Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation

What is digital transformation?


For marketers there are potentially two answers; Company or Marketing.

Company digital transformation

The first is a company wide holistic view. A complete change to the foundations of a business: from its operating model to its infrastructure. What it sells, to whom and how it goes to market. This type of ambitious digital transformation programme touches every function of a business; sales, marketing, purchasing, finance, HR, operations and IT. Both internal and external to the company. Porter’s value chain model maps out the areas. This is the most challenging but also the most beneficial transformation.

The other transformation is at a Marketing level, shifting to increased applications of digital marketing tools and techniques. Which one you’re attempting depends on the company mandate. CMOs can easily influence marketing digital transformation but to improve CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE is invariably going to mean transforming at a company level as outlined in this McKinsey model:


Marketing Digital Transformation

If the focus is on the narrower Marketing Digital Transformation then this 2016 SmartInsights report provides a robust strategic framework for the approach. If there is no strategy or plan don’t expect to be able to transform! Of the 1,096 companies surveyed 44% do not have a defined marketing strategy, 47% do not have a digital plan even though they are investing in digital marketing, and only 32% of companies had a digital (marketing) transformation plan in place. Only 10% have a process of continuous optimisation, in the next few years expect this to dramatically increase.

Overall companies often lack the tools, skills and integrations necessary to transform their digital marketing capabilities, and only 12% of companies reported they integrate digital within the wider marketing plan.

Use this Smartinsights tool to judge the sophistication of your digital marketing.


My role

I can help you digitally transform either marketing and/ or company wide. Often the transformation journey starts with Marketing and then reaches out to join up more more elements of the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.




Where to start? 

Review existing data, inter-relationships, platforms and the delivery of current CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

DATA: what customer data, where along the customer journey is it being extracted, where does it ‘live’, how is it currently being used (to benefit customers and internally), what value is it delivering?

CUSTOMER INSIGHTS: to understand the ‘why’,  get below the surface of brand issues and experience pain points. Piece together qual & quant, digital, operations, financial and real staff insights.

To be thorough I recommend also understanding competitive CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES.

I often find that companies are running multiple unconnected systems that are not focused around optimising the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. Ad hoc demographic, behavioural, transactional, and forecast data is squirrelled away in little pots around the company with different owners.

Bring it to life

Develop a vision of the end point for the customer, what’s it going to be like for them? Make it emotional as well as rational.

Plan out the ideal CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE at each touch point based on that vision, CUSTOMER INSIGHTS and BRAND.

Then map the systems, processes, tools, people and other capability needed to support the new CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

This is going to require cross department workshops and teamwork.

Making it real

There will be a gap between today and the vision.

Group development requirements into projects, give them to skilled teams with dedicated staff. Often existing resources can be tweaked to move fast and cost effectively.

Set delivery timelines, budgets and contingencies.

Repeat….ensure your brand keeps investing in CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE for competitive advantage.

3 prerequisites for Digital Transformation success:

I have learnt through leading numerous transformations that company culture plays a critical role in the speed and success of reinvention.


The business needs a clear future BRAND vision and transformation roadmap. For example how it will interact with customers, how it will build new propositions and what new capabilities, processes and technology are required.


All stakeholders to be aligned and pulling in the same direction based on a handful of strategic priorities. Successful DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION always involves wider integration within a company, staff and its stakeholders.


The ability for the organization to keep on learning. It views itself on a continuous learning and improvement cycle. In reality there are a hundred small improvement steps that join up to significantly improve the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.