Want to go Digital? Start Thinking About Platforms

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To enable a digital transformation within your organization, you must understand digital business channels. But one of the paradoxes of the digital age is that while there are more platforms than ever for businesses to connect with their customers, it is harder than ever to find them.

You want to connect with your customers but you don’t know who they are. More often than not, the customer is finding you. Maybe they’ll google your product or find you via some other third party site like Travelocity, Orbitz, or Kayak. If your customer comes through a 3rd party channel that you don’t have access to, then you don’t know who your direct customer is.

So what are you to do?

Fortunately, digital transformation has produced a new set of tools to enable businesses to discover where their customers are located, when they are buying, and through what channels they reached their website.

You need to build direct sales and marketing channels that generate relationships with these customers. A good CRM (customer relationship management) system will directly connect you with your customer.

One good approach to CRM, is to adopt a DMP (data management platform), which will help you manage and utilize your data. Deploying this information can enable you to connect with many customers that you were previously blind to. A DMP aggregates, analyzes, and displays your customer data for marketers who want to understand who’s buying their products. This is a treasure trove for building a targeted ad campaign and an inbound marketing strategy. You can use data to build a customer profile that you were previously unaware of.  

Platforms like a DMP are essential tools for extracting the data. Data is not an end in and of itself. Once you have it in your hands, you’ll need to interpret it in a way that tells a story about your customers’ behavior. Marketers, storytelling is a key feature of your job description. Great content tells a great story. Data should be part of your storytelling arsenal.  

In addition to DMPs, there are other modified direct channels to reach and engage with your customer. These channels can facilitate business model innovation and, potentially, vertical product integration.

By investing in these platforms, you’ll spend money in a smarter way. The analytics will tell you whether you are burning cash on a customer segment that isn’t spending in the way you thought or whether there’s a market that you didn’t even realize existed.

From data comes analytics, from analytics you derive insight, and from insight comes excellence. Once you have your insight, you be able to strategize a plan for growth and design to drive business value. The insights you’ll gain from integrating new platforms into your company are critical for future success

“Big data” is a buzzword in the digital transformation lexicon. Buried in the jargon, though, is real data--information that you can use for your next marketing campaign.

You’re going to need mine all the customer data that you can get. Luckily for you, there are ways to get it. Because at the end of the day, data is one of your best tools for finding current and new customer segments.

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