Three simple steps to digital marketing success

In a digitally driven world, it’s a challenge to keep up with new technologies, platforms, and trends that change at a rapid speed.

This era of digital transformation has introduced a new approach where it is not just the IT department ensuring systems serve the evolving customer landscape. One department more than embracing this opportunity is the marketing team. Gartner predicts that by 2017, the CMO will actually spend more on IT investments than the CIO as marketing drives more technology decisions.

WP Engine therefore took a closer look into what is driving today’s CMOs and how technology will shape the marketing department in the coming year.

Ultimately there are three key insights that demonstrate how successful marketers are leading the way:

Stay savvy

Today’s senior marketers know what they want. They’re dialed into the latest resources, practices and future trends, they are well equipped when it comes to embracing technological change.

The overall landscape has shifted, and the marketing function is rolling out integrated marketing activities that intertwine both digital and traditional methods. Most recognise that an effective, integrated, and measurable digital marketing strategy is critical to deliver a relevant and seamless experience to customers. And underpinning this strategy sits a variety of digital platforms operating the cogs of a successful campaign.

A staggering 85 per cent of CMOs surveyed are confident digital platforms already in place are fit for purpose and will support their future marketing and wider business objectives. Yet, with new innovations and challenges along the way, there is no room for brands to sit still.

Senior marketers understand the importance of digital to the wider business goals and challenges. Typical drivers to digital change include: measurement (21 per cent), new projects (21 per cent), demand generation (37 per cent), brand (47 per cent) or technical (32 per cent) refreshes, sales goals (50 per cent) and above all, enhancing customer experience (53 per cent). And the key to achieving these businesses objectives in the year ahead? According to 89 per cent of CMOs, this can only be realised if secure, scalable digital platforms are in place.

Simplicity is key

Regardless of whether you’re adopting a digital marketing strategy for brand awareness, demand generation or sales, the opportunities are a plenty. The challenge today is how to prioritise investments in technology to achieve the best outcomes. Ensuring you’ve selected the right digital platform is key, particularly considering that the marketing department itself is increasingly complex.

Yet amidst the sea of new, exciting technologies and the vast potential for big data, the study also found that UK marketers actually want to get back to basics. Platforms need simple integration, simple management and the ability to measure performance impact to the businesses in the shortest time possible, allowing all employees to be able to manage and report on a website’s performance, regardless of technical ability.

Above all, ease of integration is the principle concern or challenge when introducing a new digital platform. This is increasingly important as employees use tools they have grown accustomed to, so a company can’t simply disconnect their existing technology and start again each time a new solution presents itself.

Though a variety of factors remain firmly on the agenda - such as pricing (46 per cent), market share (38 per cent), and security (31 per cent) - the majority of respondents ranked the simplicity of integration (65 per cent) as a priority.

Take a brand’s website. This is central to the analytics, digital and mobile changes that allow for digital opportunities. Often CMOs will need to integrate multiple sites – such as corporate sites, microsites and intranets – which is vital to marketing performance.

Time is of the essence

In an increasingly competitive environment, marketers want digital platforms that will realise their full potential in the shortest time possible. According to the study, 76 per cent of CMOs want to accomplish changes to digital platforms within the next 12 months, and 20 per cent intend to make these changes immediately.

It’s clear that the year ahead promises constant re-evaluation of platforms, tools and partners to ensure marketers are getting the most out of their campaigns.

Digital technology has opened up many doors for marketers to drive their business forward. They are wise to place such importance on the value of digital platforms, and understand what they want to deliver against the wider corporate goals.

Yet with such opportunity and new routes to customer engagement, the playing field becomes increasingly complex. CMOs are therefore challenged with tackling the obstacles and opportunities to define their winning digital strategy. With speed and simplicity on their side, these marketers will lead the way into a digital future.

Fabio Torlini, MD EMEA, WP Engine