Small medium businesses (SMBs) face both threat and opportunity as technology is increasingly adopted to streamline processes and reduce costs. Businesses of all sizes must understand the key trends and develop a roadmap to adapt to the inevitable wave of change that is coming. While large businesses are currently leading the charge, SMBs can accelerate growth, optimise operations and create value throughout their organisations if they evolve with the opportunities which technology is enabling them with.
SMBs are the cornerstone of national economies around the world, including the UK's. It is inescapable these companies have a crucial role to play in delivering quality services to consumers. By using data to their advantage, SMBs can adopt the same practices as their larger peers to stay ahead. The future outcome of small businesses relying on digital marketing will depend on the way they use their data and cloud services to enable personalisation for their customers. Small businesses need to adopt a digital transformation strategy, harnessing the power of data with their strengths, if they want to remain competitive when marketing against their larger peers.
Trends led by large businesses and the challenges SMBs face to keep up
Global technology players like Google are transforming the culture of retailers and consumers as they reshape marketing services. To overcome challenges and compete with large businesses, smaller scale organisations must understand the importance of personalisation. In today’s economy, data is the most valuable asset and those who can use analytics to derive insights about their customers will always have a competitive advantage.
Personalisation delivers an engaging experience to a specific consumer. It spans websites, e-mail, smartphones and tablets. Organisations need to use data to create an ever deepening understanding of their customers, and simultaneously measure everything to deliver personalisation. The use of data to drive decisions and personalise conversations can happen in small and large organisations alike. Success for SMBs is about having the same deep understanding of customers as bigger players in the market.
Retailers, such as Amazon, have mastered this challenge. The success of Amazon Prime Day is in large part due to the way Amazon uses data-led insights driven by artificial intelligence. Amazon has combined data and analytics with their insights resulting in industry-leading personalisation, which keep consumers engaged for longer periods with a constant feed of suggestions specific to the individual. Digital transformation is no longer just a trend; it is a differentiator which determines a retailer’s strategy both online and on the high street.
The role of data and analytics in digital marketing
Marketing channels are constantly evolving. Digital marketers should create, manage, deliver, and personalise content across channels. They need to move from focusing on having a digital presence, to creating engaging and efficient customer experiences across digital channels. This can only be done if SMBs utilise the data they have to standardise their digital marketing ecosystem to keep up with their competitors.
The role of data and analytics in digital marketing is to drive greater growth efficiency and innovation. By creating data lakes and using intelligent, self-learning analytic systems, companies can make fast, evidence-based decisions, deliver targeted digital solutions and stay ahead of competitors. The end goal is for organisations to develop a unified digital marketing platform.
How quickly companies can gain new insights, make decisions and arrive at outcomes can make the difference between winners and losers. To gain a competitive advantage, organisations can implement data analytics tools to accelerate the insight process and simplify IT complexity.
The opportunities available to SMBs via digital transformation
If SMBs are able to develop a unified service model for seamless service orchestration and cost optimisation they will be able to potentially remain competitive when marketing against larger peers and drive growth in their customer base. They already have an advantage when it comes to forming closer relationships with their customers. They have the data to determine exactly who their customers are and what they want - digital transformation only strengthens these opportunities by enabling SMBs to use their data more strategically.
Large businesses currently have the advantage of setting out the best practice approach but SMBs have the advantage of learning from them and bettering their processes. Success for the future of personalisation will be about a deep understanding of customers, and an ability to communicate a relevant message. SMBs can use their data to increase engagement, champion brand loyalty and using marketing to go beyond traditional methods.
Businesses may find they have moved to fully automated, data-driven processes which create individualised contact strategies for each customer, but when businesses are able to identify key needs for those customers through their data, and then create tailored messaging to speak to those needs, then they will truly excel.
Written by By Anshuman Singh, Vice President of Digital Business at Mindtree Europe
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