results. Let’s use Twitter as a basic example. The shelf life of most tweets is less than 15 minutes. It’s the fast food restaurant of social marketing: short, snappy, and easy to consume. To stay relevant on Twitter, you should be posting frequently throughout the day, and engaging with or retweeting frequently. Twitter needs to be active to be effective.
Yet, many firms will simply post the same copy they used on Facebook on their Twitter account — a leave-it-and-forget-it mentality. This approach means that practically speaking, the Twitter account will stay relatively dormant and likely won’t see much growth.
But, by engaging on the platform, a brand can connect with new leads. It simply takes time, one that an automated scheduling routine can never truly encapsulate.
The elephant in the room: AI-generated content
It seems as if everyone has AI on their mind today and with good reason. AI-generated content, now that the genie is out of the proverbial bottle, is here to stay. Can a firm use it and “get by”, replacing the human element of their digital transformation?
In a word, no. Does AI have its place in the business world? Possibly. It can help with algorithmic predictions. The automated drip campaigns we mentioned earlier are examples of how AI can transition leads from one workflow to another.
However, within digital marketing there is another conversation: can AI replace marketers? Those typically fall within two overall categories: AI-based copy and AI-based imagery. Let’s look at each individually.
Have you ever read a blog post written by ChatGPT? The content might be factual, but it lacks something. It’s an uncanny valley of sorts for the written word. Practically speaking, AI content uses what’s already on the web to produce its output. That means it’s relying on the research of another writer — in this case, humans — to synthesize its answers. But, as has been proven time and time again, AI can get it wrong.
That also means that AI-based copy has inherent flaws that a traditional marketer will have to double-check. So why not just assign that same marketer the task of writing the blog from the beginning? Not only will it save them time, but they will be able to fact-check purely through the process of doing their research.
Artists have raised the alarms of AI for some time now. AI-based imagery has improved significantly even over the past twelve months. Earlier AI-generated images were more Picasso in nature; flash forward to today, and it can be difficult to tell the difference.
And herein lies one of the big problems of AI-based imagery. A recent lawsuit in the music industry saw the family of Marvin Gaye suing Ed Sheeran due to similarities in one of the latter’s songs. Of course, the argument against the suit was simple: can an artist trademark a chord progression? In the end, Sheeran successfully defended his song as an original work.
Now, apply this same scenario to an AI-generated image that your firm uses in its marketing.
With AI, it uses existing content — images and video — to produce something “inspired” by the originals. This is not too dissimilar to the Gaye vs Sheeran lawsuit and will most likely make its way to digital media. The idea of who owns AI-generated imagery is not a decided case law fact. And while creating a successful digital transformation is something many of us want for our companies, being in the middle of a copyright infringement lawsuit should not be a part of that equation.
Local & broad SEO
So, what should be a part of creating a successful digital transformation? Local SEO! Having a website that converts is a part of it, yes. But having a completed Google Business Profile (still referred to by many as a Google My Business Listing) helps to solidify your Google Trust score. All other things being equal, it can even help give you a competitive edge over like-minded businesses in your market.
However, one thing your firm should not do is throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. What do we mean by that? It’s simple: often a firm will want to boost their search engine results. They’ll hire an outside team of experts to create a new website for them with new pages and/or updated page copy. However, if this is performed haphazardly, it can have a detrimental effect on your search engine placement.
A successful digital transformation could (and probably eventually will) include a new website. But when it should be done carefully so as only to provide net-positive results for your company. SEO is a nuanced process and should be handled by an expert who can do it the right way.
However, there is yet another part to creating a successful digital transformation that we should address. Is digital marketing the end-all-be-all of your overall marketing strategy? The jury is still out on that one.
That may sound odd coming from a digital marketing agency but hear us out. All brands need an offline presence just as much as they need an online one. They’re not mutually exclusive initiatives. What frequently happens is a firm will complete a successful digital transformation and leave what had worked for them — and was still working — behind them.
Yet that leaves elements of your potential customer base behind. A comprehensive approach is to continue to use the segments of offline marketing that were working well for you and align them with your online message. In other words, your approach should be a blending of the two worlds.
The blueprint for creating a successful digital transformation
Earlier, we mentioned that there are other pillars of a successful digital transformation. We primarily focused today on digital marketing, yet we wanted to at least touch briefly on the other three. Those are:
- Information technology, which often incorporates new tools and new approaches to computer systems while significantly improving employee satisfaction;
- The transition to digital operations, which will frequently see the rollout of online project management tools to work collaboratively as a team, and;
- Growth opportunities, which will provide access to new and untapped markets as a result of a successful digital transformation.
Digital marketing is often the low-hanging fruit of this four-tiered approach. Taken together, they will help secure your firm’s long-term prospects and introduces flexible approaches to new revenue you may have otherwise overlooked.
The next step: working with a digital marketing partner
No successful digital transformation would be complete, however, without a marketing partner to help you navigate these nuances. For example, we only alluded to image licensing rules today. A digital marketing agency will have employees on staff who are intimately aware of the elements of these details.
Likewise, the emerging effect of AI on marketing, implementing automation correctly, and ensuring the human element of your strategies are all important to ensuring a successful digital transformation for your company. Our team would love to chat with you to learn more about your needs, where you are in this process, and how we can help.
Would you like to learn more? Then contact any of our Brandtastic team members by calling us at 813-441-0275 or sending us a message through our short contact form here.