adaptMarketing has become ‘really’ digital in the last 20 years: we have email, search (SEO and SEA), social media and content marketing, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing and native advertising – all measurable, everything personal and individualized.

That seems to be good, but the fact is that we still stay behind the possibilities: content management systems are bulky, emails are not displayed on different devices as we like it, personalization is mostly limited to the salutation, and most B2B accounts in social media interact so intensely with customers as an advertising pillar.

Besides that, the colleagues in marketing are often still overwhelmed by the technology and rely on external agencies, the statistics are only looked at to justify the budget and nobody keeps an eye on the customer journey. There is a lack of strategy, clear personas, individualization and every shop looks the same. Is that the beautiful new digital world?

Clearly, there is still a lack of real understanding of digitization and digital transformation, since we continue to create most of the time generic leaflets and ads when trying to get attention, knowing that it will only reach the customer with some luck.

Where is the problem?

  • Technology: Today, tools are still so complicated that no one can build a website intuitively. Even the acclaimed WordPress is awkward and contains tons of useless code, search engine optimization (SEO) is a topic by itself and "individualization is often most frustrating.
  • Focus: Generally, we want the customer to buy what we produce - but this focus is wrong. Rather, we have to ask what the customer wants – or even better, what he needs or how we can solve a problem for him - and then create content that wows him. The art is to produce relevant, interesting and amusing (remember RIA) content. We have to stop to adapt the customer to the content. Instead, marketing must explore what’s on the customer’s mind. If we do it right, we understand the customer better than he does himself and can do more for him than he demands.

What is valuable?

How can we use digital to create more value for our customers? Do we improve a process, lower prices, make a product smarter, or develop completely new offerings?

Only if we really know the customer and his perspective, can we succeed in marketing. We need to know exactly where our company is placed in his world and where we want to stand. It's about three great perspectives a company needs to know: the internal, external and the customer perspective.

What role do we want to play for the customer and what do we need for that? Is the next question to answer that goes beyond products and services. We also need the right customer experience, which means more than a nice user interface, involving every customer interaction, from the contact on the phone to the second reminder.

The marketing of the future is building bridges and real relationships with customers. It affects the whole company and every department. And when it's audacious, it confidently makes clear to everyone that no business can exist without customers. Therefore, it is time to make the customer the highest authority. Only then we’ll stop selling products and start developing solutions that inspire – adapting to the requirements of the future.

By Daniela La Marca