As marketing goes digital, it becomes more complex — there’s simply no denying that. There is often talk about businesses becoming more agile, nimble, and undertaking a massive digital transformation…but where does that start?

The first step? Giving up on manual marketing tools and embracing digital. Effective marketing can be the major differentiator between you and your competitor, but all of your effort is for nothing if you keep on using the same, standard, off the shelf tools.

Identify Your Needs

Effective marketing can only take place if you know exactly what you need, which might seem difficult on the outset. This is essentially a blueprint for you to start thinking about what is missing from your current marketing needs, and how technology can fill these gaps.

Standard tools do not work because they tend to be a one-size-fits-all approach that do not take your specific business and industry in mind. Without this element, you cannot set up benchmarks, performance indicators, or really any metric that can help you meaningfully distinguish what is working for your business, and where the improvement needs to be. Do you think your email marketing is weak, or perhaps you feel like there is a demographic you are missing. Think of what you want technology to solve for you, and look for a solution accordingly.

The Right Investment = The Right Research

Once you know what you are looking for, it’s time to do your research. This is an investment, and identifying the right tools will ensure that you get maximum return while improving your marketing operations.The main thing to remember is this:
Standard, off the shelf tools are ineffective for one simple reason, they do not offer:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Analytics
  • Automation

These three elements combined are a trifecta for success, and that is what will help you take your business to the next level. Using automation tools to standardize marketing procedure, combined with artificial intelligence and analytics helps you maintain a business that will be profitable in the long-term and the short-term. Using these tools, you can take your  current and historical data to understand what is working in your current business, and use that as a foundation to construct long-term strategies backed up by your data – and no one else’s.

As artificial intelligence continues to gain wide acceptance as becoming a mainstream player in operations and marketing segments, it is crucial to get ahead of the trend and invest in the right solution. The key way to differentiate yourself in a saturated marketplace is finding the right solution for an industry segment, along with a seamless integration into existing software infrastructure – and this should be the very basic necessity for the wider adoption as your business continues to grow.