From established brands to digital startups, healthcare providers and financial services companies, multi-utilities and government organizations, educational institutions and non-profits, organizations agree that buyers and users are absolutely central. And if companies have to find a balance between their business objectives and the no longer negligible needs of consumers – transparency, ease of use, practicality and personalization – agencies are called upon to implement projects that concretely transform customer communication.
Digitization has represented both a formidable driver of change, capable of shaping a technologically new world, and the response to the needs that have arisen as a result of this change.
How digital media changed agency communications
Before the advent of digital media, agency communication was largely focused on advertising and utilizing traditional media. In the transition from the 1980s to the 1990s, advertising agencies changed, gradually abandoning a concept of communication that was starting to be limiting by then (and coincided substantially with the creation and distribution of advertising messages that had become increasingly less influential over time, because it was incapable of intercepting more elusive and conscious targets) in order to establish themselves as creative agencies.
This is a process that, in the 2000s, following the introduction of digital media (digital disruption), undergoes a dramatic acceleration and leads agencies to even different outcomes (in particular, digital agencies impose themselves).
In parallel, three other shifts are occurring that will substantially reconfigure market dynamics:
- Marketing radically rethinks its approach to customer relations, going so far as to reverse the direction and intensity of investments (symbolic and financial); from production, the focus shifts to the purchase path;
- People become familiar with digital tools and use them to actively participate in consumer experiences, searching, commenting, and sharing the information that the web and brands make available;
- Companies learn to leverage technological innovation, incorporating the conversion of analog to digital into their infrastructure. Paper records, ledgers, sheets and binders, copiers and fax machines: business data all used to be analog, and physical documents were necessary in order to collect or share information. With digitization, this information becomes immediately “lighter,” easy to store in one place and easier still to find and consult, ready to be immediately transferred according to the needs of the moment, with a significant savings of time and money and a significant reduction of human error.
Today, marketing and advertising are primarily digital, and the very expression “digital agency” seems, in fact, almost redundant. However, even though communication agencies have undeniably benefited from the boost from new media, the distinction still has its value, if only because the so-called “old media” such as print, radio, television, and other traditional techniques retain a certain relevance, at least in the case of some particular strategic marketing campaigns.
When digitization begins, however, computers become mainstream and most companies proceed to convert all information from analog to digital. But what impact has this process had on business objectives? And what, instead, does “digital transformation” mean?
Digitization: Achieving business goals by simplifying work
Digital information makes established ways of working easier and more efficient. It involves the use of new technologies to modernize and optimize existing production practices, which undergo a change in format but remain more or less the same. Now that data is immediately accessible and no longer stored – lost, hidden – in some dusty archive, digitization makes it possible to carry out the same activities, but faster and with better results.
Customer care, sales, field operations, call centers: digitization changes all these services forever by making customer data easily and quickly retrievable via computer. What changes is not so much the basic methodology, but rather the degree of efficiency with which the various steps of the process are carried out: forwarding a request, searching for the relevant information, and offering a resolution becomes incredibly faster.
From digitization to digital transformation: Translating business into the digital age
Digital transformation is therefore the translation of business into the digital era. It is the process of using new technologies to redefine the ways in which business objectives can be achieved:
- Create new business processes or modify existing ones,
- Updating the institutional culture of organizations with respect to the evolving reality,
- Redesign customer experiences,
- Meet the changing needs of the market and the enterprise.
It is an articulated and complex change that must account for a true paradigm shift. That’s why digitization, in its most advanced form of digital transformation, transcends compartmental divisions such as those between sales, marketing, and customer service. Instead, it begins and ends in the customer relationship, in the way it is established, managed and enhanced. As companies streamline operations, moving from paper to spreadsheets to smart apps, what they’re really doing is reimagining buying and consumer experiences.
The three questions agencies absolutely must ask themselves
Digital transformation is therefore fundamentally changing the way companies operate, in some cases creating entirely new classes of business. What about agencies? Agencies cannot simply observe from afar, they must both track and try to precede companies in the backward journey in which they are engaged, helping them redesign the way they interact with customers, online and offline. To do this, agencies are called upon to concretely answer essential questions.
- What tools should be developed for companies to offer them the opportunity to build a better customer experience?
- How can companies channel the wealth of information made available by digitization to develop more engaging communications?
- What initiatives and tools to support companies in personalizing the relationship with their customers?
Digital transformation for communications agencies: Innovative strategies at the service of the enterprise
Digital transformation has also had a profound impact on the way communication agencies operate. While the ultimate goal of corporate marketing is – and perhaps it goes without saying – to find more clients while spending less, in the case of agencies, digitalization has offered new and powerful tools for developing communication strategies to support the company, to generate and qualify leads, and to implement systematic branding actions that are fundamental in today’s increasingly liquid and competitive markets.
In the early stages of digitization, the shift from analog materials to digital documents helped agencies primarily in two ways:
- Digital materials are cheaper to produce and distribute than analog media. Email, in particular, is much less expensive than traditional print and mail campaigns;
- Digital marketing opens the door to marketing automation, tracking analytics, and open, participatory dialog with clients, all to an extent unattainable with analog systems.
Instead of planning an undifferentiated journey, which would be unrealistically valid for everyone, agency professionals can create tailor-made projects for corporate marketers, thanks to which they can conduct personalized conversations and shape the experience of their consumers throughout the purchasing path.
Thanks to digitization, user behaviors can be closely observed, rationally collected and categorized, and interpreted to extract relevant insights. Instead of relying solely on gut instinct and visceral feelings, marketers now have vast amounts of information at their fingertips, and agencies must capitalize on these data-driven resources to help them connect with individual customers, while maintaining an active and ongoing connection across all touchpoints.
The tools to design brand experiences, at every stage of the journey
Innovations in platform design and interactive tools, mobile devices, social media, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence are redefining production processes and consumption practices. Within this constantly evolving context, the role of corporate marketing is enhanced, and can now exert an even greater influence in directing brand choices.
Agencies, for their part, are called upon to support marketing by helping it design and implement those same experiences, so as to achieve three main business objectives:
- Boost customer acquisition
- Generate sales
- Decrease customer churn rate
From awareness to advocacy: Personalizing the customer journey
If marketers can use the mapping of the purchase path made possible by digitization to establish their plans in real time, thanks to digital solutions, agencies can act in parallel in the various phases of user interaction, from lead generation to lead nurturing: awareness, acquisition, onboarding, engagement, retention, and advocacy. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
Awareness: The awareness phase cannot be traced back to a single precise and circumscribed moment, but rather takes the form of total branding and is developed throughout the entire journey. Among the most used tools: CRM-based adv and social media marketing. In both cases the contents of the campaigns are often communicated through personalized videos, stories through images that become a privileged vehicle of corporate storytelling.
Acquisition: Software platforms for lead management (lead nurturing, lead scoring), enriched with interactive audio and video content, and landing pages provided with links that allow simple and immediate conversions. These tools are extremely effective for sales and commercial initiatives because they are equipped with information sheets and customized to the situation of the individual user.
Onboarding: Micro-sites and interactive videos to simplify and make onboarding engaging. In this case, personalized videos are a fundamental support for new customers, employees, and partners, who are guided to adopt products, services, and apps thanks to scripts that are tailored to each of them, based on continuously updated data.
Engagement: Promotion of events, product information, cross-selling and upselling actions, creating attention for specific initiatives. For all of these needs, the agency can foresee the development of apps, the creation of an ad hoc content marketing plan, a social strategy to be applied to each channel, and investment in the creation of communities. Even at this stage, the use of interactive and personalized videos is one of the most popular choices, especially if we look at the latest Wyzowl report, which states that 40% of marketers confirm the strategic value of video and that the amount of video content consumed online is also growing, which is viewed by 68% of respondents.
Retention and advocacy: Customer support for renewing subscriptions or solving problems is a key aspect of lead nurturing and contributes greatly to the overall quality of the purchase and the consumer experience. Among the tools that deliver the best results, we suggest conversational AI services (such as chatbots, for example), opening a dedicated listening channel on social media, mini-sites designed to offer navigable customer care paths, and videos, often distributed via email (even on systematic email marketing campaigns), that provide timely updates, reminders, alerts, and the ability to make payments.
Doxee’s personalized videos: The digital solution for agencies throughout the customer journey
To connect with customers on every channel and on every device, marketers can reach them with personalized messages via email, mobile messaging and apps, social media, advertising, websites, IoT, and communities. However, there is one tool that, due to its particular characteristics, can build an authentic and compelling brand narrative better than others, thanks to which it can gain the trust of users and build valuable relationships, which are essential for the achievement of companies’ business goals: it’s personalized video.
Doxee Pvideo® is Doxee’s solution for creating and delivering personalized, interactive videos that bring out the richness hidden in customer data.
The collaboration with Doxee, which has always worked alongside companies and agencies to offer effective and engaging digital communication tools, allows you to take full advantage of all the benefits of digitization, at every stage of the journey.