Have You Navigated Your Digital Transformation Journey Yet?

Have You Navigated Your Digital Transformation Journey Yet?

By Karen TaylorJul 28 /2020

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.

3 Leading Companies Leading Digital Transformation

Examples of companies that have already embraced their digital transformation in marketing in a big way include Scandinavian Airlines, Starbucks and Electrolux.

  1. Scandinavian Airlines consolidated its ad tech, measurement, media buying and optimization data in Google Cloud. Now, the team can use machine learning to see, analyze and predict trends in real-time. As a result, it’s better positioned to maximize customer satisfaction and increase revenue.
  2. Starbucks launched a suite of artificial intelligence (AI) tools designed to enhance customer experiences and operations, called Deep Brew. To elevate the experience of its 16 million Starbucks Rewards loyalty members, Deep Brew AI creates personalized experiences based on each member’s preferences, order history, location, weather and time of day.
  3. Electrolux, a household and professional appliances leader, transformed its marketing program in multiple ways to drive consumer demand. Initiatives include offering innovation, shopping experience improvements, new digital marketing tools and post-purchase experience upgrades. The changes are driven by multi-year, step-by-step roadmaps across its global marketplace.

Where Are You on Your Digital Transformation Journey?

To help organizations assess where they are on their digital transformation, Altimeter identified six stages — from “business as usual” to “innovative and adaptive.”

  1. Business as usual: Organizations operate with a familiar legacy perspective of customers, processes, metrics, business models and technology, believing that it remains the solution to digital relevance.
  2. Present and active: Pockets of experimentation are driving digital literacy and creativity throughout the organization while aiming to improve and amplify specific touchpoints and processes.
  3. Formalized: Experimentation becomes intentional while executing at more promising and capable levels. Initiatives become bolder and, as a result, change agents seek executive support for new resources and technology.
  4. Strategic: Individual groups recognize the strength in collaboration as their research, work and shared insights contribute to new strategic roadmaps that plan digital transformation ownership, efforts and investments.
  5. Converged: A dedicated digital transformation team forms to guide strategy and operations based on business and customer-centric goals. The new infrastructure of the organization takes shape as roles, expertise, models, processes and systems to support transformation are solidified.
  6. Innovative and adaptive: Digital transformation becomes a way of business as executives and strategists recognize that change is constant. A new ecosystem is established to identify and act upon technology and market trends in pilots and eventually at scale.

Digital Transformation Opportunities Abound

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:

  • Gain more flexibility in the digital funnel: With digital transformation, marketing can be given much greater control over the steps of the buyer’s journey — versus just an A to B to C step-by-step process — thanks to, in particular, multi-stage interactivity and analytics.
  • Elevate the power of your data: The biggest blind spot in marketing used to be the lack of high-quality, actionable data for decision-making. Now, more granular information is available, giving marketers much more precise user data and metrics, which allows them to tweak and optimize marketing plans as new information comes in.
  • Realize that personalization is possible: Thanks to the combination of metrics and interactivity, it’s now possible to track the actions and behavior of consumers at an individual level, and then take that data to provide a personalized marketing response.
  • Interactivity is up for grabs: Interactive digital media gives consumers more choice over what they consume, how they consume it and who they share it with.
  • Leverage automation to increase results: Automation combined with metrics means that consumer behavior is being tracked without human supervision. When data or actions are recognized, software can act upon those conditions to send emails or personalized responses quickly, for example.

Best Practices in Digital Transformation

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.

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Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at karentaylorwrites.com.