The Pros and Cons of Digitalization with Elisa Rodgers of Reed Tech

by Chelsea Barone

Elisa Rodgers, Director of Marketing at Reed Tech

Modern Marketing Today has reported quite a bit on the massive advantages that accompany our increasingly digitalized field. Between data analytics and system automation, one might think that marketers have it made in the shade with all of the capabilities of today’s martech.

Of course, marketers will continue to press on and figure out better ways to gain insights and deliver for their customers and clients, thanks to this technology. But what about the challenges that come with operating in a highly digitalized field?

We spoke with Elisa Rodgers, Director of Marketing at Reed Tech, about these challenges and what marketers should be doing to step confidently into the future of marketing with this technology well-harnessed.

A Double-Edged Sword

It’s easy to get carried away with shiny, new technology that promises the world in the form of insightful analytics, but just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s either a) necessary or b) innovative. In fact, that mountain of data you’re promised could be the root of an entirely different problem.

“You spend a lot of resources just trying to figure out what’s working, and that hurts when you have a small team to spend so much time looking at that…that’s a real challenge for marketers today,” Rodgers stated. Finding that balance between meaningful insightful and excessive data points can be very tricky.

Despite the tendency to sway towards concrete data and abandon the old-fashioned subjectivity of marketers past, that human element will always be a factor. Rodgers continued, “There’s still an art to it. Maybe we’ll get down to the point where it becomes much more of a science, but there is still very much an art to it all in understanding the ‘magic mix.’”

Broadening Perspective by Tailoring Messages

While there are certainly aspects of digitalization to which marketers should be privy, the ability to gain a broader audience has never been easier, thanks to data. Because of the vast repository of available marketing data, it’s possible to tailor campaigns, products and messaging in a timely manner to extremely niche groups, something that would have taken months of market research and resources 20 years ago for one market.

Now today, I can not only get the original data, but also tailor it to launch campaigns in several markets simultaneously. Cultural and societal differences across regions cannot be overlooked, especially during a global marketing campaign. And it goes far beyond correct, conversational translation. Rodgers used different regions in Asia as an example of adjusting media channels based on cultural preferences.

“In Japan, I know that YouTube at work is thought to be frivolous and it’s generally not permitted, because the fear is that people will be watching The Simpsons or something at work. And we use YouTube a lot for our videos, so that’s something for us to consider when promoting there,” Rodgers noted. “In China, they use Baidu, not Google. Regions are extremely important for how you promote, not only for effectiveness, but also for legality.”

Insights like those about specific markets are captured through the use of data collection and, without them, marketing in those areas would be like trying to thread a needle in the dark.

Embracing a Digital World

Looking forward, Rodgers is hopeful for tomorrow’s marketers. “The best is yet to come in marketing,” she assured us. Martech is only getting smarter, thanks to the advent of technologies like AI and predictive analytics, and as it becomes more accessible and affordable, companies of all sizes will be able to understand their target audiences to a T.

“AI will allow us to become much more productive and find those individuals that are actually predisposed to our solution, rather than find them after they’ve taken some action,” she explained. “So we won’t need them to attend a webinar, or do a Google search to find our website. We’ll just look at what their disposition is and where they are in the marketplace.”

Rodgers aptly pointed out that marketing has changed more in the last five years than it has in the preceding fifty. We’re on the cusp of a serious digital revolution and an avalanche of new knowledge will shape an entire new generation of marketers.

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