The framework to achieve tech maturity
Guide to the digital growth of small businesses (second part)
In the previous blog post, we explored the journey toward digital maturity, which encompasses four distinct stages of evolution. Each stage is characterized by specific aspects that, when strategically analyzed, enable us to gain awareness of our current state and devise the necessary steps for progression.
Today, we will concentrate on a pivotal aspect of this topic: technology.
Gaining awareness of one’s digital assets and comprehending how to implement and harness creativity, media, and data are essential initial steps for a company to embark on the journey toward digital maturity. This objective is one that all brands aspire to, or at the very least, should aspire to.
One’s technology stack, often seen as an area to address once digital maturity is already achieved, is, in fact, the next starting point. This is because digital maturity in terms of media cannot be reached without technological maturity. In fact, it is technology that enables the media aspect to be sophisticated and advanced. There is a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between these two elements.
Achieving digital and technological maturity entails more than simply adopting new technologies. It involves comprehending which technologies to embrace and effectively leveraging them to ensure seamless integration both among different technologies and within existing marketing strategies. Although residing in a highly developed digital landscape, numerous brands and agencies still fail to fully exploit the potential of technology and digital platforms. As a result, they miss out on opportunities to enhance their results and maintain competitiveness in an ever-evolving market.
The key elements to achieve this outcome are primarily centered around investing in training and development, acquiring specialized skills, and collaborating closely with competent technology partners who share the same approach. Innovation within the digital realm is a rapidly evolving process, making it impractical to be fully up to date at all times.
By following a gradual path of adopting and integrating available technologies (ranging from CRMs and DSPs to analytics platforms), attaining complete technological maturity becomes not only feasible but also imperative and attainable for all.
THE PATH TO ACHIEVING TECH MATURITY
By beginning with an analysis of these three keys, it becomes possible to comprehend the stage of technological maturity within one’s company. Let’s examine the four stages, emphasizing the tech aspect exclusively (as the previous blog post provides a broader description of the four stages):
Nascent: As previously mentioned, this is the initial phase where the company falls into one of these three scenarios: no technological environment, a partial and non-optimized tech environment, or an existing tech environment that is not managed internally. In each case, there is a complete or partial lack of data measurement and control. This translates into an inability to understand the factors that contribute to success or failure in ongoing activities and, consequently, an inability to optimize and improve results.
Emerging: In this phase, the company starts gaining familiarity with available platforms and technologies. Not all functionalities are utilized or fully integrated yet. The company begins to gain greater control over its advertising and marketing activities.
At this stage, the “starter pack” of tools and platforms includes Google Performance Max campaigns, social media platforms, Analytics, Ad Serving, tagging, attribution models, and CRMs. Improvements in overall results are already evident at this stage, which motivates the continuation of the journey.
Connected: This phase represents a true evolution in the company’s maturity journey, characterized by advanced automation in campaign management and the presence of business intelligence. Having reached a higher level of maturity, the company utilizes its proprietary Ad Server, Search Ads 360, and DV360 to optimize the performance of advertising campaigns.
A fundamental aspect is the reclaiming of data and advertising spend through the implementation of a proprietary DSP, which, however, needs to be managed by a specialized agency. Additionally, the company creates its own DMP, enabling the direct management of first-party data and campaigns, resulting in increased efficiency and precision in marketing activities.
When the company is in this phase, it uses its advanced dashboard to monitor not only campaign performance but also customer and market data. It is indeed a significant milestone, but there is still another step.
Multi-moment: We reach the peak of technological maturity, where the brand harnesses the power of the Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and CDP to gather all available data, both online and offline. Through these advanced tools, it can create highly sophisticated user journey activations, leading to evolved KPIs such as LTV (Lifetime Value), churn rate, and so on. In this phase, the brand employs an advanced and data-driven attribution model where data is native and integrated. It goes beyond simple cookie usage for data management and adopts a prospecting and prediction strategy based on various signals unrelated to cookies. All data converges in the cloud, enabling total automation with advanced predictive models. The dashboard becomes an extremely effective insight tool, with an evolution of KPIs and the use of highly sophisticated econometric metrics.
FROM CURRENT STATE TO TECHNOLOGICAL MATURITY: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR BRANDS
In the previous blog post, we examined the case of a fashion brand that embarked on a digital maturity journey with our assistance. Through the assessment, we determined that the brand was in the Nascent phase at the outset. After nearly six months of collaborative work, we have progressed to the Emergent phase and are now aiming to reach the fully Connected phase by the end of 2023, which will serve as our new starting point. We will analyze the technological perspective of this digital maturity journey by focusing on the aspects and actions taken within their technology stack.
At the beginning of the digital maturity journey, the brand had a situation characterized by the presence of some assets but disorganized and not optimized, and the absence of others. Additionally, data and contacts were not segmented, analyzed, or utilized due to their poor quality. In order to achieve the goal of complete integration and internalization, we developed a plan to develop and optimize existing resources, complemented by additional preparatory and subsequent additions. In the infographic below, we can see a summary of the main steps in this plan:
The project is still in progress, and after initial months of collaboration, we have already observed tangible results. Our efforts have led to improvements in data quality and yielded positive numerical outcomes in terms of website visits, sales, and revenue. These achievements demonstrate that our journey towards digital maturity is propelling the brand to new levels of growth and resource awareness, facilitated by the integration of various tools and platforms.
Many companies mistakenly assume that implementing technology effectively requires substantial budgets. While this may hold true for reaching the Multi-moment phase, medium-sized brands can aspire to achieve digital and technological connectivity by carefully selecting and utilizing appropriate platforms and embracing a data-driven approach. Once they reach the Connected phase, the subsequent steps are not as financially demanding. Following this path paves the way for long-term success.