Digital transformation

“Digital Marketing” is a broad term… First Line Software’s Director of Digital Transformation, Igor Mavrin will show us how to get past abstract concepts to implementing real-world solutions.

The digital revolution or rather evolution that has swept the world of retail and marketing continues to develop almost faster than we can track it - new tools are constantly being introduced to address ever-changing consumer behavior patterns. In addition, trends that have existed for some time are amplified by the ever-present global pandemic. Most notably, more consumers are changing their habits in favor of e-commerce platforms, cementing the idea that online shopping is not a “trend” anymore, but a new normal.

Companies today strive to follow two global movements. The first is digitalization which encompasses the online transformation that “virtualizes business assets”; thereby fundamentally changing a business model’s response to market shifts. The second is the use of digital experience platforms aimed at hyper-personalization of customer relationships. In theory, these two trends complement each other: the customers’ needs dictate the product or service. Based on information received, companies can predict current and potential future customer preferences and respond to them quickly. As a result, with today’s sophisticated IT technologies, unique opportunities have appeared to address the needs of the modern consumer.

What Does Today’s Digital Marketing Look Like?

For the last 100 years, the work of classical marketing and its effectiveness required constant tweaking due to consumers collective immunity to any number of typical marketing models. Today's shoppers are looking for personalized offers tailored specifically to them. In response, brands are working to customize customer experiences based on individual preferences, interests, and behaviors using digital solutions such as machine learning. Success will come to those who are the first to integrate a data-centric approach into all of their key business processes. We are talking about the implementation of, Digital Experience Platforms. Once you establish the correct trajectory of your business priorities and support them with the appropriate “platform” tools, your organizations profitability can show immediate results. Retail chains, banks, and telecom operators are actively using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to update their own business and user experiences. This approach makes it possible to quickly improve the quality of customer service through hyper-personalization; promoting the feeling that the company understands what he or she wants and appreciates their needs.  In turn, this generates loyalty and trust on the part of the buyer… Bringing increased profits to you. 

How Does the Classic Marketing Model Differ from the Digital?

In the past, a technological lack of capabilities for processing large amounts of data in real time led to the fact that communication with consumers could not be conducted individually, but was done in relatively large groups. Marketers relied on the analysis of simplified customer behavioral patterns and combined them into clusters. However, errors in the assessment of factors influencing buyers’ decision-making were often encountered, usually after costly business decisions had already been made. Today, a better understanding of these factors accelerates the shift from mass communication to personalizing messages for one specific individual; this becomes possible only through Big Data and this approach is called, hyper-personalization.

Classic marketing built its communication with consumers when marketers formed a profile of a target audience, conditionally averaging the parameters that they thought motivated them to buy. The model has proven its worth, but in today’s reality it needs to evolve taking into account the habituation and immunity of society to established marketing methods, as mentioned above. Today, marketers and software developers nurture modern consumers loyalty and trust through the analysis of customer reactions in all possible communication channels, from social networks and personal mailings, to mobile applications where all the messaging is fully consistent with the needs and requirements of a specific customer. This increases the level of trust and thereby the willingness of the buyer to make repeat purchases, and perhaps most importantly – share this positive experience within their own social networks.

In a hyper-competitive online environment, brands are rethinking their multi-channel eCommerce strategies to keep pace with changing consumer behavior. The basic eCommerce paradigm is shifting to the Digital Experience Platform, which operates an increasingly complex and dynamic customer experience, spanning multiple touchpoints across all possible channels and devices.

Until only recently, when marketers tracked the behavioral patterns of those who are interested in a product based on their research, an understanding of the supposed target audience became formed. As an example let’s look at television advertising where the target audience is determined through the course of well-established marketing research.  Here we have a very wide audience, (a large percentage of which is our non-target audience), but everyone must watch the same very specific commercials. Remember how annoyed you are with advertising on TV or on YouTube that has nothing to do with you? This is due to the fact that not only a wide audience was chosen, but also a too wide channel of interaction with it. Hyper-personalization provides consumers with relevant ads, allowing marketers to determine which types of ads are appropriate for maximum impressions. Moreover, thanks to Big Data we have the opportunity not only to select a narrowly targeted target audience but also to optimize the channel and quickly adapt the message transmission format when a specific advertisement works (or doesn’t) for a targeted audience. This creates a more sustainable relationship with brands and provides value for the entire chain of interaction. The emergence of such a model makes it possible to focus on speaking with each buyer, which is now actively used in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector. 

The trick here is not only collecting the data on your target audience but knowing how to extract the relevant information to shape the content and message so that it resonates with a specific person. 

Where is Digital Marketing headed?

With the ever-evolving emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning, there is a continuous process of improving customer service. This technology allows us to organize the personalized experience that most buyers prefer. Digital communication channels, omnichannel, automation – these facets are all part our daily life. For example, the digital transformation of banks could not do without chat bots, the healthcare industry uses mobile devices in their daily work, and the retail industry gives us personalized promotions and even virtual trips to the store. These changes also herald the appearance and introduction of new platforms with open architectures which allows for an even greater possibility of technological innovations.  These new computing platforms facilitate manipulating Big Data tools for analyzing information about goods, customers, and seasonality of sales which makes it possible to receive up-to-date analytics in real-time and respond just as quickly to changes in the business environment. As Digital Experience innovators, First Line Software has implemented highly effective platforms to support omnichannel sales and one of our flagship products is a multistage solution for interacting with Lenta's customers.

Today’s evolution of multiple consumer channels and the emergence of personalized digital marketing models gives rise to the dynamic tracking of consumer behavior and targeted advertising down to the individual. This moves in lockstep with the rate of product change to match the vagaries of consumption.  All of this points us to a future of Digital Marketing that moves us smoothly into the era of Agile marketing models, and fast-living product marketing solutions.

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