On the contrary, today, it seems that the time has arrived, at least for companies that, in 2023, will find themselves facing an epochal turning point: the “true” entry into the digital age.
All the fault of Covid, which this year is now drawing to a close, has pushed everyone, individuals and companies, to rethink their communication and relationship models. Let’s see why but first, let’s make a premise. Making us understand that digitization processes are mandatory and that, to be followed, they require the presence of reliable and prepared partners.
Companies and agencies side by side
Among the first realities hit by the new digital evolution are the communication and marketing agencies that had already been affected by the need to change their paradigm.
Businesses today are looking for partners who know how to stand by their side to undertake shared development and accompany growth projects (very often even win-win). And not to be entrusted with creative solutions that gratify the author of business development plans more.
This implies that communication and marketing agencies must evolve into subjects capable of consultancy services with high technological potential.
SMEs need to start thinking digitally
Someone has already done it, with a long and coherent path that has allowed them to respond immediately to the constraints caused by the Covid containment actions, creating tools such as Smart Expo that would enable companies to let ideas travel and not the people.
At this point, an analysis of the situation of the companies is urgently needed, trying to understand who is ready to leap digitization and who needs an additional preparatory phase. In both cases, consultancy for a digitization project remains a determining factor in saving time and resources.
So: in 2020, more than 8 out of 10 companies adopted technologies for managing customer data and tools to make the relationship remotely concrete with them (+15 percentage points compared to 2022).
However, the approach of too many companies still needs to be more culturally prepared. Only 14% of companies make good use of the data collected on customers and enhance them with activities that impact the business. On the other hand, less than 40% have a structured approach to omnichannel marketing. Finally, just half have “from online to offline” sales integration services with severe repercussions for business because they do not respond to a new consolidated customer need (buy online and pick up in-store).
These data provided by the School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic prompt us to reflect: in 2023, companies will have to plan the end of the emergency use of digital to plan a strategic use of it, absorbing a new culture and changing their way of thinking. They will have to start “thinking digital.”
The power of streaming
But be careful, a thought that does not remain ethereal but can take the concrete forms of streaming and live connections that technology allows us today. On the contrary: the dimension of digital eye contact, which has become daily in the times of Covid, has carved out an important space for itself in people’s lives, dragging a particularly incisive emotional effect: emotion, closeness, humanity (which are also at the basis of business) today travel on digital video pixels.
During Covid, 75% of Italian companies accelerated the transformation of strategies and development projects from a digital perspective a lot or quite a lot (72% in all).
Strategic use of digital
Almost 30% of companies in this period have started planning the development of digital growth tools: such as e-commerce, online sales consultancy, video call assistance, chatbots, etc.
Obviously, the emergency has led to the tactical use of these solutions. For this reason, in 2023, as highlighted by the research of the Polytechnic, it will be necessary to make concrete an awareness that entrepreneurs have achieved during this period.
That is, to create strategic models of company-customer relationships. That is, long-lasting approaches and models, with new planning of relationships that will be hybrid (digital and physical), and which provide for accurate planning of all phases of relationships: from market analysis to lead profiling, to the creation of suitable content, up to the creation of a structured nurturing phase for the after-sales phase.
The strategic role of consultancy
There will be intense work to be done, in 2023, by everyone: companies and innovative specialists in marketing and communication. These first will have to fully assume the role of business development consultants, implemented through total assistance to companies in the paths that lead to the hybridization of the approach with the markets and customers.
Thus placing itself alongside companies to help them build a new vision of the markets, their sector, and their role. Helping them to interpret customer behavior and to share these results with all company departments to “set in motion” the whole company.
The new consultative role of communication and marketing agencies will be strategic in directing companies in the construction of a technological architecture that allows them to organize a new, more effective form of message about their products/services and to synthesize the galaxy of new high-performing tools (App, e-commerce, website, customer care system, chatbot, etc.) necessary to reach a previously profiled audience.
The in-depth research of the Milan Polytechnic confirms a fascinating fact: the digital approach returns concrete benefits to companies in terms of commercial development. And it opens an extraordinary chapter for the life of businesses, of all businesses, and particularly SMEs. Because, for the first time, thanks to these paths, even the little one can become global, carving out sustainable spaces for himself in a vast market, maintaining his identity and form but simply learning to relate even with very distant interlocutors in space.
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