10 Things Every Marketer Needs To Spark Digital Transformation

A lit sparkler crackles against a dark night sky, representing the need to spark digital transformation

Interest in digital transformation has grown notably since 2015. Although it isn’t as trendy a topic as Beyoncé, it’s still a hot topic in the marketing community. Yet, with the growing popularity around this phenomenon, there is still a steep learning curve for marketers today. How can marketers go about the steps needed to spark digital transformation?

Let’s just cut right to the chase. Digital transformation isn’t for the faint of heart. Transformation of any kind can be a rigorous and extensive process. Look at butterflies. Depending on the species, the full transformation process can take anywhere from one month to a full year. The digital transformation process can take as long as two or three years to trickle through the entire organization. Like I said, not for the faint of heart.

Sparking digital transformation takes commitment, courage, and vision plus a few additional action steps to help you reach the end goal.

Sparking #digitaltransformation takes commitment, courage, and vision.Click To Tweet

#1 Get Acquainted With Your Business Goals

Always begin with your business imperatives, the goals set by the executive leadership team. Identify the tangible, measurable goal, why it matters, where you gathered the goal information, and who you’ll need to get buy-in from.

Understanding the expectations of the executives allows you to align your digital transformation efforts with the greater business goals and ensure you’re able to link impact directly back to revenue.

Understanding the expectations of the executives allows you to align your #digitaltransformation efforts with business goals and link impact directly back to revenue.Click To Tweet

#2 Align Marketing Initiatives to Business Goals

Now that you’re clear on the goals of your organization, map out the marketing initiatives that will support the business goals. For instance, if your goal is to reduce customer churn by 20%, you might develop an automated campaign to send personalized, survey emails to your clients to assess their satisfaction with your products or services. Or maybe your goal is to reduce customer acquisition costs. You could develop sales enablement content to help speed up the sales process.

If your initiatives are developed with no goal in mind, chances are they won’t make it past the executives for approval. Bringing together the business imperatives and marketing initiatives helps you build an implementation plan and map your planned activities and milestones to the calendar year.

#3 Assess Your Company’s Customer-Centricity

How equipped is your organization to deliver the experiences that your customers desire? Conduct an internal self-assessment to evaluate the processes, technologies, and capabilities your team has in place that support the customer experience:

Evaluate the Customer Experience. Make a list of all the data you collect from customers and identify how it is used to improve the customer experience. Then, develop and distribute a customer survey to gauge levels of satisfaction with the company’s product and services, website, self-serve support, assisted support, and any other touch points. Ensure that your market research is current and complete.

Conduct a Customer Engagement Benchmark. Get a fact-based understanding of your current customer engagement and establish a baseline from which you can measure improvement using both quantitative and qualitative measurements.

Define the Supporting Processes and Technologies. Create a list of the technologies and processes in place and identify the information that each business unit collects from customers. Identify how the information collected is used to inform and guide subsequent interactions. Determine how much of this information is siloed and how much is shared across business units.

Define the Skill Gap. Examine the skills and aptitudes that exist within each business unit. Does each unit have a team in place with the technical skills to optimize their customer-facing technologies?

Present Your Findings as a SWOT Analysis. Once you’ve conducted your self-assessment, develop a SWOT analysis that summarizes and articulates your findings.

#4 Gain Executive Buy-In

Digital transformation trickles from the top down. Though the effort may not be led by the executive team, those in senior leadership must fully endorse it. Before connecting with other business units and getting them onboard, ensure the execs are on your side and in alignment with your plan. This doesn’t mean they need a step-by-step, detailed look at the “how,” but they need to understand and support the “why.”

#Digitaltransformation trickles from the top down. Though the effort may not be led by the executive team, those in senior #leadership must fully endorse it.Click To Tweet

Translate the findings from your self-assessment above and communicate the big-picture ideas in an easy to consume, one-page executive summary. Your approach to engaging your leadership will depend on your role. If you are the CMO, then it’s about getting buy-in from your colleagues. If you’re a vice president or director, work with the CMO or another similar executive sponsor to gain access to the executive team. The sooner you engage your executives, the better.

#5 Build Your All-Star Support Team

Digital transformation can’t be done alone. It is a full-time job (on top of the full-time job you are already doing!). Select a second point person who will own the day-to-day initiatives while you serve as the visionary and decision-maker. Regardless of whether this person sits within your organization or is an outside hire, they must have an eye for the big picture and specialize in execution.

#6 Engage Other Business Units

With your second-in-command secured, determine what other business units you want to engage to provide you with both people and resources. Spend some time identifying the key players you need on your team to effect change, the people in the organization who are likely to be supportive, and those that are likely to be resistant.

Build on the business case you developed in step #4 to convince and assemble your team of all-star digital transformation leaders. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.

#7 Analyze Your Martech Stack

The “digital” in digital transformation may mislead some, but it is important that marketers understand the role technology plays in transformation. It’s not about using technology to replicate the same processes, but using it to do things differently to support the customer experience. This starts with knowing what tools you already have on hand, what gaps might exist, and identifying additional or replacement tools as needed.

Your analysis should answer questions like:

  • What technologies do we have in place?

  • How are these technologies connected (or disconnected)?

  • What isn’t working for us?

  • What new tools do we need to introduce?

#Digitaltransformation is not about using #technology to replicate the same processes, but using it to do things differently to support the #customerexperience.Click To Tweet

#8 Build Your Data Management Systems and Processes

Data powers your systems to deliver the insights you need to make decisions and deliver better customer experiences. But understanding and capturing information about your customers can be a challenge. Having the right processes and systems in place is critical.

Outline what you know about your customers into a model that will help you determine the types of data you need to collect, the rules around the collection of this data, and the intelligence you need the data to support. Developing this model involves:

Create a data architecture that defines the attributes you attach to your customers and prospects.

Create a data governance structure to standardize how your team collects, transforms, and aligns customer data internally.

Design your systems with the end goal in mind to ensure they are set up to deliver tangible value.

#9 Create Your Strategic Blueprint

With your goals outlined, teams assembled, buy-in secured, and assessment and analysis complete, you’re equipped with all you need to develop a complete plan for implementing digital transformation.

Next, appoint a working group, develop a funding plan, design your customer stack, establish a proof of concept, and, finally, secure executive sign-off so you can build your growth engine and drive revenue growth. With these insights in-hand, you’ll have everything you need to package your findings into an executive report.

#10 Stay the Course

This may be the most important step of all. We know that leading change within an organization can be demanding. But those brave marketers who step up and lead the way will help their companies realize the true benefits of full customer-centricity.

Don’t give up. This process will take time, patience, and collaboration but when your customer is at the center, you’ll always be at the forefront of the competition.

If you are ready to lead the path towards digital transformation but are in need of some guidance to do, download our Change Agents Book and Playbook Boxed Set. This set of game-changing resources details the steps needed to move your organization toward transformation. If leading this effort alone feels daunting, our team can help


About the Author

Kiyana Neil

Kiyana is DemandLab's Marketing Manager. She brings seven years of experience to her role in supporting DemandLab's sales and marketing efforts, leading brand management and corporate communication efforts, and helping to ensure a seamless sales cycle and a better experience for the company's prospects and clients.

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