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Every Business Needs To Be Thinking About Their Transformation

Posted by Ron Jacobs on April 10, 2018


The article below originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of the J&C Newsletter. If you are not already receiving the newsletter, sign up on the form at the bottom of this article.

This issue of the Jacobs & Clevenger newsletter is about transformation. It’s one of the defining ideas for marketing in the 21st century. The growth of digital marketing, mobile marketing, marketing technology, automation tools and many other innovations is often pointed to as the inflection point for the start of this revolution. Changes in consumer behavior are the real cause.

Retail marketing hasn’t died because of Amazon or other ecommerce sellers. Ecommerce grew because consumers desired the larger selections available from web marketers, deeper inventories and the convenience of buying online. While ecommerce may have its roots in the catalog and mail order businesses of the past, they have brought their own innovations to selling directly to consumers. With the advent of free shipping, one of the last barriers to buying in this way was overcome. Now consumer behavior has changed to expect no less than free shipping.

At the same time, ecommerce marketers like Amazon, Casper Sleep and Warby Parker are opening bricks and mortar stores. They aren’t opening large big-box stores that have fallen out of favor with consumers. These new retail stores are designed to duplicate the best elements of the customer experience available online, including explainer videos, virtual assistants, comfortable surroundings and convenient checkout. They often add coffee bars, free WiFi and mobile payment systems to improve on the traditional retail experience.

Today, all businesses have to evolve to account for changes in consumer behavior. Legacy processes may have helped businesses grow in the past. Without radical transition, businesses can’t position themselves for future growth or profit. This is critical for marketing organizations where customer journeys, information consumption habits and long-held assumptions about buying behavior have all been disrupted. These disruptions may have been enabled by digital technologies.

The transformations in marketing have their roots in consumers’ desire for more convenience, more consumption channels, greater connectivity and more choice of communications methods, messages and frequency. Today’s consumers want fresh ideas they haven’t seen or experienced before. Cross-device marketing has become familiar, even expected. Consumers open direct mail but respond online. They search on their mobile devices but finish the purchase on their desktop.

They expect easy access to product information and customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They want that access and ease of buying on a weekday during their lunch hour or at the busiest time on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or before any holiday. Friction for consumers means failure for brands.

Over 50% of consumers ages 18–44 are willing to give up personal information for relevant user experiences. About 80% of consumers are inclined to share personal data when they receive offers or data-enabled benefits. But make no mistake. Data breaches like the ones at Equifax, Target and Yahoo make consumers think twice about shopping or sharing data with those firms. The reported misuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica has wiped millions of dollars of value from Facebook, sparked a user lead lawsuit and contributed to an overall drop in usage by “roughly 50 million hours every day.” Losing consumer trust has far-reaching implications for businesses today.

Data has become the DNA of businesses. Without access to data, businesses lose the ability to gain insights about their customers. Data allows businesses to track user, prospect and buyer behavior. Businesses can follow their customer journeys as they explore, discover, evaluate and engage with brands across channels and devices. Data allows marketers to personalize communications across customer lifecycles, making them relevant and useful to consumers at each point in their customer journeys.

No category of business is immune to the disruption that changes in consumer behavior have brought. So we have curated a small group of articles to help you learn how other businesses are coping with digital and marketing transformation. Some are from unexpected sources, such as the wine industry. When you read them, you will see their relevancy.

Ron Jacobs
Jacobs & Clevenger

P.S. If you are starting or going through your own marketing transformation, I would be glad to hear from you. J&C works with a number of clients on projects that require a modern marketing point of view. I am glad to share some of those insights. You can email me at ronjacobs@jacobsclevenger.com or call me on my direct line at 312-894-3094.

Topics: Retail Industry, Digital Marketing

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