A young student in Rwanda can log onto an online course in data sciences from a top university in the US. Artists from London can sell their works to buyers from Australia thanks to e-commerce platforms. Data analysts sitting in Bengaluru can help banking firms in Singapore make better business decisions through analytical platforms.
Welcome to today’s digital world! Thanks to the emergence of the Internet, the way we communicate and stay in touch with our family, friends, and business colleagues; how we work and play; how we learn and how we buy things has drastically changed. Specifically, it has changed business and marketing. With over 3.48 billion social media users in 2019, social media is the best way to reach out to people. However, that alone is not enough. An industry report indicated that an integrated marketing campaign with four or more digital channels has a 300 percent increase in performance compared to a dual-channel campaign.
Rebrand or perish: The marketing imperative
Marketers today work in a very complex environment. With advances in technology and data and diversification of customers, markets, and channels, there are new and different ways to reach out to audiences. Driven by technological developments, evolving consumer habits, and cost pressures, companies want a unified method to get their message across. With numerous firms offering the same services, the marketing communications industry is increasingly saturated, and firms are competing hard to stand out from the herd.
Clearly, firms need to change with the times and evolve. When these organisations adopt a long-term strategy, firms see the need to both transform and rebrand. However, the rebrand should not be undertaken just for the sake of a “rebrand”. While everyone wants their firms to be the one that stands out and gets noticed, firms also need to walk the walk. However, to do this, a firm must establish its unique capabilities that differentiate it from the competition. Once these have been defined, firms can go on to capitalise on these capabilities.
Many firms are now following the integrated route. By extending its offerings to include more services lines, consultancies look to build a full range of capabilities that addresses the contemporary challenges of marketing in today’s connected world. With the integrated approach, consultancies have at hand a more extensive array of marketing strategy, tools, and ideas to help its clients reach target audiences. In fact, an increasing number of consultancies are recognising that all marketing communication in today’s connected world has to be integrated.
Integrated marketing requires an integrated technology stack. Collaborative digital platforms enable the integration of traditional and digital marketing channels, making it easier to deliver cross-channel campaigns. Being a part of an integrated global marketing team, I have witnessed firsthand the value these digital tools can bring. It is the bridge that helps with the sharing of data and insights across teams and helps them work together better.
Future-proofing integrated marketing
Digital disruption is not just a buzzword today. It has affected almost every industry and marketing is no different. In this world of digital disruption, firms need to put tradition and emotion aside and be ready to change direction entirely. They must retain perspective, observe, and learn from what is going on around them and stay close to their customers. They can then be the leaders of the next round of digital disruption.
To build a globally integrated marketing team, marketing companies need to invest in the right technology stack and the people to take advantage of growth opportunities. Marketing companies will need to digitally upskill their employees and build capabilities in-house rather than depend on external expertise.
Marketing experts believe that 5G will be transformative when it is rolled out. With the latest 5G technology, we can process significantly higher amounts of data at far greater speeds than current 4G devices. As a result, users will be able to access the Internet on several different devices at once. With better speed comes the ability to share more data faster, which increases accessibility and more users enter the market. As 5G lets us connect and process data more quickly, marketers will be able to communicate in real-time with more people than ever before and drive more personalised experiences.
Cloud is another impactful tech change. In marketing, cloud computing is helping companies of all sizes find success and become more versatile than ever before. It levels the playing field by allowing small marketing companies to gain traction and collaborate more efficiently. The fluid nature of the cloud also allows for growth and change as a company’s needs fluctuate. Marketers today can gain greater control of their digital assets using the cloud. Today’s savvy marketers understand the impact that digital channels have on potential customers, as well as the importance of protecting those assets.
Ultimately, the future of marketing technology is one where marketers can engage in persuasive and personal communication with audiences. To make the most of these opportunities, marketers will need to focus on internal cohesion and collaboration to build an integrated team. Going ahead, I expect to see more integrated projects where technology will play an important part. It will help us gather more data, make better decisions, and develop powerful campaigns and approaches. Today, businesses cater to clients across global markets. A truly integrated team combined with technology that builds a comprehensive and relevant marketing campaign will help brands tell compelling stories.