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2017 Digital Marketing Study Findings on Digital Transformation and Maturity

Nick Christy, VP Technology

In a digital marketplace where things change in the blink of an eye, there remains one constant that every business can count on—customers crave great experiences.

A brand’s ability to meet those expectations correlates to how much they define themselves as what Adobe calls an “experience business.” From our vantage point, an experience business is one that puts its customers at the forefront. It’s about truly being able to interact with them, regardless of channel, in ways that are consistent, meaningful, and provide an exceptional experience.

Whether that’s a personalized eCommerce session with a retail brand, targeted social campaign with a financial service institution, or mobile appointment with a healthcare provider, B2B and B2C customers alike gravitate toward the companies that will provide them convenience, relevance, and value. This means the pressure is on for marketers to find ways to digitally evolve their businesses and deliver on these expectations.

We partnered with Adobe on their annual Digital Maturity Study to explore how more than 1100 marketers are focusing on various trends and priorities in digital marketing and understand where companies are investing and optimizing to evolve their digital transformation and maturity.

The 2017 Study features a number of insights that serve as a barometer for where leading organizations are in their digital transformation journey and where the industry as a whole is heading. The good news is, it’s trending up. A quarter of all organizations self-reported advanced levels of maturity, up 118% from 2016, and 38% are investing in all areas of digital maturity.

DATA AS A FOUNDATION

One commonality among digital leaders is their unwavering commitment toward using data to direct their business decisions. By integrating data points from web analytics platforms, CRMs, and other data sources, these brands continue to gain deeper intelligence about individual consumers and build impressive, 360-degree customer profiles.

This multi-dimensional understanding of a buyer’s personal information, demographic characteristics, content preferences, and digital tendencies has allowed marketers to apply more sophisticated marketing approaches such as campaign optimization, predictive analytics and content personalization, all of which are predicted to grow in the upcoming years.


 

EMPHASIS ON MOBILE

With countless eyeballs glued to mobile devices, it’s paramount for marketers to prioritize mobile as a leading digital investment. However, mobile investments depend on a company’s level of digital maturity, and like any other marketing decision, it must revolve around the customer.

While mobile may be more universally adopted in certain industries like travel and hospitality, make no mistake—marketers who choose to ignore the importance of mobile will lose both customer affinity and revenue opportunities. As a starting point, companies should begin by conducting research and persona analysis on how their target audiences use mobile to solve problems, browse content, interact with their networks, and then determine how their products and services can intersect those customer journeys.

SETTING SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GROWTH GOALS

Perhaps the most important idea touched upon in Adobe’s Digital Maturity Study is the value in identifying both short-term and long-term growth goals. For many companies, digital transformation is a shimmering light somewhere way out past the horizon. It appears unattainable. The truth is, the best way brands can evolve digital maturity is one small step at a time.

Start by working with your team to document what digital marketing activities your company does well and what areas need additional support. Identify areas that can be solved quickly to gain momentum and then set larger goals that can be accomplished in phases, delegating responsibilities to either internal teams or external partners. By addressing short-term issues while also establishing milestones to solve bigger challenges, marketers can begin to plot a course toward digital maturity with clear coordinates on how they’re going to get there.

For marketers focused on building a solid digital foundation to mature how digital marketing impacts relationships with customers, this annual Digital Marketing Study helps establish a baseline. Use it to determine departmental as well as company-wide alignment on key priorities that can generate a business impact as well as better customer experiences.

Nick Christy

About the author: Nick Christy

As SVP, Enterprise Technology at R2i, Nick Christy plays a strong role in the company’s technology footprint. He has experience leading and architecting large scale system development efforts as well as guiding how to scale solutions to size for smaller organizations. He has successfully led large development efforts for clients such as: University of Michigan, PHH, Atlantic Health, Microsoft, Constellation Energy, and Time Warner Cable. He leads the Marketing Cloud practice at R2i and is focused on bringing integrated marketing cloud solutions to R2i clients.

Nick has a strong background in vast development languages, including: c++, .NET, Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Perl. He also has broad experience in DB development and design having worked on Sql Server, Oracle and MySQL. He frequently speaks on marketing cloud technology and has presented at numerous AMA conferences as well as Content Marketing World and NetFinance.

Nick holds a Computer Science degree from Frostburg State University, as well as a minor in Accounting and a Software Development Certificate.

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