Companies are wrapping their head around the idea that they might need to adopt new technology solutions to support their growth. To improve the companies’ performance, marketing is the lowest hanging fruit, as they have been considered for a long time as an art and craft department. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s CEO, calls this transformation the “New Retail.” It can be applied to finance, travel, healthcare sectors and even services.
There are three phases that I consider when I analyze companies, and as a stakeholder, there are several opportunities to help them grow.
Those companies understand that marketing technologies are important, and are going further by creating a website, sometime several, that acts as a digital billboard. These websites are mostly a lead generation tool where people come and can send their requests. Most of the time someone in these companies answers online inbound contact, but their sales team is often exhausted because of unqualified requests and all the spams they receive.
Most of the companies in this phase are looking at marketing technology as a means to an end with a lifespan similar to a product lifecycle. Technology is used as a different set of nuts and bolts used to help employees reach new audiences that are using digital platforms. They understand that things come and go and that digital marketing is no different.
These companies are, for the most part, older companies that have already been through changes and can adapt, and adopt new trends to meet their market needs. Martech is not part of their long-term marketing strategy, only as a collections of new features. To lead in the digital economy, companies need to redesign their operating models, using old architectures to adopt new technologies won’t work.
Those companies are in the process of integrating digital strategies to their core business architecture. They understand that digital technology is bringing a fundamentally different shift in the market, across industries. Their future growth will be supported by millennials who are entering the workforce with new expectations, and have been raised with digital platforms for twenty-something years. Digital transformation is a way to cater to millenials’ needs and eventually anticipate their new buying behaviors in its no more B2C or B2B, but Human-To-Human.
Companies in the process of digital transformation have a staff of marketers and IT that have strong experience in new technologies and are charged to bring some of this je ne sais quoi to the rest of the organization. By bringing transformation to the other departments of the company, they’ll gain fundamental operational improvements.
From customer support, with a Help Desk Software, to sales, with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and supply chain, with an Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), all areas of the company can benefit from digital improvements. A lot of companies are going through these changes as we speak. According to a Gartner’s survey done to 3,160 CIOs, 95 % of them expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitization.
CIO magazine estimates that 40% of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations, with enterprises spending in excess of $2 trillion in 2019.
Digital transformation is a big business, and a lot of companies are in the process of digitalizing their whole operations.
Those companies are using their tech stack to gain advantage against large competitors. They have a limited number of people that leverage automation and AI to improve results. According to Forrester, advanced digital businesses use four times the number of marketing technologies compared to immature digital businesses. They use more automation to improve their sophistication and have a laser target execution. During my last talk with Sangram Vajre for the #flipmyfunnel podcast, he wanted to understand how can a limited team use the account based marketing model and penetrate markets that are owned by historic giants. It is just like in the story of David and Goliath, he had a target and went for the softest spot.
According to Lee research, 80% of companies think they’re providing superior service while only a tenth of those actually do. Those tech-savvy companies center their whole organization around the customer obsession and want to provide the best experience from the first hyper-targeted and customized ad impression (with their favorite ABM platform) to the time when they are happy loyal customers. They have a full view of the customer journey, can measure and make micro-improvements to improve execution of the strategy.
These companies are vertically integrated, and all employees are involved in the customer happiness from the bottom up. There are very little politics allowed in these organizations because when politics and red-tape get into the discussion, it gets away from the customer obsession.
To conclude, Agile businesses are leading the productivity way, and Martech is helping these companies grow. Smaller startup-like firms are competing hard in niche markets and are disrupting their industries. More than a temporary trend, digital and AI are changing the way people are doing business. Historical large businesses, need to transform their operation to lead their market. Marketers have to stay focused; we tend to be attracted to shiny tech objects. We need to tie Martech tools to the company’s vision.
David Cummings just wrote an awesome post about vision and opportunities.