Digitalisation is far from a new topic. The adoption of digital practices across all business channels has been happening for a while
As marketers, our focus has been to effectively leverage digital platforms for lead generation, lead nurture, brand awareness and other key initiatives. But what does the bigger picture look like?
Why we’re doing this
Taking a quick step back, it’s important to remember one of the key reasons why digital has become so important – our customers. The behaviour of B2B buyers demands that we improve our approach to digital. The way consumers research and purchase products or services in a B2B environment is increasingly reflecting their B2C habits.
They expect certain channels, certain choices, they’re less afraid to shop around which makes things more competitive. They want a seamless journey, expect consistency and for a range of information to be readily available online. The younger generation of buyers who are entering and progressing their role as a key decision maker only adds to this further.
Digitalisation needs to involve business-wide digital transformation
As opposed to just digitalising marketing, in order to effectively meet these B2B buyer needs we need to focus on business-wide digital transformation. Marketing is just one piece of the puzzle, but without the whole business on-board the end-to-end experience required just can’t be delivered.
Marketing is key in driving business transformation
Digital transformation presents an opportunity for marketers to drive this process forward and gain recognition. By educating other internal stakeholders, helping to shape the transformation (aligning it with customer needs) and facilitating the whole project we can both get what we want and reiterate our strategic value.
It’s a lot of work, and leading by example is certainly a good start. As we first mentioned, we’re doing this for our customers so it’s always crucial to bear their desires in mind. Better still, why not talk to them and seek their input?
The importance of listening
If you’re going to embark on a project of this nature, you need to both ask for feedback and listen to it. You can’t reinvent the wheel overnight, nor should you end up in a place where your organisation is unrecognisable and not still playing to its heritage and expertise. It’s about asking the right questions, interpreting feedback and conveying that across your organisation.
Fostering a digital culture
For something like this to work, other stakeholders and your employees need to be interested. Involve representatives from each department in this process. Make them feel valuable, instil curiosity and get them to help you see the project through. Ask them to get feedback from their wider teams to bring to the table. As they say, many hands make light work and multiple heads are better than one.
Don’t spend forever on the research and theory part. You’re never going to know everything, so be bold and embrace a ‘fail fast’ philosophy. Trial and error is often the quickest way to the best solution and, when controlled properly, this approach won’t do damage so really there’s nothing to lose.