Old Keywords, new meanings | Part 2: Digital Transformation
The Internet has changed everything. We expect to know everything instantly. If you don’t understand digital marketing, you’re at a disadvantage. — Bob Parsons
Parsons’ statement is now acquired knowledge and assimilated by all. In the last 40 years, the world has changed at a speed unaccountable to any other period in history. The evolution of technology has created the digital industry and marketing has adapted or at times led the way.
The goal is to communicate, promote, enhance; but the tools and techniques to be used are constantly changing, as much as the new versions of PCs, tablets and smartphones.
And how have companies responded?
For years CEOs and board members didn’t have direct access to IT tools, because they delegated these aspects to very efficient secretaries who were responsible for organizing spreadsheets, reports, powerpoint presentations, etc.
But then everything changed. Digital is first and foremost a way of thinking about business and achieving strategic brand objectives. It is not just about technology and cannot be relegated to just one aspect of the business, but must start from the business objectives and cover all processes in a systematic way, from marketing activities to online presence, lead generation, production processes, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
But digital only works if all stakeholders are ready to embrace it: management, workers, institutions, suppliers and consumers. The OECD in its report* collected data on the benefits and risks of digitization, first creating a mapping of risks and benefits.
Among the benefits:
1. free access to information
2. the availability of a wider choice of consumer goods
3. the gains in efficiency and productivity.
Among the risks:
1. different access options and capabilities to make use of them
2. the limited ability to navigate the digital space safely
3. theft of private data and cybercrime.
In this scenario, SMEs have sometimes suffered the most from this revolution, due to lack of funds to invest in a 360° and long-term development, sometimes focusing only on web marketing and neglecting the rest of digital technologies.
Finally, digitalization is a must, but there is no single model applicable to all. Each company must identify and build its own Brand Identity, which must be enhanced by delving into new technologies, properly training its employees and comparing itself externally with the best practices, with a spirit of collaboration and continuous digital transformation and with the aim of defining a profitable and lasting Marketing Strategy.
The purpose of setting communication principles is to build an effective digital workplace where collaboration and sharing are the norms. — Pearl Zhu
*OECD Economic Studies: Italy 2021, OECD Publishing Paris.