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Digital 2020 – How can you prepare for it?

Digital Media is ever changing, ever improving.

At Adtech this year, as gold sponsors, our goal was to demystify the future of digital, or in other words, “Digital 2020” and what it means for marketers and brands alike. Our mixed reality booth was an eye-opener for many marketers and if you too are wondering where and how to begin your Digital 2020 journey, here are a few starting points:

Establish a multi-channel presence:

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2016, the top channels to the customer in 2020 will be social media (63% of respondents), the World Wide Web (53%), mobile apps (47%) and mobile web (46%). As such, brands need to strengthen their presence across these channels and those who have yet not taken the leap should do so rightaway.

Adopt a data-first marketing approach:

Big data anlytics is what will drive customer experience and customer retention. Start understanding your customer, their purchase history, preferences and desires, with information about his/her present and potential value to a brand to be able to connect with them better and deliver and earn better value.

Unilever partnered with Google to analyse over 11bn global online searches happening each year related to salon styling and hair care. This anonymous search data was then used to develop specific content for an online video channel called All Things Hair. The Google search data helped to derive the hair-related questions people wanted to ask. From there, native content was developed to reach and engage the target audience. People could now find tutorials and the products they need to make the newest hairstyles on a bespoke YouTube channel.

Personalize your communication at scale:

It’s not about marketing to a customer anymore, it’s going to be more about influencing the customer in an environment where he/ she is already aware about your brand. As Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase aptly puts it,”Achieving personalisation at scale is the biggest and most important challenge for us to get right”.
DBS leveraged on trending topics on YouTube and conceptualized a video series with an Internet celebrity, thus integrating contextual pre-rolls with brand and product messaging in an interesting manner.

Think beyond the norm to enhance customer experience (3D printing, AR, VR)

VR and AR are no longer mere gimmicks. With the technology becoming cost effective, Mixed Reality is now emerging as a new medium and the possibilities are simply endless. Brands who manage to create seamless, integrated and immersive experiences using these technologies will be able to retain mindspace and also create lasting impact among customers.

Watch this video to see how E-Bay Australia used VR to create the World’s first virtual reality department store:

Another example of enhanced customer experience is Oreo. The brand used 3D printing at SXSW to print the fillings of individual cookies based on real-time trending topics on Twitter.

Closer home, Apollo Tyres is using AR to showcase the partnership between the brand and Manchester United. The brand is coming up with a first of it’s kind augmented reality based mobile application which lets you scan the Apollo logo with your camera phone, so you can take control of the football, as you swipe it to motion to unlock Manchester United jerseys. With every unlocked jersey, the player moves one step ahead to win a signed jersey by the Reds.

Test and build integrated interfaces:

By 2020, marketing systems will no longer work in isolation. While few brands are making moves towards ensuring online speaks to offline, they are largely within the infrastructure of the brand’s internal systems. The move is soon going to be towards integrating approaches such that internal systems (brand owned) speak to external systems (stakeholder owned) and help deliver the best value to a customer.

Merck, one of the global leaders in fertility, is working towards a unique initiative of bridging the gap between IVF clinics and patients in a country like India which is laden with social stigma w.r.t. IVF. The uniqueness lies in terms of building domain awareness to a nichely targetted audience (demographics, geography, psychographics and lifestyle)  – about IVF via a website, integrated with an anonymous chat functionality and then encouraging people to reach out to clinics and find a solution. After a successful pilot in Mumbai, the project is now being rolled out to other cities.

These are just a glimpse into what is happening today and how brands are moving towards Digital 2020. However, merely glimpsing is not going to help – inaction doesn’t create progress, action does. So, if you’re not sure of the outcome, then it’s even more important to execute that digital campaign. This is because doing it once will ensure you learn what works and what doesn’t.

Our CEO, Rajiv Dingra sums it up best, “The cost of failure of a digital campaign today is negligible compared to what it will cost three to four years from now. Too many brands sit on the fence hoping their competitor does something first so that they can see if it succeeds and then try and do the same and avoid their mistakes. That ‘me too’ strategy rarely builds brand equity. There is value in being innovative even at the cost of failure as it only enables you to be better at innovation the next time.”

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