WRITTEN BY MediaMonks
You’ve probably heard the joke before: one can buy a top-of-the-line TV, only to find that it’s already become obsolete by the time it’s installed in the living room. Joking aside, the rate of change in technology seems faster each day, prompting some brands to feel as though they’re treading water when getting accustomed to the platforms available.
Digital-only brands like Uber and Airbnb have significantly raised the bar for digital user experiences in growth markets like Latin America, and while the regional market privileges social relationships and recommendations, brands that haven’t prioritized the digital customer experience should view digital transformation as an opportunity—rather than a challenge—to better meet their customers’ needs in an exhilarating time of change. According to Forrester’s eCommerce Trends to Look Out For in Latin America, “By 2022, the number of unique smartphone subscribers will grow to 68.5% of the total population in Mexico, 71.0% in Argentina, and 74.6% in Brazil,” which means there’s great potential for brands to engage digitally with a growing audience—and time is of the essence to prepare.
“New trends, platforms and channels always emerge, so you must always evolve in how you interact with customers.”
The most important thing to understand about digital transformation is that it’ll have no end: it’s a process, not a project. With every new channel comes a new way of interacting with consumers, and as soon as you become comfortable with one, another arrives. Due to the speed at which this occurs, brands must move away from a desire to simply chase the next (or even current) big thing and instead focus on building a culture that is agile and ready to adapt to emerging channels. In fact, you’ll likely find that a desire for a new app or website is in fact indicative of a need for a new business model.
The digital transformation process challenges not only the way brands reach their audience, but also their internal structures. They must be ready to break down silos and look for more collaborative ways for talent across departments and levels to work with one another. At Gartner’s CIO & IT Executive Latin American Summit in 2017, one of the key findings was that “CIOs play a crucial role in transforming the enterprise,” particularly by providing an outsider’s perspective on user experience thanks to their informational skills. “It always helps to have someone see you from the outside,” says Carlos Rivera, Consulting & Platforms Lead at MediaMonks MX, on the need for organizations to seek new points of view to provide new experiences.
As your goals evolve, a digital transformation partner should “further bring in the expertise you need along the process.”
Digital transformation typically begins by taking stock of the business’ KPIs, assessing its internal structure and polling stakeholders at all levels of the organization. From there, organizations must benchmark themselves to industry competition. Much like how Instagram has done well to absorb features from competing brands (like stories), organizations should take a look at what’s working for digital-only brands within their industry and pay special attention toward how they drive change in the way consumers interact.
The next step is to envision the goals of the organization. We call this a digital playbook, which is a plan that maps out the digital transformation journey for the organization. While a digital playbook serves as a useful guide to an organization’s initial steps, the partner relationship shouldn’t end at the assessment. Instead, the partner should be able to translate that assessment into actionable steps every step of the way. “We provide this resource to help you better understand and activate our digital playbook,” says Rivera. As your goals evolve or new channels emerge, “your partner can connect you to the rest of the agency and production network to further bring in the expertise you need along the process.”
A manageable way for organizations to execute their new digital strategy is to take a channel-by-channel basis. “We can approach things on single channels, like on the mobile side for example,” says Rivera. “From there, we can turn our approach to the website or whatever else comes out naturally.” For example, we previously revamped the Aeromexico app in order to provide a mobile experience that was consistent with the website. Having netted over 100,000 downloads in just a month, catapulting it to the top spot in Mexican travel apps, our next opportunity was to streamline its digital booking process—a process that entails external transactional platforms in addition to just those owned by the brand.
This works well for some brands, but those who strive for a more consistent user experience can take a more holistic approach from the start: one can easily imagine all the various ways that platforms and channels tie together and feed into one another. Optimizing an offline call center can inform chatbot development, which in turn contributes to a digital messaging or social strategy, which can tie to creative content and so on.
As part of an ongoing digital transformation engagement with Club Premier, we put together an attractive app that helps customers take care of all their spending needs, enhanced with personalized content to improve the user experience. The result is a modernized experience that aligns Club Premier’s loyalty spending program with other apps users are seamlessly using daily. Through the app’s success, we’ve gone back to the drawing board with Club Premier to collaboratively build a sustained, ongoing digital transformation process that can spread across their entire ecosystem.
Recognizing the integrated nature of platforms and the dynamic user journeys across them return us to the earlier point that digital transformation cannot be treated as a project with an endpoint, but is rather a permanent progression in which organizations must open themselves up to new ways of thinking. This makes long-term partner relationships ideal for digital transformation. One example of what this looks like is the shared risk revenue model in which both parties have shared skin in the game: a dedicated team that lives and dies on their client’s success. “Digital transformation is a service where we are coupled with you and go hand-in-hand,” says Rivera. “We want to be there along the way.” Wherever the path to digital transformation takes you, remember: it’s all about the journey, not the destination.