Digital transformation. A trending phrase for the last two years. Why? Because the world learned from the crisis caused by the pandemic. The way of working for a large number of businesses, if not all, simply must be digitized.
But what does digital transformation mean and have we really succeeded in fully and effectively digitizing ourselves? One theory is that digital transformation is the adoption of digital technologies by a company to improve efficiency, increase value, and innovate.
Others argue that digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new – or modify existing – business processes, culture, and user experiences to meet new market demands.
Where are we locally concerning these major, global, tectonic shifts? Personally, I think that quite a few businesses relatively quickly saw the opportunity to try to adapt at least part of their business to the digital world, some managed to build a fully digital presence and explode online, while others missed the train and remained in traditional business, although they managed to roll out online solutions quite quickly.
Who has adapted the best?
The most successful were definitely the food delivery services. The biggest and most established continued to grow and develop. The newcomers who saw a hole in the market played smart and launched parts of their online products and services one by one. Even the latecomers were successful enough to take a piece of the pie because the market is not yet saturated.
Here, of course, we must also mention the laboratories that responded quickly with successful online platforms integrated with their internal software where end-users could very easily schedule a test appointment and easily and quickly download the results electronically. Undoubtedly, there are also banks, telecommunication operators, and public supply companies, which with their electronic services managed to reduce the queues in front of the counters and reduce their costs.
Other businesses also found their way
E-retailers have successfully existed before, but the pandemic definitely managed to give them a “nitro boost” in demand, while also forcing large retailers who had an aversion to online sales to adapt in a short period.
Supermarkets partially adapted. Some decided to enter the online segment with a large investment. Some made additional investments. Others just watched silently and were not particularly worried.
The biggest challenge was faced by those manufacturers who dominated the HORECA segment for years. Most of their income depended on catering facilities and high margins. Here, the coffee producers and distributors who took full advantage of the pandemic to change our coffee consumption habits proved to be the most agile, The beer and wine industry, which always had the largest percentage of investments in the trade marketing segment, went through the most painful process.
Having all the examples from the domestic scene, the question arises – how to measure the success of digital transformation? What actually makes a brand successful online? Success is really a mix of several things.
Brand awareness definitely comes first. Those businesses that have managed to build recognition of their brand where it is associated with a specific digital service have undoubtedly managed to achieve great success in a short time.
All businesses have moved online, but most have not grasped the big picture. Some hit hard on so-called “performance marketing” where the emphasis is on getting as much traffic as possible to websites that sell something. Others hit aggressively advertising what they offer without managing to build awareness of their brand.
What’s a digital business (or business segment) if you don’t have a good user experience? Design is no longer just a field where we follow trends and make something look nice to the eye. User experience (UX) has been a whole science for a long time. It has its roots in business analysis, psychology, and of course marketing strategy, and a part in software architecture.
Integrations between digital channels, websites, and inventory/customer relationship software are perhaps the most important parts of the overall customer experience. They provide a great opportunity for businesses to easily, quickly, and without room for human error guide the customer through their online ecosystem and successfully close the process.
The future of digital transformation
But where are the consumers here and what is the future of digital transformation? Can there be a digital transformation without knowing exactly who our ideal consumers are? Without knowing how to address them?
The generation born after the Second World War or the so-called “boomers” get by with digital channels, but they do not have much confidence in them. They are the ones who want to physically go to a bank, post office, store, or anywhere. They want to see and touch a product, save a printed receipt, and have a chat before making a decision. Businesses have long known how to reach them across all channels.
This generation is more digitally literate. They want both offline and online communication. They shop both in physical locations and online, but they do not feel secure in the future. Brands have long worked to capture their attention and look to tailor communication to their needs.
Millennials are a generation that has been talked about a lot for years as the new misunderstood progressive youth. While talking about them we realized that they are no longer children either (the youngest are 25 years old and the oldest 40). They are the most active and numerous on the internet. Their expectations of digital services are at an all-time high. With them, there is no more room for improvisation. Every glitch of a certain brand in the ecosystem of the digital experience is an opportunity for a yellow card, if not a red card from these end users. They understand social media particularly well and punish brands that merely adapt offline content for online needs.
And what is digital transformation if we don’t understand the needs of Generation Z? Do the local, regional, and global brands operating here know that these young people have completely different interests and needs? That they are born with technology in their hands and are not impressed by what brands serve them, but expect brands to adapt to their needs. The world’s biggest marketing giants are changing their branding to appeal to the new girls and boys on the scene. Because they know that brand loyalty costs a lot more today than it ever did.
Do we know what we will do when digital channels will no longer “sell” so much, so we will have to rely on relevant digital personas who, over time, will not be so much “influencers” as they will be genius creators of digital content?
The future is for us to continue growing and developing as global and local trends develop. But, also as the communication channels and those we address evolve. As long as we follow what is happening, both us, as marketing specialists, and the companies through their brands, we will not have a problem with our consumers. For everything else, there is __________ (insert successful brand name here, and all of the above should be clear to you).