Four key digital transformation trends you must pay attention to right now

ClickZ-Intelligence

Last week ClickZ Intelligence held its webinar on The What, Why and How of Digital Transformation in association with Marketo.

If you missed it, it’s now available on demand where you can listen to the high level overview from me, and actionable information from Marketo’s VP of demand generation Heidi Bullock and Hero K12’s head of marketing Bryan Lanadburu.

As a taster, I’ve summarised just a few of the key points from the webinar for you to read below…

The increasing speed of technological and consumer change creates a need for companies to act differently – or suffer the consequences

Taking a view of the long term trend over the current century and the last, it is clear that digital technologies such as smartphones are just one of a number of changes that have emerged and reached mass market adoption with an increasing speed.

Before the internet, innovations such as the telephone, refrigerator and clothes washer came to market at an accelerating pace, as shown in this chart from HBR.

Digital transformation and speed of consumer change

Today, we are now in a situation where adoption of products and services by hundreds of millions of people can occur in a blindingly short time – the recent explosion of Pokemon Go being further evidence of this.

Established companies of all sizes are being challenged by this increasingly rapid pace as fast-moving startups with more of an eye on customer centricity than internal process adherence eat into market share.

It is this changing set of circumstances that has caused a spike in interest around the idea of digital transformation, as illustrated by this chart of search volumes from Google Trends.

Digital transformation search volume from Google Trends

Digital transformation has multiple definitions but common themes

There doesn’t exist a single, accepted definition for digital transformation, however common themes do emerge.

The first is obviously around technology. Businesses with established processes and ways of working may not be making the most of new tools that are available to grow and protect market share.

The second is around business transformation. The reason why many businesses use legacy technology and lack innovative ways of working is because they have processes, skill sets and cultures that create barriers to moving quickly. While marketing often drives and sets an agenda for digital transformation, doing so requires the buy in and support of multiple departments.

The third is around customer experience. As previously mentioned, it is too common an occurrence that companies look inward at the status quo rather than outward towards the needs of their customers. Customer centricity is an element that needs to be deeply embedded as part of any serious digital transformation effort.

Technology, techniques, teams and talent will help you win

/IMG/582/278582/marketo-logo-large-320x198In the panel discussion, Heidi Bullock from Marketo emphasised that the reason why businesses need to care about the shift to digital channels (with people now spending over eight hours per day using them) is because digital channels are where your customers are. Luckily, 93% of multinational companies are in the process of changing their business models to adapt.

These adaptation requires aligning the three areas of techniques, teams and talent, and technology. By doing so, you can start to take steps towards improving your business processes to enable your company to adapt to the speed of digital change.

You don’t have to be huge to be very successful

HeroK12 and digital transformationBryan Landaburu of Hero K12 shared his lessons at a company which has been moving in a transformative direction for only three years.

Hero K12 is a tool that is sold to schools and school districts to keep track of pupil performance and behavior. Students can be recognized in a positive way and change school culture by focusing on positives rather than just discipline.

Leading a ‘hard pivot’, Bryan has switched marketing entirely from an old way of working involving trade shows, advertising and mass media to an entirely inbound approach, having people learn about it through lightweight interactions over time delivered by Marketo. Everything was reinvented, with business processes and the product also changing.

The result is that a product which helps millions of students at thousands of schools (with thousands more software users interacting everyday on the platform) is served by a company of only 35 people and a marketing team of just four staff.

This provides an example of how an effective transformation can result in a highly efficient and brilliant experience for customers, even in industries and sectors where old ways of working can be difficult to change.

Are you dealing with the issue of digital transformation? Then make sure you come to Shift on August 30th 2016 in San Francisco. A limited number of complimentary passes are available so make sure to register your interest!

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