The pundits are decrying that marketers must embark on a Home style epic of Digital Transformation lest they get cast aside and fade into the dark waters of history. In our conversation with clients and other senior marketing management people, the overwhelming response, essentially, when asked about Digital Transformation has been “I still don’t understand what it really means and it sounds scary.” So let’s cut through the hype and boil it down to basics.
Transformation or Evolution?
These are two distinctly different words with very different approaches. That’s why we start here. If you’re transforming your business or marketing department, it’s usually because you’re in deep trouble and you need to make huge changes. Most marketing departments aren’t in that much trouble and if they are, it likely means the business as a whole is in trouble and needs to transform to survive.
So a better word is more often, evolution. It’s more approachable to senior management, can take away the fear of massive costs and upheavals. And it’s more accurate.
Digital Doesn’t Mean Everything And It Doesn’t Mean Digital
The word “digital” today has become somewhat diluted and broad in it’s meaning. Take the words “digital strategy” to marketing that means how you’re marketing in digital channels, to executive management it means the corporate strategy.
And, digital is a replacement word for “technology.” Because as marketers, we needed a better word that “cyber” and the words information technology or IT don’t work well. So really, we marketers only have ourselves to blame for creating this kerfuffle.
Cutting Through the Hype
When you’re looking to do a “digital transformation” all this means, cutting through the hype, is using new technologies or repurposing existing ones and mixing and matching.
What you are looking to do with adding new technologies is to improve operational efficiencies (workflow, collaboration, asset management etc.) or improve how you reach and connect with audiences (social media, advertising etc.) The art is what tools you keep, what you toss and how you mix and match.
That really, at the end of the day, is all a digital transformation (evolution), really is. How successful such an activity is depends largely on senior management support and good consultants that aren’t trying to sell you on a specific solution, but rather one that fits your need. This is hard since most consultants are resellers or systems integrators for one solution or another.
So step back, take a deep breath and see through the hype. It can save a lot of anxiety, stress and money.

About the Author webconomist

Giles is a globally experience marketing communications practitioner with over 20 years experience in the technology sector. He's brought a number of innovative technology products and services to market around the world. His work as a digital anthropologist is now over a decade of digital research understanding how consumers use technology. Giles is regularly interviewed by news media on digital topics. Currently he is managing partner of Ekspansiv, a consulting firm focusing on MarTech, SalesTech and Marketing Operations (MarOps). He's on the organising committee for the Atlantic Big Data Congress and co-founder/creator of the Ice Awards for creative in advertising. Giles has worked in senior management in both public and private companies and has been involved with 4 startups; three successful and one failed.

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