In the past years I worked on various projects around digital transformation and the need for businesses as well as its employees to change. As my previous employer provided networks and security for Data Centers the focus was on IT. Having said this, it became obvious from the beginning that this fundamental change is more than just a conversation about infrastructure. Digital Transformation is about business models. It is calling for new ways of working and entirely new approaches to communication. It affects the entire organization and obviously Marketing itself including each function. My belief as Marketer is that unless we transform ourselves we will be transformed. Unless we drive certain conversations we will be driven. The value of experience gained over years by many professionals will diminish if it is not transferred into the digital age. And it will go fast. On the other hand, this provides a great opportunity to step up if we take the right steps.
So I started to speak to my peers, read blogs, consult analysts, study books and attend conferences like the Modern Marketing Experience from Oracle in London and Munich or Digital Transformation Summits in Berlin. I also met with a 26-year- old (!) Digital Native who is a public speaker on “skills and structures in future marketing organizations”. As Marketing Leader being responsible for my team I had two questions in mind:
1. What skills does my existing team (that is already busy today) need to gain to improve their digital savviness and be prepared for the future?
2. What additional talents do I need to bring on board through additional headcount to fully make use of the tools we invested in?
The answers I got were fuzzy: “We don’t know ourselves and have just started”, “This needs an offline conversation so let’s set up a meeting”, “I will get back to you after the event” (which never happened), “We do not look into the organization but focus on tools”. In a nutshell people knew this was coming and that it will affect marketers but no one had a clear plan on what to do and how. My schedule in the previous job would not allow me to take the time and focus on this so I concluded that it is time to move on and start to find these answers myself. Time to use my knowledge and shape the future by supporting peers that seriously believe like me in the need to act now. Leaders that want to find the right mix between experienced marketers and new talent.
As I looked back at the work done in the past years around digital transformation a couple of things became clear as guiding stars for marketers and therefore my own consultancy:
1. Mindset: In order to succeed the thinking has to be (digitally) renewed. A true challenger mentality that questions and constantly optimizes the customer value is needed combined with the ability to execute.
2. Data-driven: The competence to measure, analyze and draw conclusions based on facts is needed to drive better results.
3. Agility: Real-time has to be the ultimate goal for everything.
4. ROI: The ability to demonstrate a measurable impact on the sales pipeline is a good foundation to strengthen Marketing’s position as new cross-functional organizational models emerge.
I will share my experiences in this blog in the future and would love to get feedback and hear about own experiences on your journey to the digital future.