Digital Transformation: Are you ready?

Ben Johnson

Senior Copywriter, Jellyfish

A version of this article was published in Forbes, Business Reporter and The Telegraph.

In marketing, true digital transformation is an ongoing narrative involving a mindset shift in attitudes and capabilities, not just achieving ‘digital nirvana’.

Thanks to the global pandemic of 2020, businesses don’t have a choice but to digitally transform. According to Cisco Systems, “At least 40 per cent of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.”

The pace of change has always been rapid in digital marketing. On a daily basis, we might encounter algorithm updates, data privacy legislation and new tools and technology, as well as fierce competition and changing customer expectations. The digital marketing landscape shifts often and without warning.

Most businesses have already embraced some form of digitisation, especially throughout the global pandemic, which saw many businesses sending their teams to work from home. Whilst being able to carry out the same tasks remotely is a big step in the right direction, the act of true transformation is one of capability and culture. From being solidly set up for marketing on your terms to thriving in a constant state of flux, businesses need to be ready, digitally, for every eventuality.

At Jellyfish, we believe true readiness must manifest on four key fronts; data, people, technology and creativity. The video below shows how we partnered with Deckers Brands to help them transform their business for the digital space, using the four key fronts.

How can I get ready for digital transformation?

1.  Readying your data

Do you understand your current data flows and what they are telling you? Can you analyse your data in real-time, via smart dashboards and feeds, or do you wait for that monthly or quarterly report?

Digital transformation starts with the vast appreciation of the marketing potential for data. You’re looking in the right direction if you want to use data to improve consumer experiences or assist you in making better marketing decisions. It’s critical to be able to look at the data now, and in time, adapt to what’s ahead.

Data readiness is about having the knowledge at your fingertips to inform or inspire agile decision-making, rather than being constantly behind the curve.

2.  Adapting your culture

Digital marketing efforts are inherently connected to the customer perspective. Each failure to link channels or tactics in a marketing ecosystem represents a new kind of opportunity cost.

Imagine each advert, social post, email, blog or product page as a separate salesperson. Even if each is fantastic at what they do, they still need to cooperate, talk to each other, and understand their roles. If they fail to do this – or are incentivised to fight over the same sales commission – they’ll drive customers away.

Yet this is exactly the world many marketing departments are set up to perpetuate – both internally (a “social” budget versus a “performance” budget) and in terms of connections to the wider business (versus more integrated strategies encompassing ecommerce or customer servicing). And they are missing many value-creation opportunities along the way.

Transformation is always, at its heart, cultural. Is your organisation ready to move from the safety of extensive, pre-launch plans to a messy world of constant in-market experimentation and measurement? A fearless willingness to test, learn and refine on the go? If so, you’re nearly ready.

3.  Integrating your technology

If you know how to ask the right questions of your data and give the right incentives and training to your people, you will soon start to test the limits of your marketing technology and see real results.

Digital transformation requires an integrated marketing technology platform. This sets a foundation for proper cross-channel performance measurement, regulates wasteful duplication of effort – and critically, scales in response to additional integrations as they become available.

Read how we introduced Puig to the right tools and knowledge to drive performance far into the future.

4.  Optimising your creativity

There are some things in marketing that have always held true. One of those is that great creativity can cut through and deliver better ROI than the smartest media buy.

In the digital world, your creative needs the same adaptability as your data, people and tech. The most agile, data-driven media plan is nothing if the content doesn’t resonate with the audience at the moment. The creative assets you deploy must be as digitally responsive as the rest of your ecosystem.

Google has reported seeing a whopping 150% increase in performance when creativity and media have been properly aligned. Agile asset optimisation ensures your marketing story can not only keep pace with the digital ecosystem and culture you’ve put in place but can also bring out the best in it.

Rethinking readiness

The massive societal and commercial shifts we saw in 2020 have revealed organisational fissures with unprecedented clarity. As we look into 2021 and beyond, we should expect the pace to continue, if not accelerate. The right way forward will vary from case to case, but it’s the adaptive skill underpinning true digital transformation that holds the key for every business. Hesitation is not an option. Change can happen quickly. Businesses must stay nimble, and ready.