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The key to digital success is ‘evolution’ not ‘transformation’

Date posted: 18 February 2015   |   Posted in: Blog

Why do so many digital marketing agencies, and clients for that matter, continue to view ‘digital’ as a series of disparate products that can be bolted together and not supported by internal training?

 In an era where digital permeates virtually every part of an organization (in many cases making long-standing business models instantly out of date), surely it’s an agency’s role to help clients evolve their capability over time – not to deliver a quick fix?

Here are five examples of ways in which I believe the role of a digital agency has fundamentally changed in recent years:

1. The CMS is dead, long live experience platforms

Some major advances are happening with regards to customer experience management, driven by the continued diversification of devices and the hyper connected consumer.

 Disjointed marketing tools are being superceded by platform agnostic hubs that bring customer experience management under a single point of control across the whole business (plus enable more personalised content and a much more interactive consumer experience). Having already delivered a number of Sitecore platforms, we’re particularly excited about this year’s major Sitecore8 upgrade, which will open up a raft of new possibilities to clients.

A shift to customer experience platforms is all about continually developing a business’ capability using these solutions, a journey of steady evolution.  

2. Evolution not revolution as standard

In recent years, it has been fashionable to talk about the digital ‘transformation’ of businesses, which, in practice, is painful, costly and forces change at a pace that could easily disrupt operations.  Evolution will supercede transformation and brands who’ve invested in the right platform won’t need to re-platform again but can successfully evolve using their existing technologies.

We will see a significant shift in an agency’s role to not only deliver strategy, clever solutions and the ‘big idea’, but to support internal digital teams’ capabilities to ensure continued adoption, adaptation and growth. This is already something Code has embraced through our talent division, where we train internal teams to be self-sufficient, allowing for a next phase of growth and evolution, where we lead and focus on the ‘added value’ and innovation on top of what internal teams can do.

3. Winning the content battle    

Content is progressively more vital in digital ‘performance’.  But this is about developing capability too. Effective digital content requires a melding of digital skillsets that I don’t believe we’ve seen yet in PR or SEO agencies.

It needs digital strategists to ensure a content strategy is based on strong insight into the target audiences and their digital needs; copywriters experienced in writing across digital platforms; SEO specialists who understand the way in which content can impact on search; digital creatives; production capability to ensure the content is presented in the best way possible from mobiles to desktop; and it needs UX and persuasion specialists to create content that’s not just ‘fluff’ but drives a consumer response to buy, share, or recommend. 

Delivering content derived from digital insight and using platforms with the capability to evolve and grow with their audiences over time is where I feel digital agencies can make its case to be the ones to deliver content strategies for clients.

4. Mobile capability

It’s shocking that the standard approach to mobile design and development is still to design the “full size” desktop site and degrade down to tablet and mobile.

Mobile First (when applied correctly) represents a fundamental shift in the web design and development process.  Perhaps this is why so many suppliers still not really getting it.

Mobile First is often misinterpreted and considered as prioritising mobile design above desktop.  This is incorrect. Mobile First is a progressive design approach, which begins with understanding real content priorities for users and designing an experience to present prioritised content on a small screen device first, then building on and enhancing that experience to work on more devices with greater capabilities (such as larger screen size, touch, geo-location). 

The approach is designed to be device agnostic, with a focus on a single, seamless experience for end users, designing for their content needs and a business’ priorities.

5. Watch out for wearables

With so much talk around the Apple Watch and other new smart devices hitting UK stores, we will undoubtedly see a surge of creativity on these platforms as brands look to get ahead and deliver innovative solutions to attract, acquire, engage, and retain consumers.

I expect brands within the health, sporting and home sectors to continue to be some of the front-runners on these platforms along with retail brands who will embrace the opportunities for mobile payment, personalised location based messaging and in-store communications and navigation. Devices are also likely to be used by customer facing staff to enhance customer service and the merging of physical and digital retail environments.   

In summary, the new reality for digital agencies is that they must work in partnership with clients to evolve their digital capability, supporting them on a journey of continual improvement and evolution. The days of the isolated quick-fix are well and truly over.

Tony Foggett is chief executive officer of Code Computerlove


Source: Drum

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