(Last Updated On: February 19, 2021)

In the first part of this article-series, we spoke about some factors can hurt your business.

  • Lack of digital presence
  • Lack of marketing efforts on your portal
  • Lack of engagement with your audience on social media
  • Lack of communication consistency
  • Lack of personalized engagement

And what you need to do overcome those.

This part is purely dedicated to the operational aspects related to digital presence that may require transformation.

Operational transformation, while often over-looked, happens to be an important reason why you are not able to manage your digital presence properly.

Let's take a look at those aspects in this article.

# 6. You manage your digital channels in siloes

In the earlier article, we discussed the impact of different partners managing different channels on maintaining consistency in your messaging.

Even if you have a single partner managing your digital presence, what if they manage your channels in siloes?

The outcome would still be the same.

Teams working in siloes are not something new and the impact is quite self-evident.

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Source: AMA & EConsultancy

If for instance, your SEO and content management teams operate in isolation, who will take the ownership for the implementation of the right SEO metadata on a web page whenever a new page is created?

Will this even be considered as an activity despite being critical?

A study by Smart Insights and TFM&A reveals that teams structured in siloes is one of the top 2 factors that limit integration of digital marketing channels.

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Let's take another example.

As part of our consulting practice, we work with some brands on end-to-end campaign management including creative generation and landing page development.

We apply a lot of effort in making sure they are as persuasive as possible.

We have stringent quality checking mechanisms in place to ensure that tracking codes are deployed.

On the other hand, we work with brands on campaign management where the creative and landing page development are handled by the client's creative agency.

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On several occasions, we have seen that these landing pages were not given the attention they deserved!

Even worse, at times, we were not able to capture campaign metrics as the tracking codes were not implemented on the pages.

This is because of working in siloes.

It could be that the development of hardworking campaign creatives and landing pages with basic hygiene is not very important in the creative agency's scheme of things.

Getting one partner to manage the entire activity would have averted those mistakes and their eventual business impact.

To put things in perspective, here's a comparison of response rates of email campaigns based on landing pages, across three different industries.

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Here are 4 actionable recommendations that will help you overcome functioning in siloes.

  1. Assign common goals for all functions
  2. Refrain from giving channel-specific incentives. Instead offer incentives based on the achievement of common goals
  3. Align processes, SLA, TAT and who does what with stringent quality metrics
  4. Develop a culture where everyone is open to feedback and mandate knowledge-sharing

# 7. You don’t re-use Digital Assets

You must be working with a creative agency to meet your creative requirements.

Does your agency design those creatives fresh, every time without reusing past creatives?

Such a bespoke approach doesn't provide you the agility to handle all your digital channels.

When you want to build creatives for thousands of micro-interactions across several audience segments, this approach is an inhibitor.

To overcome this, you need to break creative assets into smaller units and re-use each unit wherever possible.

This not only allows you to quickly build creatives, but also gives you the ability to create numerous combinations of creatives that you can test with sample audiences before a full roll out.

It is one thing to re-use digital assets. It's another thing to do this efficiently.

This is where a centralized digital asset / marketing resource management solution comes in.

Recent research by Gartner shows that less than 35% of interviewed brands have a platform to centrally manage digital assets.

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Source: Gartner & Pimcore

A Digital Asset Management System is often an overlooked / under-utilized solution and the value that it delivers to achieving marketing velocity is often belittled.

Not using a centralized Digital Asset Management system with proper tagging of digital assets can result in hundreds of hours of productivity-loss ever year.

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Even organizations that use a DAM solution often re-use only creatives and stock images.

However, it doesn't serve the entire purpose.

You should develop the ability to re-use at least the following -

  • Emailers
  • Copy
  • Creative
  • Call-to-Actions
  • Rich Media Banners
  • Offers
  • Customer journeys
  • Analytical segments
  • Campaigns
  • Web and mobile app components
  • Forms

When you do this, you will have the capability to set up a fast paced creative factory that can support you by providing personalized communication to your audience at scale.

For this, you need to tag every single creative asset for easy retrieval and to track performance.

Actionable Recommendations

Here are 4 actionable recommendations for you to follow to effectively reuse digital assets.

  1. Craft thoughtfully-created taxonomies covering metadata such as audience segments, offer types, channels, placements, product categories, campaigns, journeys, objectives, etc.
  2. Tag every single asset and store them in a centralized repository with the meta data loaded on to it along with reference IDs
  3. Pick from the stored assets and come up with hundreds of dynamic combinations for each communication channel
  4. Test the combinations on a control group and send the winning combination to the rest of your audience

# 8. Your marketing processes lack agility and visibility

You have multiple teams. You may also have standard processes established for your marketing operations.

But, are you certain that your teams work towards a common goal?

Do they deliver timely outputs?

Are they flexible enough to change strategy in response to customer feedback or campaign performance?

Do they share knowledge with other teams?

Do they help teams working on other channels?

If your answer to any of the above is no, then your marketing processes lack agility.

Persisting with marketing processes that are not agile results in sub-par marketing velocity and efficiency.

Whereas, studies have shown that moving to agile marketing has a direct correlation with revenue increase.

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Source: McKinsey & Company

When you embrace agile processes in your marketing, you get an aligned cross-functional team with the flexibility to prioritize efforts seamlessly in line with dynamic business goals.

You also get absolute visibility in terms of the status of your marketing efforts across all channels.

This is because, in agile processes, your operations team meets daily and tracks progress.

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Source: CXL

This gives you the perfect opportunity to identify and rectify roadblocks early.

These roadblocks can be in any form - budget approval, creative approval, making data available, delivering reports, integrating systems etc.

By being flexible enough to make changes in order to optimize marketing efforts, the agile operations team now can quickly grasp expectations and deliver a higher quality of work.

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Source: Agilesherpas and Coschedule

Agile marketing is just not about achieving operational excellence.

Truly agile marketing teams have the following characteristics. They -

  1. Use data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in near real time
  2. Get the teams to work together and deploy tests quickly
  3. Evaluate the results of every test. Fail fast. Fail cheap (This is an integral part of my personal work ethic)
  4. Rapidly iterate

Actionable Recommendations

Here are nine actionable recommendations to transform your current marketing processes to agile.

  1. Being cross-functional is essential for your processes to be Agile. Set up the core agile team with the following resources, with team leads and associates under them.
    • Scrum Master - Program Manager the one that drives the coordination between teams
    • Campaign Strategist
    • Media Expert
    • Social Media Lead
    • UX Lead
    • Designers
    • Copywriter
    • UI Developer
    • Analytics Lead
    • Tagging Developers
    • SEO Lead
  2. Establish alignment between marketing leaders and the agile team. Help the Scrum Master establish a relationship with the non-marketing teams such as IT, procurement, finance etc. to extend agility beyond the core team
  3. Map current analytical and technology abilities and augment those
  4. Analyze data and identify opportunities.
  5. Convert opportunities in to plans. Which segment do you want to target? Which journey do you want to create afresh? Which one you want to optimize? And so on
  6. Explain the strategy for achieving the goal in daily stand up meetings. Assign stakeholders, set expectations and align on TAT
  7. Keep track of the status of backlogs on every day's scrum meeting and provide visibility to key stakeholders
  8. Run tests and iterate ideas based on results
  9. Keep the morale of the team high by giving shout outs to standout performers / innovators once in a month

# 9. You don't experiment on your portal

I'm sure you are a creative marketer.

You understand the need for changing your portal elements to keep it fresh. Refer point #1 in the first part of this article.

You also attempt to provide personalized experiences to your audience, often.

However, have you ever checked your analytics reports at a micro-level to see whether your interventions have indeed achieved the expected results?

If yes, you would know that some of your interventions are super successful and some are not.

The ones that didn't produce the intended results are the ones that your audience didn’t like.

Can you afford to keep delivering communication that your audience dislikes?

Wouldn't it hurt their perception of your brand and prevent them from coming to your digital properties?

So, what do you need to do?

Simple! You need to test your intended changes on a sample audience before you roll out in entirety.

Sounds easy right? But not every brand does this simple thing consistently.

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Source: Widerfunnel State of Experimentation

The result? Heuristic interventions and unpredictable performances.

It's high time you moved away from such interventions.

Test every single intervention before a full-blown rollout.

This is where A/B testing and multivariate testing comes to your rescue.

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When I say A/B testing and multivariate testing, don't think these are restricted only to a banner or a call-to-action or a copy or a combination of these.

You can test entire experiences, journeys, business models (free shipping, discounts etc.), backend algorithms etc.

If experimentation is completely new to you, start with A/B testing.

Get familiar and then move on to slightly complex multivariate testing.

Remember the ability to scale experimentation is dependent on how well you ideate scenarios.

In fact, when you have a strong idea, it is very likely to be received well.

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Actionable Recommendations

Here are 9 actionable recommendations to get you started experimenting on your portal.

  1. Implement a testing platform that suits your needs and budget
  2. Identify / list down an audience pain point or an opportunity
  3. Formulate a hypothesis
  4. Determine sample size and audience segment, where possible
  5. Start testing the hypothesis on the test and control group
  6. Run tests until a statistical significance is reached
  7. Identify the champion variant and serve it to the rest of your audience.
  8. Repeat this on an ongoing basis for other experiments

# 10. Your design processes are NOT mobile first

Usage of mobiles for browsing websites is exploding. I know this sounds cliched.

But the truth is that your prospects and customers are playing hopscotch across channels.

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Source: Google's Mobile First Index

And mobile is a big factor here.

You have heard enough of responsive design and why it’s important for providing a good user experience.

You may have also revamped your website to make sure it’s responsive.

But do you think that just making your responsive will address the audience-shift in using mobiles for browsing websites?

Perhaps not!

In responsive design you first design for larger screens and then you adapt it for devices with smaller screens.

Whereas the mobile first design is completely the opposite.

Mobile first is the adaptation of an app-like user-interface, less text, larger fonts, fast download speed, video and audio, one call-to-action per page, short forms etc.

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Simply put, mobile first offers a much better user experience for users, when they browse through your website from mobile devices.

As mobile usage is exploding, the mobile user experience is something that you should really care about.

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Source: Bright Local, Thinkwithgoogle and UXcam

So am I saying that the mobile first design has to be implemented on all of your web pages?

Well! Not really!

In fact, the mobile-first approach is key for pages that are not heavily content oriented and have forms and other interactive elements.

For content heavy pages, the responsive design would do a lot of good.

Tip:

Don't stop after adopting a mobile first approach on your creative efforts and website.

Even when you create experiences for your future products, remember to build experiences for mobile users.

Actionable Recommendations

Here are 5 actionable recommendations to start becoming mobile first

  1. Make lists of your inventory i.e.) image, text, call-to-action etc. required for each page.
  2. Identify the most important content you want your users to see and place it at right places
  3. Remove all elements that are secondary and group them in to a hamburger menu
  4. Keep navigation simple. Key things to keep in mind.
    • Refrain from using desktop experiences like mouse-overs
    • Remember to adopt touch targets to accommodate finger sizes
    • Don't keep two touch targets close, like two call-to-actions
  5. Design with the smallest breakpoints and then scale up to accommodate larger devices
  6. Test on real devices and rollout

Summary

In this article, we have covered the processes and operations that transformation requires to make your digital presence contemporary.

Here is a summary of what you need to do at the operational level to transform your digital presence.

  1. Move away from operating your digital channels in siloes and instead take an integrated approach
  2. Start reusing your digital assets for maximum marketing velocity
  3. Implement agile processes on your digital presence management efforts
  4. Keep experimenting on your portal
  5. Adopt a mobile first approach. Start designing experiences for mobile followed by designing experiences for larger devices.

Well! That's all in this article. The last part of this series is on its way. Watch this space.