The buzz is everywhere. Broadly described as “digital transformation”, companies of all sizes are contending with the need to shift their model and way of doing business.
The concept itself is dynamic, with complex features such as cognitive technologies, distributive data, cloud services, rapid iterations & experiments, workflow logic, business intelligence and a stack of software solutions.
For many, this pivot appears daunting, lengthy, expensive and uncertain.
My suggestion is to take a micro-to-macro approach. This begins with incremental steps towards an agile culture. Once agility is achieved, there will be far greater confidence and competency to facilitate the transformative process.
Often departments are structured as silos with very little common ground or joint efforts. Digital transformation requires intersecting disciplines and removing traditional barriers. The ethos of a company depends upon shared ownership of functional, operational, strategic and innovative capacities.
IT is a company’s heartbeat, overseeing technology and securing scalable internal systems.
Marketing is its persona and customer conduit, designing a value-driven brand experience.
Making headway in your digital presence, engagement and earnings relies on an alignment and synergy between these sources.
At the core of the two branches is data.
IT = how data is assembled, structured, stored, secured and dispersed
Marketing = how data is utilized, analyzed, modeled, made actionable and measured
Strengthen your Infrastructure and Marketing by developing blended strategies, projects and metrics. And optimize your investment by no longer operating them as cost-centers, but instead as engines for revenue augmentation.
‘Design Thinking’ is a business methodology – and ultimately an attitude – being used by companies that have embraced digital transformation, re-orienting their strategy towards innovation and experimentation. To be on the front end of this, there are essential changes to how an organization reasons and rationalizes its way of doing business.
Fundamental to Design Thinking and Digital Transformation
Be open to new information and uncommon ideas
Embrace uncertainties as part of exploring and exploiting opportunities
Experiment: hypothesize and employ rapid testing and iterations for validation
Understand that trial n’ error actions are constructive
Make it a priority to be data-informed for forecasting, identifying patterns and better pathways
Socially listen to gauge sentiments and to capture real-time interests, motives and preferences of customers
Perform journey mapping across the customer’s ecosystem (not your own)
Be channel agnostic
Require that customers will benefit from the outcome of every decision
Shifting the collective mindset of a company in order to gain from design thinking can be fraught with obstacles and resistance. You must be patient and persistent, providing ample time to stir curiosity, foster esteem, inspire cultural growth, and build momentum among team members.
At a time when technology and touch points dominate commerce, brand and marketing strategies are becoming increasingly fluid. To ensure your programs deliver the desired results, consider the following:
A Marketing leader must serve as a powerful brand voice and ambassador, as well as a pragmatic change agent in pursuit of market positioning in the digital age.
How do you constructively and convincingly establish a formidable marketing axis?
Continually get exposure across your industry and the competition, gaining critical insights on cutting-edge business practices. Seek out trends, anomalies, disruptions, and novel ideals that are essential to weigh and factor them into your chartered course.
Similar to a sales or operations leader, those overseeing brand and marketing programs must be subject matter experts with well-defined action plans.
I’ve discovered that one’s approach to business is everything. Being open, curious, agile and engaging are the foundations to flourishing as a valuable leader, partner and team member. Strategy requires a 360 degree view.
And being meaningful to your audience matters. A company’s business strategy must be, above all else, relevant and applicable, as well as capable of being successfully achieved and measured.
Some insights to construct and execute your project in thriving fashion.
Articulate well and be specific
Set goals, milestones and benchmarks in advance
Envision and communicate future needs and requirements
Avoid an idealistic approach and rigid tactics
Adopt realistic expectations
Prepare for obstacles and constraints
Address concerns and overcome objectives
Assess proposed shifts with prudence and diligence
Monitor momentum (or lack of)
Track performance against milestones
Evaluate progress and analyze results
#4 Digital Rapport
We are saturated in messaging, moments and ‘must haves’. There needs to be breathing room and a balance of touch points, cadence and social bearing. Allow the audience to gravitate at their pace, not on your demand.
Lean into them, don’t loom over them.
Share an affinity, don’t shout a message.
The user journey must demonstrate commonality at its core along with intrigue sprinkled throughout the landscape. It’s imperative to remember that the aim is for a unique, persuasive and enduring experience. Make your business model sufficiently experimental and permeable to continually modify, reallocate and curve direction, which must be closely tested to assess market penetration and customer responses.
#5 Final Thoughts
Frequently research and refresh your company’s business intelligence to ensure your strategy doesn’t become stale or antiquated.
Be open to changing course when evidence clearly shows a need to pivot.
And of utmost importance, go for a joy-ride in your work! Let the love in! Having a true, deep passion for you work means you get to live the dream.