When Covid-19 struck last year, it forced societal changes around the globe. Nearly overnight, governments issued orders that limited large gatherings of people, restricted in-person business operations, and encouraged people to work from home as much as possible. In response, businesses and schools alike began to look for ways to continue their operations remotely, thanks to the Internet. They turned to various collaboration platforms and video conferencing capacities to remain engaged with their colleagues, clients, and students while working from home offices.
Mauritius is of no exception. The announcement of the second lockdown by the Prime Minister on 9 March 2021 left many companies and organisations stranded on the side of the digital road, revealing a lack of preparedness for remote (work from home) operations. The question, which logically arises, is: what did Mauritius learn from the first Covid-19 lockdown?
After a few months of buzz that “Mauritius Covid-free” in BBC, France 24 and other media, Mauritius, unfortunately, did not set up a route for digital transformation and yet still businesses and entrepreneurs are heavily reliant on re-submission of documents for the re-processing of the Work Access Permit (WAP) and the setting up of platforms to work and communicate effectively. The leaders have come to realise (hopefully) that the new normal will need to be more digital if they want to be able to get over the current crisis, to spring back to growth before the next storm.
But does digital transformation mean to be an expert in video calls and managing conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Microsoft software or Jitsi, which are just the tip of the iceberg? It should not distract us from what is fundamentally required to transform the Mauritian economy into a digital-first economy. In a country where issuing QR code WAP by the Commissioner of Police has become a reality, the same commissioner is yet to issue Digital Driving Licence to all the drivers via the QR Code, which can be a game changer for one and all. Still, Mauritius is yet to make maximum usage of the Smart National Identity cards, which is dated to nearly 10 years.
Leverage marketing automation
As marketing automation platforms continue to grow with more features and functionalities, so have increased small and medium enterprises’ expectations and needs. Automation systems have grown immensely to integrate real-time insights on customers’ behaviour and demography from various sources of data.
Advancements in automation technologies have added capabilities to drive customer-centric or customer-first experience by personalizing and tailoring messages to customer insights and delivering those messages when customers are expecting your emails and content. Automation enables combining in-depth data points with training modules to help marketers create campaigns and content, and deliver them at the right time, to the right audience. This marketing tech helps marketers accelerate the campaign’s strategizing process by taking advantage of the machine learning technology of automation platforms.
Automation removes the repetitive and tedious tasks that may cause the human error and freeing marketers to dedicate their time to the creative and planning aspects of marketing operations. It also helps SMEs and Marketers analyse vast amounts of customer data in real-time, group those insights into segments, identify customer profiles, create scoring protocols, and suggest content recommendations. Then, it can deploy messaging which can connect with targeted consumers.
Digitally transforming local enterprises
How can automation benefit SMEs in Mauritius? It can diminish the efforts and time involved in delivering marketing campaigns and improving campaign results. Automation systems will enable marketers to make use of customer engagement opportunities with personalized and quicker responses at scale.
The new normal will need to be more digital.
Now that customers live an enhanced digital life, SMEs may anticipate customers’ expectations and purchase patterns to optimize campaigns according to their expectations. Improved personalization can help brands create more long-lasting customer relations, and drive more engagement, and revenue from campaigns. Personalized engagement may also help in offline transactions and conversion. By automating different points of the customer journey across various channels, you can drive conversion.
Customers get ready to make the purchase when they receive the right message, with the right information or resources, at the right time. Nurturing your customers with the information and resources will qualify them for sales follow-up. Automation systems may also allow one to measure the effectiveness of content and resources against diverse segments of audiences. To use marketing automation technology to automate the content generation and delivery of content at the scheduled and right time should be the plan.
An analysis framework will allow a SME to digitally transform its existing content resource into a customer-centric and optimized content library and to deliver and analyse content performance at scale by leveraging an automation platform. Every time consumers interact with emails, social media posts, and other communications from your brand, it generates an opportunity by collecting insights on their interactions and actions. Automation systems will collect all these customer response data from different touch points of customer journeys to enrich your database.
SMEs and large companies who adopt marketing automation systems without proper planning can face challenges and mistakes that turn automation implementation costlier. Hence, companies need to consider and plan how they are going to use the platform and other areas such as the scope of opportunities for budget reduction, increase in engagement and conversion.
SMEs and Marketers who plan all these things well in advance and prioritize their marketing goals before implementation can operate with minimal issues and challenges. Hence, it is important to create comprehensive digital transformation strategies to implement data-driven marketing automation programmes.
By Vidur Ramdin
Vidur Ramdin is the Director of Communications of Fonds de Solidarité Africain.