Why brands are rethinking digital marketing following Covid-19

It’s fair to say that last year saw one of, if not the biggest, shift in online shopping the Australian market has ever seen. Thousands of new customers entered the fray, as did brands that hadn’t properly entered the world of e-commerce until a global pandemic forced their hand. 

And as more customers and retailers join the online shopping boom, the e-commerce space in Australia gets more crowded and brands need to do more in order to stand out and connect.

“I think everyone is aware that they’re having to transform the way they do business to make sure that digital channels get the focus that they need,” said digital marketing technology firm Datisan’s chief executive officer and co-founder Chris Rozic.

“It’s driven a level of digital maturity, whether brands have liked it or not.”

So, how can retail brands reach their customers in an increasingly crowded room?

Datisan released its annual Digital Marketing Maturity Growth Report in February this year, and found that while the pandemic was a big driver of digital change in 2020, it also saw a number of opportunities for brands in terms of how they deal with customers online – and has even made some brands rethink how advanced their digital offering really was. 

Make it personal

For example, the report found that despite the increasing amount of data points available to retail brands as customers increasingly interact with them online, this data isn’t necessarily being leveraged effectively to create more relevant and personalised experiences for their customers and prospects. And, even when content is personalised, it may not be reaching the intended audiences. 

Only 4.5 per cent of respondents said they have an active personalisation strategy for customers, while notably 34 per cent send blanket communications and had no existing framework to deliver personalised content via any online channel.

And, with retail brands in particular, 30 per cent of retailers aren’t using first-party data consistently to properly customise their messaging – something that within the scope of digital marketing maturity can provide cost savings of up to 30 per cent, and see revenue jump as much as 20 per cent, according to the report.  

“Delivering personalised experiences starts with gaining an in-depth understanding of your customer base and the segments that make it up, we’re seeing a lot of brands face challenges because the amount of data points are so vast – identifying the most valuable data points is the trick ” Datisan’s head of business development Mike Cornwell said. 

“There needs to be a greater understanding of what audiences are unique to a particular brand, and then a whole of business strategy to tailor the experience and implement a proper test-and-learn approach in order to see what works and what doesn’t.”

With third-party data sharing becoming more difficult, businesses should be focusing on collecting and consolidating their own first-party data and utilising it to reach out to their customers with personalised marketing. 

This gets difficult, however, when only 39 per cent of the report’s retail respondents currently have a way to link online and offline customer data to their digital marketing capabilities. 

“First party data is your business’s biggest asset, and represents an opportunity for your business to build a unique customer experience,” Rozic said. 

“By unlocking this value, the impending loss of the third party cookies has less impact, when you’re leveraging your biggest asset the right way.”

Businesses reassess effectiveness of their digital efforts

The report also added that, as more and more customers began living their lives primarily online, with most people forced to work from home for an extended period of 2020, many brands realised that the complexity and efficiency of their digital marketing wasn’t as mature as they thought.

According to the data put forward by Datisan, all four grades of the ‘digital marketing maturity index’ (as created by Google) scored lower than the year prior, on average down by 25 per cent.  This showed that brands that thought themselves to have a good digital marketing maturity and high business confidence in 2019 but were more uncertain about their strategy effectiveness during the pandemic. 

“Obviously in 2020, digital robustness was pressure tested in a way it hadn’t been before. There were a lot of organisations that recognised opportunities to improve. On the other hand, brands who had invested in this space pre-pandemic found themselves with a clear competitive advantage” Cornwell said.

Rozic added, “last year showed everyone just how important it is to have confidence in your data and analytics. A lot of brands acknowledged that there are some gaps, some room for improvement in the way they present themselves digitally. 

“And it has prompted conversations around how digital marketing strategies can be more watertight moving forward, ensuring that as uncertainty continues, brands can rely on their digital strategies as a way to continue connecting with customers, while still seeing positive impacts in revenue.”

In order to better understand the impact of digital marketing maturity on the retail industry, visit Datisan’s website, download a copy of their latest Digital Marketing Maturity Growth Report, or reach out to Datisan directly at [email protected]

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