Byline published by Dana Drissel, originally posted on Brand Quarterly.
The era of digital transformation is upon us and is likely to accelerate in the coming year, but many companies will struggle to leverage this revolution. It’s not because they don’t have the budget, but rather because their leaders are unsure about what specific steps need to be taken, in order to align their corporate strategies with the many options that confront them in their digital mission.
The promise of digital transformation is that the adoption of new disruptive technologies will transform the customer experience, the operational processes, and the entire business model, which will lead to competitive success. And that’s the key to unlocking this opportunity – starting with a goal to reinvent the customer experience. A new McKinsey report reveals that companies that implement transformational sales and marketing capabilities yield 90% higher sustained growth than those who don’t.
In marketing and sales, this can be accomplished by using digital interactions and interactive storytelling to create engagements, that allow the customers to guide themselves through their problem-solving journeys – leading to self-directed sales cycles for your solutions, creating the epitome of personalized experiences. The customers are no longer being sold to. Instead they undergo a guided discovery with relevant content to address their specific needs. This digital interactive experience allows companies to transition from ‘price-based or feature-based’ selling to ‘value-based’ selling, by demonstrating the alignment of true solutions to customer challenges.
State Of The Mobile Ecosystem
Mobile technologies are the primary platform driving digital marketing transformation and interactive storytelling Mobile technologies are the primary platform driving digital marketing transformation and interactive storytelling, but OS updates are causing many unforeseen problems. Despite extensive testing and preparation by OEMs and carriers, there are a number of things that can, and do, go wrong when a web browser or OS update takes place.
Crash rates spike following the introduction of new OS versions. And while tested, new OS features continue to break apps, causing developers to fix errors and endure yet another 20-day wait cycle at the App Store for review/approval. While Apple quickly worked to fix errors and bugs after their iOS 8 update there was an initial crash rate of 3.3%.
On average, it is costing marketers’ 2x the cost of creating their initial app to get it back up and running, on just ONE device. Ouch! Imagine the downtime this causes a global sales force, the added programming resources required to insure an app continues to work, and the hours of effort marketing teams put in trying to prevent/resolve these issues.
Why The Digital Customer Experience Matters
Growing competition and consumer power are eroding traditional product-based advantages, forcing marketers to shift to a new battlefield: customer experience. Gartner’s Executive Summary for CMO Leadership listed the CEOs number one increased expectation of the CMO is to step up to leadership of the integrated cross-functional customer experience, across all customer touch points.
C-level sales executives have also broadened their expectations of marketing – from generating high-quality leads, to providing sales enablement platforms and content. The global (mobile) sales organization requires access to innovations in customer engagement, from interactive applications for sales meetings, to customer-centric digital content. Marketing is the facilitator and curator of the information needs of the sales team , from competitive positioning to virtual product demonstrations to key industry knowledge. And, as face-to-face events take on an increasingly important role in strategic sales situations, sales leaders look to marketing to create opportunities for effective customer engagement, including product launches, executive briefings, trade shows, and industry networking events.
New Disruptive Digital Marketing Platforms
With B2B customers getting 57% of the way through the buying cycle prior to engaging with a sales representative, it is no wonder companies are losing deals early in the buyers’ journey that they really should have won. This makes the need to communicate product differentiation and value; everywhere your customers encounter your solution, the number one priority.
When looking at disruptive digital marketing platforms CMOs must require the following 7 attributes to achieve successful customer engagement and operational efficiencies…
1. Make It Interactive
Use interactive applications to generate engaging dialogues. This will aid in clearly communicating how products and solutions help to solve customer problems, and will allow users to navigate through the experience in any sequence they choose. Creating an engaging personalized demonstration.
2. Host Via The Cloud
Digital marketing applications should be delivered securely through the cloud to allow for real-time application updates, analytics, simplified B2B global deployment and incremental maintenance. This provides instant availability to all users, resulting in global message consistency and up to date applications.
3. Access To Unlimited Global Users
Expand your reach and get your content into the hands of those who need it most (customers, sales, marketing, channel, training). Use platforms that provide no limit to the number of users anywhere, on any device. This will allow you to cost effectively scale your reach and user base without increasing your costs.
4. Universal Device Compatibility
Don’t pay exorbitant fees to rebuild the same content for multiple devices. Look for marketing platforms that allow you to build ONCE and deploy on every platform , eliminating the need and cost to create separate versions for each operating system or device. Additionally, really great digital marketing platforms will provide automatic and seamless platform updates to support new operating system versions (and browser updates for the web).
5. Online/Offline Access
Use digital marketing applications that are designed to run natively on each local device, without Internet connectivity. This will provide your team with the ability to bring the same interactive experience, to every venue (e.g. trade show, impromptu sales meetings).
6. Real-Time Incremental Updates
Look for marketing platforms that easily and quickly update the digital applications without having to re-develop and re-deploy from scratch, unlike videos, which have to be replaced in its entirety. When updated (e.g. new sections, updated message) only the modified content is changed.
7. Actionable User Analytics
Find platforms where actionable insights, derived from detailed user behavior, are presented in a powerful yet simple format, providing a clear understanding of how the application or content is used, on what devices and in which geographies it is present. This will help develop a clear understanding of ROI and formulate deep knowledge of which products/solutions add the most value.
Your customers must understand your unique differentiation and product value after every sales encounter , and it is marketing’s job to leverage the right transformational technologies to make this happen. Make the investment in the appropriate digital marketing platforms to start building the foundation for long-term success. It is guaranteed to yield greater efficiency and higher returns.
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