Digital Transformation: Setting Yourself Up for Success

— October 31, 2018

Digital Transformation: Setting Yourself Up for Success

Last week we looked at digital transformation from a CMO’s perspective. This week we’ll look at what it takes to succeed at digital transformation and why some companies fail to reach the levels of success they expected.

Of the many challenges currently faced by CMOs, digital transformation ranks near the top of the priority list. Here are some statistics that suggest it is perhaps the number one priority for many CMOs.


Digital transformation requires technology, so how much do we have to choose from? The graphic below illustrates how the number of marketing technologies has grown from the year 2011 to 2018. There are now more than 7,000 different marketing technologies to choose from to assist in your digital transformation!

Digital Transformation: Setting Yourself Up for Success

These technologies include not only software that you can buy and own outright, but also software as a service (SaaS) that you can use as you need.

Clearly, digital transformation is a huge task. You must carefully plan the digital transformation initiative in order to succeed. Many companies fall short for the following reasons:

  • Failure to fully define the outcomes
  • Failure to understand the entire scope
  • Failure to hire or retain the necessary skillsets to plan and execute
  • Failure to recognize the importance of Organizational Change Management (OCM)

Failure to Define the Outcomes

What are you trying to achieve? What are your goals? If you do not have a very clear picture of where you want to be in x amount of time, it is highly likely that your attempt at digital transformation will not be successful. Clearly defined outcomes and requirements are essential to a digital transformation initiative.

Any big initiative requires realistic milestones. You must set milestones for planned achievements in each quarter because digital transformation cannot be accomplished in a single quarter.

Failure to Understand the Scope

Digital transformation is not just about deploying a set of new technology and then calling the job done. Digital transformation involves data, people, process and technology. As a CMO, you must be able to enact change throughout your entire organization. The digital transformation initiative must be adopted by the entire company, becoming company culture.

Failure to Hire or Train the Necessary Skillsets

Digital transformation requires a new set of skills in order to be successful. You need people who know how to use all of the new technology that you’re trying to enable. You need people who understand how digital platforms work, how social media works and how the data from all these sources can be harvested and managed. Without the right people, all you have is a set of new technologies with low adoption rates.

You can also acquire these skillsets by partnering with SaaS deliverers. Instead of purchasing new technology outright and hiring new employees to execute in the new technologies, you can partner with a service provider that offers the technology and the people to operate it as a holistic service.

Failure to recognize the importance of Organizational Change Management

Digital transformation has implications outside of the marketing organization. Failure to understand that it requires organizational change in order to work will leave you scrambling for much-needed resources.

It’s important to recognize that digital transformation is a marathon not a sprint. You must pace yourself and realize that it might take 2-3 years to get where you want to go.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can set yourself up for a successful digital transformation that launches your organization to the next level of marketing. Next week, we’ll talk about what that next level is and what you can do to achieve it.

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