Paul Fervoy

Where should I consider digitizing the company?

In 1954 Peter Drucker published “The Practice of Management” in which he stated that companies have only two functions: marketing and innovation. By this he meant that everything else is detail. In this scenario, marketing is the process of creating value for our customers today and innovation is the process of ensuring that we continue to bring value tomorrow. Companies are then organizational systems created to create value today and continue to do so tomorrow.

Digital technology or “digitalization” applied to marketing is the use of digital tools, techniques and tactics to create value for consumers. Digital tools today are fulfilling their promise to create value as companies leverage them to listen to what the market demands and make it easier for us to talk about between the company and the market. Listen and talk. It urges the conversation about self-prevention.

Listening and Talking

Companies listen to the market as we apply digital tools to capture and analyze their use of our websites, mobile apps, and social profiles. We listen to the extent that we capture and analyze the keywords they use to refer to us and the topics of conversation and feedback users make about our companies and brands. In digital channels we also listen to our competitors in their social profiles and topics of interest to our markets through online groups and forums.

We talk to the market to persuade consumers to prefer us by offering them promotions and discounts or by offering them arguments in favor of our advantages and qualities. We talk to the market when we create content through videos, blog posts and posts on social profiles and, yes indeed, also with ads and advertising. We also talk to the market when we support potential or current customers through online assistance with chats and call centers or with documentation, databases or support systems.

However, because of the two-way nature of the digital channel, it is not enough to speak without first hearing, nor to listen without interest or intention to participate in the conversation.

Automation in marketing

Enter automation as a tool in your digital arsenal. Automation allows an “active listening” where the digital tool listens and interprets what is heard and translates it into one or more automatic actions. This encourages starting a conversation according to the feeling, urgency and topics reflected by the client.

For example, the next time someone posts a complaint or problem with your product or service in an online public space, you look for the automation tool to notice, interpret the tone and topic, and respond with a message that reflects your concern and instructs you to follow to resolve it. A support or customer service person is immediately notified of the situation to take matters in the matter and continue the conversation.

Start with the human

I recently had the opportunity to advise a company with a chain of branches in the financial sector. The company had its branches well mapped digitally and customers frequently used their profiles to comment on and evaluate each branch. Most of the comments were about various frustrations and complaints with the company and the reviews (“stars”) they received gave a note, say, mediocre.

The company was a little haunted by this situation. Instead of feeling that branch digital profiles supported positioning the company, they felt that they might devalue it. We apply automation to collect, interpret and thematicize complaints so that the company can attend to them. This process, however, resulted in little improvement in the average assessment of its branches. It seemed that customers saw the social profile as space to vent and find other people with similar experiences. We wondered if there would be a way for people to use these spaces to share their feedback and reviews when they were happy.

And that’s how the situation changed. The company staff were trained at the branches to ask the customers who visited them to submit their feedback and evaluation through the branch’s social profile. Customers were very enthusiastic about the task. In less than two months they collected more than 3,000 customer reviews and reviews mostly happy with the company. Soon the profiles were filled with comments of thanks, happiness and “5-stars”. This digital footprint of happiness was born from good experiences among people.

Digital Marketing is a scaffold that allows you to build conditions for a value exchange with the market. Automation is a tool that allows you to fulfill this promise.

Paul Fervoy
VP Services and Solutions


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