By: Katie Hall, Digital Transformation Consultant

Digital Marketing Transformation, like most business buzz words, is top of mind in the board room, a hot topic of any panel, and yet difficult to define. This is why it is key marketers learn what are the steps to digital marketing transformation.

What is Digital Marketing Transformation?

For some, it means automation of their technology stack to manage end-to-end CRM. For others, it refers to identifying their customers’ lifetime value and developing a data-driven approach to reaching and retaining their most valuable customers. Chase bank goes broad with their definition that digital marketing transformation is, “about serving customers however they want to be served.” i

Because customer needs are changing faster than ever, the idea of transformation has grown significantly from a simple transition of media tactics to an entirely new way of interacting with customers. Embarking on this journey can be overwhelming.

The 3 Step Process on How Implement Digital Marketing Transformation

By following this three-step process of evaluating goals, assessing readiness, and mapping a path to transformation, an organization can pinpoint the leadership, resources, and timeline to reach its ideal operating state.

Step 1: Look first at your business goal 

Because digital marketing transformation can take many forms, the first step must be to identify why your company needs to transform.

  • What is the problem your transformation will solve?
  • Do you need to sell more product?
  • Increase efficiency?
  • Perhaps you need to modernize operations to appease shareholders or new management.

If your transformation process isn’t mapped to your primary business goal, you may find yourself completely transformed but with the same problems you had before you began. Identifying the reason you need to embark on digital marketing transformation will help you decide where to start and ensure you reach your goal.

If deciding where to begin feels overwhelming, task different departments with individual transformation, and evaluate the results.  Your customer acquisition team may try a new tech partner on an email campaign, your social team might test influencers or mix up their current budget mix, or your product marketing team might hire contractors with a new skill set to work on their next project.  If any of these changes lead to major improvements, lean into that transformation as your starting point.

You may want to learn more about CvE’s 6Cs of Digital Transformation

Step 2: Evaluate your current state:

Before diving headfirst into digital marketing transformation, it is important to evaluate your overall business state. In other words, does the business currently have the capacity to accommodate growth? If transforming marketing were to lead to a 50% growth in sales, can you produce enough product to accommodate the demand? Can your website handle the traffic? Can the staffing model handle the additional work? If not, you may want to have a plan in place to address these needs when they arise and bring other departments along from the start. Once that has been addressed, you can move forward to evaluating readiness in more specific detail.

  • Data Strategy: How well developed your customer insights are based on data collection?
  • Tech Stack: Does your business have access to the right technology, tools, data and insights to propel digital growth?
  • Media Investment: Is your owned/earned/paid strategy setup for success?
  • Operating Model: Are the right departments connected to facilitate growth?
  • Talent and Culture: Do you have the right team of people to execute on your plan?

Step 3: Set a goal for your transformation, and map a path to getting there

Now that you’ve set your business goal and evaluated your current state, it’s time to set a vision for your transformation end state and map a path to getting there. Identifying the path to take keeps you honest with your future state goals, offers transparency to everyone involved, and maintains a timeline realistic.

With these steps behind, you will be ready to embark on your digital marketing transformation journey. The preparation demands work, but the payoff will be well worth it. In a marketing department that has fully transformed:

  • The operating model is humming at an efficient speed
  • The media spend test & learn strategy is in full effect, it is clear what works and what doesn’t, there is no wasted spend
  • The best-in-class employees are generating results
  • Recruiting improves as potential candidates learn how forward-thinking the organisation is
  • Partnerships are generating positive results
  • Data is hard at work

Even with all these successes, the digital marketing kind of transformation will never fully end. At some point in the journey, a new technology, regulation, or leadership change will pivot from the original path. The beauty of building a plan in this manner is that the same questions will apply no matter what comes up. The model built for change has readied you for the challenge. Your business not only responds to change, it was built on change.

Are you ready?

If your business is thinking about taking the digital marketing transformation journey, CvE’s integrated view of media, technology & data will solve the most complex challenges, through a combination of both trusted advisory + hands-on expertise‍.

We are an Agile, action-orientated advisor for brave and trailblazing marketers that lead change in their organizations, and who are not afraid to be the first in doing something entirely new because they believe it’s right.