Note: This is the fourth blog post in our series about the five stages of digital marketing maturity that most businesses fall into. If you haven’t read the first three blog posts in the series, you may want to check those out first. Here are the first, second, third, fifth and sixth blog posts in the series.
Have you ever stared into one of those Magic Eye pictures? You stare at the abstract and colorful array of dots -- known as an autostereogram -- for a period of time, trying to make sense of it all. Suddenly, a 3D image just seems to pop out of the background.
The image was there all along but you just couldn’t see it until now.
A similar phenomenon happens to many companies in the process of their digital transformation. Somewhere throughout the process of experimenting with different digital marketing tactics, a picture begins to emerge.
Experimentation turns into decisive action. Siloed functions turn into coordinated initiatives. All of their dabbling with different digital marketing channels has finally begun to pay off; the company is beginning to see the bigger picture and make more strategic investments in digital marketing.
Characteristics and Behaviors
This is what we refer to as the operational stage of digital marketing maturity. Operational companies have begun to embrace and incorporate digital marketing tactics into their business.
Because their digital marketing tactics have begun to align with their overall marketing goals, they continue to see positive returns in both their metrics and their reach. And they have overcome one of the most difficult hurdles many companies face; their functions are no longer in siloes.
Here are some of the key characteristics of operational businesses:
- They have a centralized team in place.
- Leadership actively works on coordinated initiatives.
- Training and education are becoming a part of their organizational culture.
- They have a fully optimized website with over 1,000 monthly visitors.
- They have begun to implement marketing automation software.
- They have a baseline framework in place to track their metrics.
Digital marketing is now an integrated part of the company’s planning process and they are able to execute on their plans.
Challenges and Obstacles to Overcome
Once businesses reach the operational stage, there is a lot that is going well. Many of the digital siloes have been broken down and their leaders are focused and engaged in digital training.
In fact, so much is going well that many companies stop focusing on the need to continue to improve. As a result, it’s easy for operational companies to get stuck at this stage.
And there are still areas where operational companies can improve. For instance, while they are likely utilizing analytics to track some of their metrics, they often to fail to take action based on the insights they receive.
They are publishing content on the company blog and social media channels and even incorporating social publishing tools. However, they are not yet incorporating social listening tools and are often inconsistent about engaging with their customers online.
In order to reach the next stage, operational businesses must begin setting clear goals for the future and then create a strategy based on that vision. And it’s important to understand that technology is a tool you use to help you reach digital marketing maturity but it’s not digital maturity in itself.
Reaching the Next Level
For businesses that find themselves in the operational stage, Inalign has a number of services that can help you move to the next level. A good place to start may be with our advanced analytics marketing solution.
Understanding how to track and measure your data is important because it gives you actionable insights into your business. We’ll help you make sense of your data and look at the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing strategy.