Even among South Africa’s most progressive brands, digital marketing and media have not yet taken the leading role they should in boardroom conversations. Many brands remain fairly conservative about how much money they spend on digital channels, allocating at most 10% of their total media budget to digital, depending on which market research you believe.
The reason for this is perhaps due to the confusing jargon, the pace of technology change, and the complexity of the media purchasing models. Many conservative brands and marketers retreat to what they know and understand when faced with fragmentation (premium sites, networks, ad exchanges); different ways of buying (auctions, CPM, CPC); and different technologies and new channels.
Time to reorient around the customer
Yet those that don’t embrace digital technology risk falling behind the needs of their customers. They also risk falling behind an international market where brands are rapidly ramping up digital spending, with Gartner projecting that many international players will spend up to 17% of their total marketing spend on digital.
Today’s consumers are digital, mobile, and technology-savvy. They are empowering themselves rather than allowing brands to dictate to them. At the same time, leading digital brands (Amazon, Uber, Facebook etc…) are redefining the market by creating new benchmarks for customer experience and personalisation.
Customers today, thus, expect personalised services that address their immediate context and moment of need. Unless brands can integrate digital across channels and departments – marketing, service, IT, sales, call centres, branches, Web sites and so on – they will not meet customers’ rising expectations around the customer experience.
And getting this right – driving integration of channels and delivering a more frictionless and coherent experience at every touch point – demands that senior executives get involved. It is the CMO, CIO and CEO who can rally marketing, IT, call center and aftersales staff together to execute a digital strategy that reorients the whole business around the needs of the customer. Read more…