The opening argument of this article – which is that digital transformation does not revolve around technology – may cause some surprise. However, it is our belief that the transformation (and its associated adaptation to change and innovation) has primarily affected people; there is no technology that can make an organization evolve by itself, independent of the individuals who address and seek to implement change within it.
Now more than ever, the responsibility of being early adopters and boosting company transformation falls on the shoulders of marketing managers, requiring them to reinvent their professional profiles. Furthermore, technology evolves rapidly, which has in turn shortened acceptable response times.
This panorama presents a huge range of challenges, but there are also more opportunities for those who appreciate the strategic importance of technology. Those who are most disruptive and able to integrate technology into their daily lives (and to use it to question and reinvent traditional models) will be better positioned to hold high added-value roles in their organizations. They may even become the spearheads of digital transformation within their companies.
Our new context invites us to contemplate the importance of quickly addressing business volatility and uncertainty, motivated by changes in e-commerce, the operational decentralization of resource management, and how customer contact is carried out in a post-pandemic context. Aside from the external opportunities, there are many to be found on the cultural and organizational levels as well.
In this regard, marketing managers must have a holistic vision for their companies, one that promotes interdepartmental collaboration and blurs traditional barriers. Close relations and constant contact between departments, clearly including IT departments, will be key to enhancing innovation capabilities. It is here where the value of diversity comes into play, representing the wealth offered by integrating many different perspectives on how to achieve a common goal.
In parallel, each marketing team member’s individual development will be essential. A good starting point with a poorly trained or change-resistant team serves no purpose. Leadership is not a destination, but a process. For this reason, it is fundamental to appreciate this change as an opportunity. It should drive marketing managers to find and inspire their teams to seek new working methods to overcome today’s challenges.
In short, digitalization and information technologies have evolved to offer us a wide range of solutions that not only help improve decision-making and reduce uncertainty, but also speed and plasticize action implementation and optimal resource management. Some of the solutions marketing managers should particularly consider over the coming months are described below.
“Digitalization and information technologies have evolved to offer us a wide range of solutions that not only help improve decision-making and reduce uncertainty, but also speed and plasticize action implementation and optimal resource management.”
The Democratization of Technology and the Citizen Developer
The concept of the Citizen Developer is still relatively uncommon in Anglo-Saxon cultures. Born from the democratization of technology and the rise of low-code and no-code platforms, such as Microsoft’s Power Apps and Zapier, it centers on the fact that everyone can now create software, even without programming knowledge. This revolutionary feat allows marketing teams to develop their own software applications, focusing on corporate purpose and not technical specifications.
Research company Forrester claims that these types of low- or no-code platforms have the potential to make software development up to 10 times faster than it is now. Furthermore, they enhance productivity by significantly reducing the time taken up by testing and app development.
This democratic vision of software allows companies to offer quick responses to proposed business changes and create more flexible solutions. Similarly, this means the marketing department is not as reliant on the IT department, which must serve the needs of the whole company – not just respond within established deadlines. This does not in any way suggest a breakdown between these two areas, but rather a more effective and optimized management style; the CMO should collaborate with the IT department on more complex solutions, where they can offer greater value.
“This democratic vision of software allows companies to offer quick responses to proposed business changes and create more flexible solutions. ”
Predictive Analytics: Technology is key to getting ahead of the game
Looking beyond the organization, digitalization is driving far-reaching changes in how brands connect with people. In today’s world, where data is now considered golden to industry, converting, gathering, and processing information has become more important than ever. Accordingly, marketing managers must quickly adapt the possibilities offered by new information technologies, including how to use big data, analytics, hyper-segmentation, and process automation. Beyond this, they must be capable of applying them strategically.
Few would question that today’s consumer is increasingly demanding and aware of their powerful position in their relationships with brands. They increasingly expect the organizations they interact with to be capable of listening to and identifying what is expected of them, and this is being internalized. In a world that is ever more focused on consumers and their needs, the capacity to identify trends, insights, and new behaviors is fundamental. Incorporating predictive technologies is key to achieving this.
Through predictive analysis models and artificial intelligence, brands have an opportunity to get to know their customers better and provide them with experiences increasingly tailored to their needs. Moreover, they are already contributing to transcending the traditional model, which sought to explain customers in terms of age, income, education, and geographic location. Today’s model looks at how they behave, what their interests are, what they want, and, above all, what they are going to want in the immediate future.
Predictive analysis uses technology to improve predictions of what will happen in the future. That includes everything from what customers want to how the market will work, not to mention the most important trends. Marketing managers therefore play a central role in ensuring their brands increasingly adopt these tools, allowing them to anticipate and respond to customer expectations.
“In a world that is ever more focused on consumers and their needs, the capacity to identify trends, insights, and new behaviors is fundamental. Incorporating predictive technologies is key to achieving this. ”
The Era of Voice
One of the fields that has best found a way to employ and combine artificial intelligence is machine learning, which involves processing natural language and automatic speech recognition through voice technology. Due to this capacity for organic integration, it has managed to achieve user adoption and market penetration on never-before-seen levels, in record time.
This technological leap has paved the way for virtual personal assistants through a range of devices. It has also turned conversational interfaces into an unstoppable reality due to the easy, natural way these technologies facilitate digital interaction. Thanks to this emerging voice and audio environment, companies and brands have a chance to forge much more direct, relevant, recurrent, and significant consumer relationships. Accordingly, it is essential to understand how to create voice-based relational models between companies, brands, and customers, as these can generate an emotional bond that transcends market fragility and volatility.
Marketing managers will have to adopt voice technology as an essential part of their digital strategies and omnichannel relations with different audiences, both internal and external. Case studies are practically infinite, but before exploring them, it is key to take a strategic look at the goals you want to achieve through using voice technology tools.
“ Thanks to this emerging voice and audio environment, companies and brands have a chance to forge much more direct, relevant, recurrent, and significant consumer relationships.”
Digital Channels: Protecting and caring for the brand in a changing environment
In recent years, brand safety has become one of advertisers’ main concerns. In this era, when algorithms and robots determine where to insert advertisements and who can see them, the question is obvious: Is digital advertising a safe environment for my brand?
Badly positioned adverts, fake news, extremism, inappropriate content… There is a broad range of risks, depending not only on each brand’s activity, but also its purpose – any association with content that may conflict with company values should be avoided.
Fake news, user-generated content, and legislative changes are just some factors that give rise to new challenges facing campaign and brand content safety on the internet. Each has brought new risks and opportunities with it, forcing professionals to quickly adapt to remain up-to-date.
In this context, it is fundamental not to lose sight of four key factors:
- Work with transparent partners and prioritize qualitative criteria over quantitative.
- Build a digital strategy based on a holistic vision of the company’s communications plan, taking care not to lose sight of its purpose, focusing on the long-term, and committing to quality content and sites.
- Commit to creating premium environments, using credible methods close to their communities. This safeguards the content your brand will be associated with.
- Consultants and brands can now use information to optimize performance and guarantee safety throughout the process. It is necessary to invest in qualified specialists and advanced tools.
After reviewing some of the most important trends of our time, it is clear that information technologies are and will continue to be a major driving force behind all those marketing managers who tirelessly search for new knowledge and innovative formulas to address change. However, readers who have reached this point now may be wondering, “Where do I start?”
There are hundreds of valid responses, and this is where our proposal lies: Move forward accompanied by the best talent and reliable partners, who understand the nature of organizations and their competitive content – as well as, obviously, by us – all while keeping an interest in making progress, curiosity, and continuous learning alive.