B2B marketers have been thinking about, planning or taking steps on their digital transformations for the past several years. Some are already in the middle of a revolution while others are merely testing the waters.
However, the coronavirus crisis is impacting the need for a digital transformation, according to a May 2020 McKinsey customer-behavior study. Digital interaction with B2B customers is now two times more important than traditional channels — a more than a 30% jump since before COVID-19.
A digital marketing transformation is the transition and evolution from a traditional, often obsolete, marketing mix to innovative new digital marketing assets — from websites to email to social and more. The goals of digital transformations include improving customer experiences, leveraging data to better manage business performance and developing new digital revenue streams.
Those who aren’t fully invested yet are missing out on significant business opportunities, for example, the ability to make more immediate, impactful and long-lasting connections with customers. Recent studies point to the need for marketing organizations to begin or advance their digital transformations.
In a global study of senior B2B marketers, 82% stated that a digital marketing transformation is important or very important to their businesses, according to Stein IAS. Supporting this view, Forrester reported that it’s the time for CMOs to make a digital transformation that delivers better customer experiences.
Despite the urgency, while many organizations say they are digital, only a minority are truly there yet, according to PwC’s 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey.
Examples of companies that have already embraced their digital transformation in marketing in a big way include Scandinavian Airlines, Starbucks and Electrolux.
To help organizations assess where they are on their digital transformation, Altimeter identified six stages — from “business as usual” to “innovative and adaptive.”
If your marketing organization hasn’t fully embraced a digital transformation yet, you should know that the opportunities are limitless. Here are just a few examples:
Scaling a successful digital transformation journey in marketing requires taking many of the right steps along the way. Here are some best practices to advance and accelerate your journey.
Review your digital channels: Assess the value of your current marketing tools and channels, including your website, social media, automation tools, analytics platforms and customer database. Look for ways to leverage them better from a digital perspective, such as expanding digital experience opportunities for customers.
Break down silos: Make sure all of your systems work together. The right marketing data platform can act as the connective tissue that joins multiple platforms together, providing a holistic view of the entire ecosystem.
Optimize customers’ journey: Identify both weak spots and opportunities for improvement, looking for ways to eliminate the weakness and buttress the strengths with the goal of providing a more personalized, relevant experience for leads and customers.
Establish new KPIs: Add “digital marketing maturity” to your KPIs to provide a goal, destination and roadmap for your transformational processes. This clear direction can also help get buy-in from key stakeholders to drive success.
Upskill your team: Assess your team. You may need to upskill existing team members to ensure they have the capabilities required to support a full-scale digital transformation. You also may need to hire new talent, especially people who have deep digital knowledge in specific areas.
Remain agile: Realize that digital transformations are living, breathing and ever-evolving processes that must be sustained over the long haul. As such, agility is a critical skill to ensure your marketing organization is able to pivot on a dime when new information becomes available. In other words, there is no final destination on a successful digital transformation journey.
Invest In Your Digital Transformation
If you’ve been waiting to start your transformational journey, now is the time. Not only are your competitors likely making the trek, but also today’s consumers are increasingly learning that they get much better experiences from organizations that have embraced advanced digital capabilities. Investing the time, talent and resources will reap a new world of rewards long into the future.