Forrester reported last year that “firms think they are transforming, but many don’t realize that transformation will be a permanent state of being.”
Principal Analyst Ted Schadler went on to write:
“21% of firms think their transformation is done and dusted. Really? Done? Another 22% are investigating or not transforming at all. And while 56% of firms are transforming, their level of investment and scope of transformation are still mostly small. For example, only 34% of banks and insurers are even bothering to transform marketing and only 45% are transforming customer care — too few given consumers’ of mass adoption of mobile devices.”
At the same time, the role of marketing in digital transformation is in flux.
A more recent Forester report this year found that less than a quarter of CMOs are directly responsible for leading their firm’s digital transformation strategy and only 16% are leading its execution.
“This is likely attributed to the CMO’s high turnover, which presents the challenge of delivering short-term customer satisfaction and long-term digital transformation simultaneously.”
CMOs have the highest turnover and shortest tenure in the C-suite. A Korn Ferry report found that the average CMO tenure was 4.1 years (half the average CEO tenure of 8 years).
A factor of this short tenure relates to an organization “not being well aligned behind the change that the CMO is tasked with leading.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Digital Transformation” October 2018
(This cartoon post has already been seen more than two million times since October).
3 CommentsJoin the Discussion
Ori Pomerantz says
With all due respect to marketing, they are *not* the correct department to do digital transformation. Marketing can bring customers to the door, but the customers aren’t there for the marketing. They are there for the goods and/or services that R&D develops and operations provide. Those are the places where digital transformation needs to happen to be meaningful. Marketing can provide useful input (this is what we think people want) and communicate the new benefits (hey, now you can watch your widget being manufactured in real time), but business is ultimately about the customer. Marketing may care about the customer, but the customer doesn’t care much about the marketing.
Then again, it seems that marketing is also the designated scapegoat when things fail.
Jason Cross says
Don’t confuse “marketing” with “advertising”. Marketers are (supposed to be) the voice of the customer.. this includes advising the business on how to improve its product/service, processes, customer service, price point etc (based upon observation, feedback and research with customers). This is where marketing can inform the transformations that need to happen – marketing may not necessarily “lead”, but is/ should be an important stakeholder in such a project.
My feelings align with Jason’s — though I think marketing SHOULD lead, or at least be perceived as being a primary leader (by example and action, not mandate!) of business strategy and growth based on everything Jason mentions. (But in my experience, tough to find the right people for that — and 4.1 years average tenure for CMO’s suggests it’s tough for companies to be patient enough to let it happen.)
And I respectfully disagree with Ori as the whole point of any type of “digital transformation” (marketing or otherwise) is very much about bringing “customers to the door.” Otherwise, why do any of the other things you mentioned? An organization needs to be driven by an understanding of the customer first and all the rest is about connecting a brand to those people and needs.
Also think that once again someone dreamed up yet another term which is open to a certain amount of “in the eye of the beholder” interpretation.
In the end, it always comes back to marketing fundamentals — what does the customer need, how can we satisfy that need, develop solutions to meet those needs, determine how to let the right customers know we have a solution, etc.
30 years ago, marketers addressed “how to let the right customers know” via commercials, print ads, circulars, in-store merchandising, product packaging, etc.
Today, all of the above may still apply — or not — but now there are new tools which are of course digital.
Sure, call it “digital transformation” because we love our buzz-terms, but it’s just another step in the never-ending evolution of marketing taking advantage of ever-evolving new tools and tactics.
And like everything else in the marketing historical timeline, some get on board early, some later, and some suffer from lagging behind!