Only 11% of CMOs say they have achieved digital transformation goals

Skill shortages, incompatible technologies and inadequate data are biggest roadblocks to success

The digital transformation journey is neither easy nor quick, which is why only 11% of global CMOs say they have completed it, according to a new study.

The annual study, by MediaSense, confirmed that digital transformation is sweeping marketing. An incredible 82% of brands planning or in the midst of transforming their internal media operating model. While 76% are planning or undergoing a transformation of their external agency model.

Organizations say they are being held back by internal silos, incompatible technologies, inadequate data and critically, talent. More than 55% said a skills shortage is holding them back. This is a huge increase from 27% in 2015, the first year the survey was conducted.

The lack of a reliable cross-media measurement is also worrying top marketers, with 42% believing there will never be one. Nearly half said that media firms’ self-interest is the key limiting factor for this. On a different front, it is reassuring to note that the industry continues to be concerned about climate change. Some 46% of top marketers say they are planning to focus more on sustainability and measuring the environmental impact of media.

“The level of transformation occurring in the industry is a promising sign for the future of our industry,” said Ryan Kangisser, managing partner, strategy at MediaSense. “The unanticipated growth of ecommerce … has exposed acute gaps across talent and measurement. Now is the time for greater cross-industry collaboration and leadership to find solutions which better support this constantly evolving and converging ecosystem.”

Why we care: To quote someone known for his journeys, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” This is further proof that marketing is undergoing a defining change in how it operates. It may also be reassuring to know you’re not the only one facing significant challenges in getting your organization up to speed.

It’s also worth considering whether digital transformation is the kind of journey that can be completed at all, or whether it’s a process that will be with us always.

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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.