Saturday, July 18, 2015

Digital Marketing Transformation Road Map

When you think about Digital Marketing Transformation, you probably reside in one of 3 camps:
  • You’ve jumped in with both feet and actually lived to tell the tale.
  • You’ve selected and installed some digital tools, but are not using them to their full potential.
  • You’re overwhelmed by the many shiny tools and technology options, new resource and staffing skill requirements and internal change management challenges, to make much progress.
Here are 5 key strategies I've learned from helping many enterprise companies embark on their own digital transformation road trips.

Digital Marketing Transformation Strategy #1: Get One. Why are you doing this? What is it you actually want to ‘transform'? Are you just looking to reduce marketing costs by switching to digital? Ugh. Hopefully this was accomplished back in 2005.

Are you trying to get ahead of your competition? Are you trying to catch up to your competition? Why? Why? Why? My guess is you are doing it because you have to.

The cold reality is there really is no choice. Your customers have already embraced digital and moved into the neighborhood. They've become locals. You either transform and move in, or live the dream that one day, peel-apart film will once again become available for your Polaroid camera.

Where you get your strategy is just as important.  I’ve seen too many road map failures because the stakeholder(s) got caught up in ’technology tornadoes', allowing these twisters to drive strategy instead of the other way around.

It can be very seductive, discovering that what was impossible yesterday is now possible today and then inserting that into the ever expanding road map. Define your strategy around solid business objectives and let the storm chasers track the tornadoes. Stay the course.

Digital Marketing Transformation Strategy #2: If you focus on what your customers expect, then delivering what your CEO expects (revenue) should take care of itself.
The truth is that all your leads and customers fully expect you to have a continuous, cohesive conversation with them throughout their entire relationship with you. From first realizing you exist to the last call with your customer service, the expectation is that you recognize them, and know their entire history, no matter what channel they choose or which device they use.

Throughout every interaction they are and have been the same person. Why would they tolerate you engaging them otherwise? Succeed at this and you have a ‘loving family member' for life. Fail and eventually no one shows up at your company's funeral. Some analysts predict that, as early as next year, CX will start to become your company's  key competitive differentiator, not your actual product or service itself. Now that's a scary thought!

Digital Marketing Transformation Strategy #3: Lewis and Clark had Sacagawea. So should you.
Acting as interpreter and guide, Sacagawea played a significant role in the overall success of Lewis and Clark’s famed 1804 expedition. According to some reports, one of her biggest strengths was that she could read the landscape, she could read the rivers and valleys. She had a sense of what the landscapes said about direction, where they were, and where they were going.

Imagine how much faster and how much more successful your digital transformation journey would be if you had a similar guide to show you the way? Align with a partner, or hire a Marketing Technologist to help lead the way. The journey is wrought with danger and risk. Hire someone who knows the landscape.

Fun Fact: My great, great, great uncle was actually William Clark (of Lewis and Clark).

Digital Marketing Transformation Strategy #4: You Don’t Need to Live Everywhere – Just Where Your Best Customers Are.
  • Q: Do I need to be on X? (X= Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, FlipaGram, Vine, Google+, SlideShare, Bebo, StumbleUpon,Tumblr, etc)
  • A: Only if your best customers live there.
‘Nuff said.

Digital Marketing Transformation Strategy #5: Connect the Identity Dots You Can – Don’t Worry About Those You Can’t
Realizing you need to have a consistent conversation with everyone is one thing. Solving the identify gaps is another. Even Best-in-Class companies struggle with making the identity connections across all possible touch points, channels and devices. There are probably some channels your best customers use that you don’t own and may never have access to.
  • Step 1: Make a list of those channels you either own or control and can get data from. This would include your own social channels, your website, events, internal email lists, CRM and eCommerce data, your mobile apps, your own customer service center, in short, any 1st party data source.
  • Step 2: Make a list of channels you know your best customers are using, but that you don’t own or control, nor can you get data from.
  • Step 3: Abandon Step 2 and put all your focus on Step 1. Save your Step 2 list for a future discussion with your Technology Tornado Chasers, once Step 1 is fully completed and enabled (which btw is no small feat).
So, once you've addressed these 5 strategies and the ship is sailing towards long term success, the next step is to fill in all the marketing transformation road map details.

Of course we are only scratching the surface in this post. Predictive modeling, and scoring, smart automated retargeting, data science, machine learning, API connections to unconnected databases and systems, data standardization management across all channels, the list goes on. (You see why you need Sacagawea).

Bonus Strategy #6: Become BFF with your VP of IT. You will need each other.  I mean you will REALLY need each other. Learn to play tennis if they play tennis. Buy them lavish gifts (a car, a boat, a Las Vegas vacation, you get the idea).

Why? Since data is the key that unlocks massive digital marketing transformation success, make sure you've established enough trust and friendship so that IT is willing to share the car keys with you (and hopefully some of the driving) as you plan for and embark on your own marketing technology road trip.

Digital Marketing Thought Leader, Strategist and Technologist

P.S. Want to know a bit more about Sacagawea? A few fun facts:
  • Sacagawea was the daughter of a Shoshone chief, and was born in Idaho around 1788.
  • She was captured in her early teens by an enemy tribe and sold to a French-Canadian trapper who was later hired as an interpreter by Lewis and Clark.
  • Sacagawea accompanied her husband on the expedition despite having a newborn son in tow. She soon became recognized as a valuable member of the party.
  • She was the only woman on the Expedition and took care for her newborn son, the entire journey.
  • After the expedition was over, while still in her mid twenties, she gave birth to a daughter, but Sacagawea died shortly afterwards in South Dakota, from what was probably Typhoid fever*.
  • William Clark, who had grown fond of her son during the expedition, took legal custody and paid for his education. He later went on to become an explorer in his own right and lived to about 61.
  • Sacagawea never got paid for her role in the expedition.
  • Clark did pay tribute to her in a letter to her Husband,  referring to her as, "Your woman who accompanied you on that long dangerous and fatiguing route to the Pacific Ocean and back, deserved a greater reward for her attention and services than we had in our power to offer her."
  • In 2000, a special "Sacagawea dollar" was minted in her honor.
  • *Accounts of her death vary and at what age. Some rumors say she died of old age in the company of her Shoshone tribe. 

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