Quality Assurance for Digital Marketing Initiatives

Renu Rajani, VP & Delivery Head, InfosysEvolutions of Digital Marketing
Organizations across the world are rapidly digitizing their businesses today as they face intense pressure to transform their businesses to stay competitive. While, the marketing function is dominated by the influence of social media technologies.

Digitizing or transforming for digital indicates that organizations would:

Leverage analytics at both the predictive and reactive stages to understand their customers' buying behavioral patterns
• Go mobile in the smartphone dominated marketplace
• Engage with their customers through social media
• Leverage use of connected devices.

The Digital paradigm comprises of areas like Digital Marketing, Digital Customer Management, Business Process Management, and others. However, digital media is so pervasive that customers want to access information at their fingertips, on the go. Customers have brand preferences and like to receive personalized communication about shopping events and offers tailored to their needs.

This is precisely why organizations need to understand how their customers be-have on social media and is one of the reason for Digital Marketing to take predominance in the industry today over other digitization initiatives that organizations adopt.

Digital Marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using digital platforms and distribution channels. In order to assure the organizations of the fact that the objectives behind the IT implementation of Digital Marketing have been successful, it is imperative that we 'test' the software behind the business strategy well.

Challenges of Implementing Digital Marketing
The challenges of implementing Digital marketing include:
• Varied & rapidly changing technological base demanding more agility in application deployments.
• High volumes demand that not only should the technology deployed be functionally scalable, but should also be capable of retaining consumer attention by ensuring that front-ending channels are well designed for ease of use. For example, by functional scalability we mean a customer should be able to navigate all the products and services organization offers on single platform. Ease of use refers to customer experience and easy to carry-out end-to-end transaction.

• Ensuring information security as digital marketing is the most exposed to vulnerabilities, as the organizations applications get exposed to larger public through websites, portals, shopping carts, and so on.

Need for Quality Focus in Digital Marketing Initiatives
While ensuring comprehensive quality checks on content and messages that remain the backbone for marketing, their broadcast on omni channel across regions leveraging Social Media, Partner Portal, Mobile Devices through Search Engines have added complexities around validating Interface and Integration validation. In addition to complying with performance and availability SLA, compliance to organizational, Regional and Partner policies have become the utmost importance. In consideration to above, Marketers (CMOs) have to ensure that a comprehensive quality assurance policy is in place taking care of holistic validation.

The demands of competitive leadership and shrinking timelines have raised the expectation of having customer-centric quality content & message. Comprehensive quality checks on marketing artifacts have garnered renewed focus with providers building QA solutions specific to Digital Marketing.

QA of Digital Marketing Applications:
Key Validations Quality assurance of digital marketing applications should include validation of content quality, message quality, and social media.

Content Quality Validation:
Involves the testing of the content displayed to prospective consumers for characteristics like usability, high availability, compliance to standards and compelling graphics. The content needs to be tested for accessibility of the links/hyperlinks which need to direct to the appropriate web page. Countries such as U.S. and Europe have mandated accessibility according to WCAG guidelines.

Message Quality Validation:
Ensures that the messages displayed on the website are tested for uniformity, multi-browser & multi-channel compatibility, and visual & voice compatibility.

Social Media Integration & Interface Validation: Involves the testing of content for integration & interface with various social media channels (e.g., a company's homepage or sales promotion webpage being invoked from Facebook), security, user experience and compliance to the standards like PCI DSS.

Data & Report Quality Validation:
In today's world, when most of the decisions based on data, not having an accurate data quality plan, right analytics algorithm, dashboard can only result in chaos adding to the effort where marketers are trying to get their heads around creating and broadcasting customer-centric content. This could put the entire exercise of the Digital Marketing program in jeopardy to the extent of it being called-off.

A comprehensive end-to-end quality assurance & improvement plan around Performance, User Experience, Security, Functionality and Interoperability lead to more control in the business outcome, and faster time to deployment (Automated Validations) and its implementation is the only answer to derisk the digital marketing campaigns. In absence of which the following illustration can hold true.

Working in the innovative Digital era, which is powered by technology and driven by speed. At the same time, end-clients must be addressed 'First Time Right'. Ensuring high-quality technology through structured testing is not enough. Clients expect more and want the testing & quality assurance discipline to significantly contribute to their business goals, secure and improve the corporate image and improve sales through digital marketing campaigns. The testing & quality assurance profession now has the opportunity to pick-up the challenge and transform to a role of business value assurance provider.