A Healthy Marketing Budget Is The Key to Digital Transformation

A Healthy Marketing Budget Is The Key to Digital Transformation

By Jessy SmulskiAug 6 /2019

Digital transformation is 2019’s most talked about movement, but what does it mean for your business? If you answered “more technology” you’re completely missing the point. The real momentum behind this movement is the idea that, with the right data, the possibilities are endless. In a globalized marketplace known for its impossible odds, you now have the freedom and ability to create your own odds.

The businesses that strategically integrate digital technologies (not just a single solution) into core business processes and use them over time will have the means to drive innovation on demand, launch imaginative business models, and deliver near-perfect customer experiences.

However, without a serious investment in marketing, none of this is possible. Here are three reasons why:

 1. Genuinely innovative products aren’t self-proclaimed; they are renowned as such by happy customers. To be nimble and insightful enough — not just to innovate, but to innovate on demand — is to know every nuance of your industry and your customer despite how rapidly they both change.

2. A business model is a process that companies use to generate value for customers (and themselves). As customer wants, needs and behaviors change, so do their perceptions of that value. The most competitive companies revitalize or create new business models to sustain their value. Attempting to do this without extensive customer insight is like shooting an apple off of someone’s head while blindfolded (not recommended).

3. The customer experience is the step-by-step process a buyer takes to become a purchaser. Decades ago, we had limited control over this process, but today, it is possible to engineer every step with enough accuracy to shorten sales cycles and deliver a near-frictionless customer experience. That is if you have the hindsight and foresight to predict not just the customer’s next move — but their next several moves.

See the common thread? Your company’s understanding of the customer is the skeleton key that can unlock all the promises of digital transformation, and that makes the marketing team an invaluable asset.



Marketing Buy-In and Budgeting

The one thing holding most companies back from digitally transforming is not knowing where to start. Now that you have the intel to start building a case for marketing let’s talk budget. Marketers can expect an onslaught of digital trends to disrupt their industries by 2020, such as:

  • The Internet of Things
  • Real-time mobile personalized transactions
  • Wearable technology
  • Virtual/augmented reality

According to Gartner, companies currently spend about 29 percent of their total marketing budgets on technology. Kuno did the math to help put this percentage into perspective. If your company rakes in $100 million per year and allocates the national average (11.3 percent) of total revenue to marketing, your marketing technology budget should be in the ballpark of $3,277,000 — relatively speaking.

Keep in mind, Deloitte predicts that marketing trends like the ones listed above will influence a massive spike in marketing technology spending over the next three years, which means this figure is liable to change.

Now, let’s say the stars align and your marketing team gets the budget they need to go all in on digital transformation. What’s next?

Step 1: Prepare to Prove ROI

Objectively look at your marketing channels and determine if you‘re committing the cardinal sin: poor cross-channel optimization. When channels are siloed and measured differently, valuations can be misleading and difficult to tie back to sales and revenue growth. Luckily, HubSpot produced a guide that shows you how to develop synergy between channels and use them collectively to create a logical progression that takes your target audience from the top of the funnel to the bottom.

Step 2: Invest in a Data Management Platform (DMP)

Every conceivable touchpoint a customer has with your brand is an opportunity to learn and leverage. A DMP works with your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) to collect, store, organize and make sense of all the data you receive from every marketing channel a customer interacts with over time.

Step 3: Abandon The Annual Cycle

Once your marketing operations are digitized, optimized and ready to roll, ditch the annual data harvest that involves crunching a year’s worth of information. Change is now a continual part of your process, which means your data should be a daily staple that informs every decision you make.

Cutting through the red tape will be one of the most challenging steps in your transformation process and, unfortunately, your odds of succeeding are nil if you do not have buy-in from the C-suite. When your sales team is under-performing, the case for marketing is far more compelling, but when the sales team is crushing quotas, CEOs don’t always see the point in investing more into marketing activities. If you’re up against this type of skepticism, we have a guide for that, too.

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Jessy Smulski
The Author

Jessy Smulski

Jessy turns everyday industry talk into simple, insightful, humanized conversation. Often described as bold, empathetic and charmingly sarcastic; her writing style reflects her personality and reads like a friend telling stories over supper. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jessy backpacking the Midwest, snowboarding the Rockies, or capturing life through the lens of her camera.