Recently, Forbes shared that, “85% of enterprise decision-makers say they have a time frame of two years to make significant inroads into digital transformation or they will fall behind their competitors and suffer financially”. But what is a digital transformation?
As it relates to sales and marketing, digital transformation can be an ambiguous term and is sometimes referred to as digital modernization, or modernizing a growth approach. In essence, it refers to the transformation of sales and marketing; their relationship and alignment of goals, the suite of technology being utilized (tech stacks), how the technologies integrate with one another, how teams are maximizing the use of those technologies, the skill set of team members, and sometimes the structure of the organization. Digital transformation is about the ability to create relevancy and growth with the ever-increasing demand of modern-day consumers.
Working with our clients to modernize their growth approach has revealed a consistent uncertainty about what exactly that means and why it’s important. To address this gap in understanding, we recently hosted our first Growth Marketing Education event. To kick things off, we sat down with guest speaker Manoj Jasra, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Northland Properties Group. This powerful conversation provided insights from a leader who is clear on what the market is demanding as it relates to digital modernization, and has built a structure, with past experiences at WestJet and Shaw, to address that demand. What were the big takeaways?
Why does digital modernization need to be top of mind and how do we get there?
Customer expectations are changing faster than ever before, and they aren’t being set by us, they’re being set by organizations like Spotify, Uber and Square. With that in mind, we must consider how people are spending their time and how they want to spend their time. Consumers prefer brands with a digital-first approach and less human interactions, they want self-serve options, and they want their needs to be understood.
Marketing is changing as well; we’re not just competing with our direct competitors anymore, we’re competing with everyone for attention. Because of that, there’s serious advertising fatigue. That means that context is critically important and context can be greatly improved with technology such as AI(artificial intelligence) and automation as well as data – all are components of a digital transformation.
Digital modernization and transformation is already happening- its table stakes now for organizations’ operation and growth. To transform, we need to disrupt ourselves; our operating models, how we hire talent, and how we build sales, technology and marketing teams.
What’s the cost to organizations if they delay or don't invest into modernization?
There’s a brand impact – you can have an amazing marketing campaign, but if you’re not fulfilling that promise with outstanding customer experience, then your campaign value is diminished. And then there is the impact to key business metrics: impact to revenue via sub-par sales/acquisition program and lacking the ability to business more efficiently through digital self-service. Finally, employees and employee engagement are impacted. Today’s talent wants to work for modern companies who are focused on building meaningful experiences for customers and providing exceptional customer service.
Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has stated that, “56% of CEOs said digital improvements have led to revenue growth.”
What are some barriers to modernizing?
There’s a resistance to change; it’s hard for people to think about changing the way they’ve been doing things for 10 or 20 years. It can be a massive challenge determining business priorities, such as, investing in the core business itself vs. investing in digital transformation. And a top executive needs to sponsor and champion the transformation to make it effective as attaining senior level alignment can be challenging.
What are the most mature organizations implementing in digital marketing today?
On the tech side, mature organizations have fully integrated marketing stacks, which include a data management platform that integrates to multiple data sources enabling sophisticated segmentations across online/offline channels. This stack includes by a very robust analytics platform / implementation, a personalization / testing engine, a media platform, and a reporting platform for data analysis / visualization. All of their systems work in unison to deliver automated execution of campaigns.
On the people and process side, these organizations have let go of decision-making at an executive level and empowered the product owners in order to drive change - which means that teams use technology and data, within days of a campaign launch, and rapidly optimize their strategy if it’s not working. Team members are hyper-curious and are able to test ideas in a highly agile fashion, to see how things work and then amplify what works. Talent is working cross functionally, and with a greater understanding of technology. These organizations also have a macro view of what’s happening across the vertical and economically. They have a pulse on the competition, proactively, to understand the pricing/product/positioning landscape and they meet regularly to understand the impact of it.
“Transformation is not about delivering individual projects in silos – it’s a way of being – it needs to be integrated into the DNA of your organization. The way you market, operate, brand, sell, hire talent, must all be positioned and aligned to make the transformation effective,” said Manoj Jasra.
The digital transformation journey can seem daunting, there can be uncertainty about where, exactly, to begin, what to invest in, whether there are technology or training gaps, and how to bring teams into alignment. We favour a holistic approach to modernization - starting with a full assessment of your technology & processes to get a clear picture of where gaps exist and setting a plan to address them.
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Together we can position you for accelerated growth.