There were some exciting new developments in digital marketing last year, but despite all that hard work the industry seems to have forgot a thing or two. Many areas still lack the conditions needed to realize innovation and enable businesses to fully benefit from these developments. With this in mind, it would seem that the industry could use a break from new trends. A break that would allow businesses and teams to focus on creating the structures necessary to make trends and technologies truly scalable. In the end, revolution is only one step in an evolutionary process.
The pressure of having to keep up with technological progress is one of the greatest challenges that businesses currently face. This pressure has intensified in the wake of an ongoing influx of market participants and technologies with the potential to change the industry. When it comes to innovation, the marketing industry is quick to find solutions but often forgets to first take a good look at the underlying problem. What’s more, there are a number of businesses that still have yet to effectively integrate recent technological innovation into their workflows and processes.
Businesses have some catching up to do before taking the next step toward digital transformation. More specifically, new structures and processes need to be firmly anchored and connected to systems and technologies that enable teams to work efficiently and flawlessly in the digital age. These changes need to be effectively integrated into company work processes before the next steps are taken toward digitalization.
Here’s an example that illustrates the gap we are still seeing between innovation and daily practice: While the industry is buzzing about the potential of AI-based media planning, most media planners are still running campaigns for advertisers manually using simple Excel sheets, file servers and email. Analog workflows have managed to survive in the digital age virtually untouched. With the demands and complexity of technological changes continuing to increase, the time has come to replace obsolete process structures with new ones that are geared toward working in a digital world. How can machine learning function effectively, consistently and in real time if media planning is organized using Excel sheets? Processes and structures need to be digitized and systems need to be connected and prepared for automation to enable future-ready campaign planning. We need systems that can process relevant algorithms and make decisions based on data patterns.
Because in past years businesses have been struggling with precisely those aspects that are needed to create a stable foundation, i.e. time, structures and processes, the industry should treat itself to a break from the trend mania. Pressure to innovate in the industry can prove distracting and shorten the time businesses have to fully integrate new innovations.