After 7 years in marketing automation and over 1000 implementations there is one common problem no matter what industry you are in, and that is NO DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY. 9 out of 10 purchases of marketing automation software have been without a digital transformation strategy in place, no alignment of marketing and corporate objectives, the wrong type of resources and skill sets internally, and no journey maps of an end-to-end customer lifecycle. It shocks me sometimes when I come into run my workshop and it’s the first time that Sales, Marketing, IT, and Customer Service have come together in the same room, let alone the first time they have even met. You really wonder how some of these big enterprises still survive (or how long they have left before they get disrupted).
Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital Transformation is literally a full-scale change of an organisation from its Strategy, Operations, Campaigns, and Technology. This often will have an impact directly to the products/services they offer, who they sell to, and how it goes to market. This means that anyone in the organisation that influences the end customer will be impacted by this transformation. Hence, these are the people you will need involved right from the beginning if you decide on embarking on a Digital Transformation program. Many start with Technology but this is the last thing you should be thinking about when embarking on Digital Transformation. If you somehow purchased technology and there is no clear defined strategy in place, it is probably a good time to stop now.
Typically, when I ask organisations if I can see the End-to-End Customer Lifecycle, in most cases I get awkward silence in the room. It is so important to take the time and draw out the current Customer Journeys that are in place and to visualise what the experience will be like for your customers. You will quickly identify that your Customer Journeys (if there are any) are disjointed and there are a lot of gaps in the campaigns that you are currently running. What we have found that works really well for organisations is to run a Journey Design Workshop that is facilitated by a Customer Experience Expert who will be able to input industry best practices and valuable insights on journey designing.
Marketing Automation will no doubt drive success but like any sporting team you need talented players, dedicated roles, ability to find opportunities and a clear strategy. Many organisations tend to look for someone that has experience in Marketing Automation, knows how to build a strategy, understands the technical requirements, can design customer journeys, build emails, SMS, push notifications, social posts, advertisements, and the list goes on. We call someone like this a ‘Ninja’. Not only do these people do not exist in this world but if you somehow find a ‘Ninja’ expect to be paying over $200,000 in salary. Point is that to drive successful Marketing Automation, you need resources with dedicated roles and specific skills sets that can work together well under the guidance of the strategy.
Now with your Strategy in place and your Customer Lifecycle mapped out, you should be able to easily identify the Technology that will enable success. It is still frustrating to see organisations that release RFIs, RFTs, and RFPs, and make themselves spend months and months going through a rigorous process of hundreds of pages which contains everyone saying that they can meet your requirements. You need to find a Marketing Automation expert who can help you understand the different Marketing Automation platforms and knows which platform will actually achieve your Strategy and drive success.