Altimeter recently released their 2016 State of Digital Transformation report. They define digital transformation as “The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.”
This year’s report detailed that while many companies are making progress towards digital transformation, they are also experiencing significant challenges in reaching this goal.
Companies have grown to understand that improved customer experience is the cornerstone of effective digital marketing. In this year’s study, customer experience was listed as the top driver for digital transformation. Of the digital leaders surveyed by Altimeter, 55% pinpointed changing customer behaviors and preferences as the most important influence on their digital transformation efforts.
As important as customer experience is, companies are struggling to develop the marketing strategies needed to understand and meet customer needs.
5 Stumbling Blocks on the Road to Digital Transformation
1) Incomplete understanding of mobile customer journey.
While Altimeter found that 54% of companies have mapped out the entire customer journey, only 20% are studying the mobile customer journey. Customers interact with brands through mobile devices in unique ways, which demands that companies rethink their approaches to the customer journey.
Google coined the term micro-moments to describe how consumers use hundreds of brief interactions through mobile devices to learn about products and services before making purchasing decisions. These micro-moments further disrupt the already fragmented cross-channel customer journeys.
2) Inability to understand new connected customers.
When companies fail to map customer journeys, they lose out on opportunities to learn from new customers. Of the digital leaders surveyed, 71% listed understanding new connected customer behavior and impact as a challenge.
Loyal customers provide a history of past interactions that companies can use to forecast future trends. But companies also need to compile datasets for analysis from the interactions they have with newer customers. Instead of drawing on past purchases for insight, they need to consider how these new customers browsed and sifted through options before making their first purchase.
3) Gaps in content strategy.
Even though content analytics are among the top performance metrics, only 22% of companies have a content strategy that addresses every stage of the customer journey. Content enables companies to engage with customers no matter where they are on the path to a purchase. Blogs, videos, or white papers can be used to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry.
Search Engine Journal stresses that content can be used for more than attracting and engaging with new customers. Once a consumer has converted, your business can encourage their loyalty and create opportunities for referrals by creating content for the post-purchase stages of the customer journey.
4) Need to change company culture.
Many companies are being held back from digital transformation by an aversion to risk. Of the respondents, 63% felt company culture needed to change for true digital transformation to take place. Companies must decide on how digital transformation will be handled at the leadership level and across the business.
Changes need to start at the top of the business hierarchy. However, companies can’t agree on who should be responsible for digital transformation. Some organizations have appointed Chief Digital Officers or CMOs to handle the transformation, while only 19% of CIOs are involved. The leaders who take on digital transformation often work in isolation.
To make digital transformation work, companies need to involve the entire company in the process, not just leadership and IT. The most effective way to achieve company-wide change is by instituting formal work groups or Centers of Excellence (COEs) devoted to digital transformation. While 81% of companies have digital departments, only 40% have COEs.
5) Lack of information to argue for the value of digital transformation.
As with any important business initiative, digital leaders need to be able to state their case for implementing digital strategies for digital transformation to take place. Altimeter found that 69% of respondents lack the information about return on investment and other benefits necessary to convince leadership to support digital initiatives.
CFOs want to see the impact digital marketing has on the bottom line before investing in new or innovative strategies. Fornaise Marketing Group reports that 90% of global marketers lack the training to calculate return on investment and 80% have trouble showing the business benefits of their digital marketing investments. More companies need to use analytics to demonstrate the positive impact digital marketing initiatives are having on profitability.
Continuing the Digital Evolution
Companies have made strides since the last digital transformation report, but more work still needs to be done. As customer experience emerges as a priority, companies must strengthen their data analytics to map and understand evolving customer journeys. The insights gained from customer experience data will give digital leaders the evidence they need to demonstrate the value of digital initiatives to decision makers.
Not every business has access to the analytics tools and know-how necessary to accelerate digital transformation. When your business partners with Pluris, you harness the analytics expertise needed to develop a transformative digital marketing strategy.
What’s standing in the way of your company’s digital transformation? Let Pluris help you overcome the obstacles.