The Four Essential Pieces of Digital-Marketing Maturity

by Kevin Lindsay

posted on 09-23-2016

Today, digital marketing is marketing — influencing all kinds of people and delivering all kinds of customer and brand experiences. According to a 2014 Adweek report, more than one-third of CMOs say that digital marketing will account for 75 percent or more of their spending within the next five years.

Digital maturity — an organization’s capacity to deliver seamless, digital brand experiences — is a holistic process that spans all channels and evolves continuously. According to the annual seven-year Digital Marketing Survey conducted by Adobe, momentum for digital maturity is slowly growing. And, if your organization is located in North America, there’s a 50 percent chance that you’re on the path to digital maturity.

The Survey revealed a lot this year, including the four essential pieces for really ramping up your digital strategy, and therefore, your digital maturity — so keep reading!

Piece One: Data-Driven Marketing
This year’s study showed that digitally mature organizations are quite a bit further ahead in their data usage. Thus, one can infer that analytics is essential for companies seeking digital maturity. Why? Because analytics allow companies to examine data more thoroughly and more frequently. For instance, customer engagement can be continually measured to ensure that specific content is relevant and engaging, and thus, improves the customer journey. Thus, analytics provide companies that extra edge with regard to data usage.

According to the survey, both advanced and focused organizations are investing in measurement and optimization. In North America, almost half say they have companywide, holistic approaches to testing, while globally, the number is closer to one-third. Business-to-business high tech organizations top the list, with 44 percent reporting that multiple departments have input in the testing process, followed by retail and commerce with 35 percent.

We also discovered that in-depth analytics and multivariate testing — not just A/B testing — enable them to improve automation and personalization as the customer journey becomes increasingly complex. It’s not only important to have the correct information, but also the correct assessment of that information, so you can effectively engage with your customer. A solid foundation in data-driven marketing allows you to do just that.

Piece Two: Optimal Customer Experience
Advanced organizations realized some time ago that customer experience is the very core of marketing. The goal is to WOW your customer with a personalized experience — meaning, to give each customer the very best experience at the perfect moment and on the right device.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the priorities of marketing departments do about-faces. The top digital marketers are now working to deliver experiences related to what customers’ needs are at any given point — instead of promoting what’s top of mind for the business. They are putting their resources toward developing more customer-focused content and finding ways to reach their customers with relevant materials. Seventy percent of all organizations surveyed report that automating the delivery of personalized content for web has improved key performance indicators (KPIs), and 71 percent say it has improved KPIs for mobile sites and apps. Advanced marketers report the biggest benefits: Ninety-one percent say automation of personalized content has improved KPIs for their websites, and 74 percent say it has improved KPIs for mobile. Automated personalization requires organizations to invest in multiple capabilities across the digital-maturity spectrum, including testing and analytics — to understand customers from multiple perspectives — which enable them to adapt content as they learn more about customers’ wants and needs. The ultimate goal is to deliver truly meaningful, in-the-moment experiences. And, it’s not just an important goal — survival depends on it!

Piece Three: Mobile Marketing
In the past, companies designed their websites with very little attention given to how they would look on newfangled mobile handsets. Today, with smartphones being the primary device for 92 percent of users, any organization worth its salt will lose precious viewers — or worse yet, potential customers — if it doesn’t adapt to this new reality.

If more people are engaging with digitally mature companies via mobile apps, sites, or devices, it means that these companies are doing something right. Whether that something is having better mobile sites, more relevant content, better mobile apps, or simply more mobile touchpoints, everyone will need to do more to compete.

Updating your e-infrastructure with mobile-friendly content could easily become the leading issue for your business strategy in the coming years. In fact, mobile was the top area most likely to see budget increases in the next 12 months. As more companies adapt to mobile, it’s better to either be among the percentage that have already created sufficiently mobile-savvy digital presences or those working to create mobile-friendly infrastructures (over 51 percent), than to be left out in the cold.

Piece Four: Cross-Channel Marketing
The recent focus on cross-channel marketing should come as no surprise given how important it is to engage customers across all types of media: television, radio, web, mobile, email, phone, and apps. People don’t just go to one channel and stay there. They surf, which creates multiple opportunities to reach them — but, just as many chances to lose them. Almost 90 percent of survey respondents rank creating a connected experience and campaign orchestration as a top priority; and 78 percent say they are focusing on having the right tools to help them meet customers where they are at any given moment.

Creating connected experiences requires understanding the entire customer journey. Analyzing single touchpoints with customers just doesn’t cut it anymore. Companies need to understand the complete path each customer takes to get from first engagement to final purchase. They need to know how customers interact with their content across multiple devices and channels and whether the content is moving them forward in their journeys.

Put It All Together
Digital maturity is constantly changing, and developing a consistent improvement plan is nearly impossible. So, what is possible? According to the survey, it’s all about the core of your strategy.

Companies that intentionally devote their attentions to advancing holistic strategies tend to have the highest digital maturities. Companies with strong data-driven foundations, connected and relevant customer experiences, and fluid mobile experiences were most successful. So, ask yourself, “Do I have a strategy for digital maturity? If so, is it holistic? If not, what do I need to do?” Start today!

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Target