Who should lead the digital transformation of your marketing?

P&L Responsibility

Be under no illusion that a digital transformation is a strategic initiative that is going to affect every aspect of your marketing function. It involves hiring people with different skills and letting established team members go. It also involves P&L responsibility – in fact the main driver for digital transformation is not the lure of technology but financial constraints – doing more marketing with less people and less budget.

Fighting departmental battles

What you do will also have a big impact on your sales team. For instance you will be spending a lot less on corporate hospitality which takes some explaining. So you need a very senior advocate who will fight those departmental battles for you.

Digital transformations have to be led by the top person in marketing, whether that is a CMO, Global VP of Marketing, or a Marketing Director.

“It’s never been more important for senior business leaders to carry the torch for digital transformation within their organization,” said Don Schuerman, CTO and VP of product marketing at Pegasystems.

Not a “Digital Native”?

The fact that it does need to be led by someone so senior has an inherent challenge. If you work for a decent sized tech company your CMO is likely in their forties. Therefore they are definitely not digital natives. In fact the basics of marketing they learnt 20 years ago are the very practices digital transformation makes redundant. In addition they will never have the time to actually learn how the new technologies like a marketing automation platform or a social media platform work. So it is a real challenge for them to lead something they don’t have hands on experience or an in-depth understanding of.

In this scenario CMO’s have to be comfortable making decisions without all of the information and moving forward with things that might not be perfect.

Expert assistance

At this stage it is often valuable for the CMO to get external support. Ideally they can find a consultant who has helped drive a digital transformation before who can set the course and foresee difficulties before they arise.

Martrain has consultants with experience of doing digital transformation projects with big companies like Vodafone and General Electric. They also have experience of setting up the marketing functions at start-ups where they can set up a truly digital function without having to compromise with legacy technology and skill sets. They can put a coherent plan together that addresses the technology, processes, culture and people issues inherent in these projects.

What if you can’t get senior buy-in for digital transformation?

For all the reasons set out above, not having senior buy-in and leadership will make a large scale digital transformation project virtually impossible. Indeed research by agency Organic and Marketing Week, reveals that 62% of staff feel the biggest barrier to digital transformation is not having a leadership mandate.

But if you are head of marketing for a business unit or product set it doesn’t mean you have to sit on your hands and do nothing.

Outsource inbound marketing campaigns

Martrain has developed a service that enables you to harness the latest digital marketing techniques and get immediate results. We call this Inbound Marketing as a Service (IMaaS). What you do is outsource the whole end to end inbound marketing process for your product set or business unit to us and we run the programme and deliver MQL’s to your pipeline. We take care of all the technology and integration either using your existing platforms, or the ones we run in-house. We cover every aspect of your sales funnel from awareness, consideration, decision and delight. We will run your social channels, your content, blogs, downloads, SEO, email workflows etc. You pay for the service on a monthly basis so you can run the service as a skunk works project with no capex involved.

Then, when you can see the results, you can present the IMaaS campaign as best practice to senior directors.

Once we prove it works, we can either teach your team how to run the campaigns themselves or take over more of the business units where needed.

Sometimes tech marketers get confused between simply doing inbound marketing and a full scale digital transformation project. Also sometimes the CMO hasn’t got time to retrain their teams and bring everyone on the journey. They need results quickly to hit their targets and so outsourcing the end to end lead generation process is the most effective way of getting those results.

In our eBook The 5 Biggest Challenges for the Digital Transformation of Tech Sector Marketing we will go through each challenge in detail, explaining why they are so troublesome, and giving you tips on how you can overcome them. We can’t make Digital Transformation simple for you, but we can make it achievable.