For some, digital transformation may seem like a traditional business project that has a distinct beginning and end. However, the savviest organizations know that it has no defined starting point, and there is no true finish line. Digital transformation will continue to evolve and scale with the business, and it will require building consensus across numerous functional silos.
It also isn’t something that naturally happens—companies need to make the conscious decision to proactively define and manage their own digital transformation objectives, especially as spending on digital transformation increases each year. In fact, according to IDC, global spending on digital transformation technologies and services will grow 10.4 percent in 2020 to $1.3 trillion.
The investment is paying off. Those that had already begun executing against a digital transformation strategy were able to navigate the dramatic changes that resulted from the current pandemic.
Digital transformation excellence begins with marketing
While it might feel natural to look to the IT department to shepherd a digital transformation effort, marketers have specific skill sets that make them well-equipped to take on a leadership role. Marketers can help their companies use transformative technology to strengthen engagement between brands and customers, improve business performance and operations, and increase employee engagement.
According to Gartner consulting, 87% of senior business leaders say digitalization is a company priority, however only 40% of organizations have brought digital initiatives to scale. To address this gap, marketers can tap into one of their many areas of expertise and showcase their value to the project:
Marketers are communicators
Marketers can use their communications skills to help energize and educate employees about the benefits of undergoing a digital transformation effort. More than six out of 10 respondents consider culture as the number one hurdle to digital transformation, according to Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Review 12th Edition, and marketers can help push the needle with effective communication strategies. When the pandemic disrupted the restaurant industry, Friendly’s Restaurants rapidly transformed their technology strategy to include contactless options. Friendly’s CIO recognized the strength of its culture as a key factor in the company’s success–they embraced the new processes and rose to the occasion.
Marketers understand the customer journey
Marketers have the insight and perspective to shape digital transformation efforts to maximize the value to the customer. After all, they are well-versed in the customer journey and how to establish strong connections across all touchpoints. To build a relevant roadmap, organizations need to take a long view of what they want a digital transformation strategy to accomplish–across people, performance, operations, and customers.
Marketers know the organization
By nature of the role, marketers have acquired a vast amount of knowledge about their organization–its strengths, its weaknesses, and how it operates day-to-day. They are able to have a bird’s-eye view of the business and build an ecosystem of trusted partners who are willing to put skin in the game and ensure value. This type of foresight will go a long way when executing against a digital transformation strategy as it requires strong talent in development and technology-related areas.
Marketers welcome digital disruption
Advances in marketing technology have changed drastically over the past 10 years–and so has the role of the marketer. The days of simply generating impressions and clicks are mostly gone; now, more effective dollars are being spent on buyer intent and propensity-to-buy tools, data and analytics, search marketing, digital campaigns, and social selling. Many marketers have embraced this digital-forward world and welcomed the many opportunities it presents to connect with customers in new and exciting ways. They are usually on the forefront of innovation and strive to inspire others in their quest for marketing excellence and fueling business growth.
Where marketing and IT meet
While marketing can confidently take charge, it still needs to be in lockstep with the IT department. After all, there is no digital transformation without a technology evolution, and that requires a heavy lift from IT. The two teams should work together to solve business problems, implement systems that support the larger goal, and find new ways to create value for customers.
For example, IT and marketing teamed up to create an improved fan experience for the San Francisco 49ers. Innovative technology was implemented to ensure football fans stay connected throughout the season, and the new site (IGYB) incorporates different aspects of digital and social media marketing to provide the latest updates and resources.
Marketers are creative and nimble, constantly on the lookout for new ways to innovate. By putting them in prominent leadership positions within a digital transformation overhaul, there will be an immediate shift in communication effort, diligence, and culture.
Shade Vaughn is Chief Marketing Officer for Capgemini North America.