Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco
- In digital marketing, there is no “one size fits all” approach.
- Digital marketing should give the customer the opportunity to live a unique and memorable experience.
- Digital marketing has become a technical and technological marketing.
Digital marketing is not a discipline of its own. In fact, it is the adaptation of the marketing approach to this new channel: the Internet. Internet is a contributing factor of the permanent transformation of organizations. Today, The Internet is an essential place for any business to meet its targets. This raises the question: What is the strategy to follow and what is the purpose of marketing in the digital age?
In the digital age, marketing must adopt an experimental approach
In digital marketing, the only valid mindset is “test & learn”. The logic of ready-made recipes will not allow the company to build a sustainable competitive advantage for at least four reasons. The first one is the uniqueness of each situation and business, which renders solutions devised and designed for other contexts without real value. The second comes from the very dynamic nature of the digital ecosystem. The latter knows a fast and continuous evolution. All decisions and solutions quickly turn obsolete. The third reason is related to the hyper-competitive nature of the economic environment in which companies operate today. The fourth and most important reason is consumer behavior. He has become connected, trained, informed, demanding, comparing and therefore an active player in the game.
The “test & learn” or experimental methodology is based on assumptions about how to create, with and for the customer, solutions that will bring him/her value and which he/she will have a positive perception of. However, these assumptions must lead to the most relevant and careful implementation possible. This experimentation must be accompanied by measurements and KPIs to check, permanently and in real-time, if the already made choices meet the expectations of customers and if they bring the company closer to its objectives. This approach should lead to extracting a “Best Practices” guide responding to the specificities of the company’s target markets.
From this point of view, the so-called “me too” strategies will be of less use because the leaders will have an important advantage in a context of hyper and chrono-competition. Today, companies concerned with building a sustainable competitive advantage will turn more to a mix of marketing strategies that consider the needs and expectations of consumers (market pull) and integrate more effectively and efficiently technological innovations (technology push).
In the digital age, marketing must serve an experiential purpose
The unifying marketing concept today is undoubtedly the customer experience. Marketing is now about creating experiences that engage the consumer in a positive and meaningful relationship with a company or brand. The customer experience is a new purpose of marketing. It refers to “all emotions and feelings felt by a client before, during and after the purchase of a product or service”. A positive, rewarding, unique and memorable experience is the result of all the interactions a consumer or customer may have with the brand or company. The customer experience is no longer seen as a moment but rather as a process integrating the phases before, during and post transaction. It is a long and especially dense process of interactions via many digital channels as well as offline channels. The challenge of marketing is now to ensure a continuity of the relationship integrating all the channels that each consumer prefers to use in each of these phases. It’s the omnichannel customer experience made of online and offline moments via desktop, mobile or other connected devices.
Experiential marketing will disrupt the classic unidirectional marketing design. It will become interactive or even conversational. The challenge is to constantly collect Data (Data Driven Marketing) which will allow the company to better know the expectations of each of its customers and to serve them in a personalized way (one to one marketing) and co-built. This interaction is made easier via the company’s digital platforms (website, mobile applications, DMP…) to which technologies (e-mail, chat, chatbots, callbots…) are integrated. This interaction is also the advantage of the use of social networks (marketing 2.0) and connected objects (IoT or marketing 3.0) and artificial intelligence (AI or marketing 4.0) for informational, transactional or relational purposes.
Marketing is becoming an engineering job
Experiential marketing is therefore a process of co-constructing personalized offers using customer data collected via digital channels or face-to-face during the many interactions with them. This massive data (Big Data) is exploited and highlighted using new and powerful tools (data science and IA) to be as responsive as possible (real time response) or even better by being proactive (predictive marketing) in the customer relationship. Many actions and marketing campaigns are currently automated via computer (programmatic) algorithms designed more and more around artificial intelligence.
This requires skills that marketers are deprived of because of their academic background in business schools and only available at the data scientist pool. This new business is based on a complex skill at the confluence of mathematics / statistics, computer / programming and a business part considering the specificities of each type of business.
In conclusion, in the digital age, marketing should no longer be appraoched, implemented and managed as before. Today, it becomes more efficient when it is part of an experimentation logic, aiming to maximize customer value through the co-creation of rewarding customer experiences. The digitization of marketing must be seen as the opening and integration of many Internet channels promoting interaction with the customer before, during and after the transaction. It is also the use of tools and technologies to enhance the value of customer data by responding to their need for immediacy.
La version en français de cet article a été publiée dans le magazine Libre Entreprise