Digital disruption is the biggest buzz phrase of the business world right now. I don’t remember the last time a day went by and I didn’t hear someone talk, read an article or see a job advertisement about digital transformation. Almost every company and every job function is affected by this and marketing is no exception. But what does it mean?

 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how the landscape has changed and how we are always online (you can read it here), it got me thinking even more about how we should be marketing to consumers/businesses and the implications of this.

It used to be very clear cut what “type” of marketer you were – you either did B2B or B2C. Each one had its own set of properties. Now it isn’t that simple. With the acceleration of technology improvements and enhancements over the past decade, marketing organisations and functions need to be ahead of the game more than most when it comes to preparedness for digital transformation. Often the marketing teams are responsible for that first piece of interaction a customer has with a business. Be it a view of a social post, a view on a website, appearing in Google search, seeing a display ad or appearing on an affiliates site and so on – there are so many ways in which customers (businesses or consumers) interact.

Marketers need to think about the expectations of their customers and in case you hadn’t guessed already, I don’t mean based on whether they are a business or a consumer. Marketers need to think about the expectations of their customers as humans.

 As a consumer you expect to be able to access content cross device, whenever you want and wherever you want. Being in an office (or being in office hours) doesn’t suddenly move your expectations back 5 to 10 years. Just because you are shopping/investing/browsing for your organisation doesn’t mean you expect anything less than an integrated digital experience. 

Just because you are acting on behalf of an organisation doesn’t mean you aren’t a real person.

Yes, the content should be different and yes, there may be more research needed because let’s face it: messing up and ordering the wrong pair of shoes for yourself is okay and you can send them back, but messing up and ordering the wrong type of IT infrastructure for your organisation, your job is pretty much at risk.

Marketing organisations, regardless of audience, need to be digital (where their customers are). They need to be able to produce personalised content (but not too much so it’s creepy) that is correct and up to date (fed up of receiving emails from a mechanical company telling me my MOT is due for a car I haven’t owned in 2 years) and they need to be able to record every interaction with every piece of content to keep on succeeding. People want seamless experiences. They don’t want to be buying from a company (business or consumer) that has a rubbish website or isn’t mobile friendly. They don’t want to sit through grainy video footage for more than 5 minutes let alone a whole hour, or read ridiculously long reports that uses ridiculously long language. People want snackable content – something that isn’t a huge time investment. Content that gets to the point quick and addresses their needs when they are ready to engage with it. People need content that is interactive, that can enable them to get answers quickly, provide access to experts if needed (I’m thinking down the line of online assistants/live chat here).

In order to do this successfully marketers need adopt the latest technology such as good data management systems, good content management systems and ensuring they have the ability to interact with each other – rather than operate as separate entities. Then, they need to couple this with remembering that at the end of the day, they are marketing to people. People whose expectations have evolved with digital disruption and need marketing efforts to match them. 

This blog was first published October 2017, available here.