Digital Transformation and the Human Element

As organizations embark on their digital transformation journey, the focus can often be on building digital capabilities to maximize efficiency and deliver revenue growth. It’s important, however, to not forget that there is a human factor in the equation.

Tanya Mas, CMO, Strategy Execution and Margaret Wise, CRO, Arke led the CMO Club Virtual Roundtable, Digital Transformation and the Human Element, addressing the need to focus on that human element in order to truly be successful.

Mas shared some current statistics about digital transformation, to set the foundation for where it stands:

  • 40% of all technology spending will go toward digital transformation in 2019.
  • AI spending is expected to total $35.8 billion in 2019.
  • 44% of companies have already moved to a digital-first approach for customer experience.
  • 34% of companies have already undergone a digital transformation.
  • 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one.

“From the way we do business, to the way we work, to the way we live, to the way we communicate, the speed of innovation has really transformed everything in our lives,” Mas said.

Today, more than 7,000 software solutions are available to marketers, up from just 150 in 2011, Mas said. While technology enables marketers to better do their jobs, finding the right balance is extremely important, she said.

In the 20 years since Wise started in CRM, she said she’s seen the shift from the struggle to gather data, to now drowning in so much data that we can’t find what we want.

A marketer’s job is to increase awareness, impact revenue growth and drive customer retention, Mas said. This involves an endless quest for better MQLs, better conversion, workflow optimization, and delivering measurable results.

At the same time, don’t implement technology for technology’s sake, Mas said. Put together a strategy for how all of this information and planning will intertwine and come together at the end.

Marketers are always thinking about efficiency – saving time and money – but that can cause them to neglect the customer and customer experience, Mas said. Instead, focus on connecting with the customer and driving meaningful dialog.

“They want authenticity in what we’re providing,” Mas said. “We need to provide content that has purpose, is actionable, and drives value.”

Since that digital toolset is endless, Mas said she’s yet to find a curated list of recommendations, however both Mas and Wise shared a few that do focus on the human element:

  • Influitive, to incorporate more customer advocacy and user-generated content, which Mas said is important.
  • Terminus, to target specific accounts with multiple contacts. Once you’ve identified your target audience and have a list, this will help prioritize those targets and enable the sales team to have the right actionable insights to do their jobs.
  • fullstory, for session replays, allowing you to see trends in how people are tracking on your site, where they click and what other decisions they’re making, Wise said.
  • Dupe Blocker, to help clean up your data. This integrates with SalesForce to identify duplicate leads when a lead is potentially being entered for a second time, Mas said.

Some legendary brands are leading the charge in driving their campaigns with emotion and personalization, Mas said. A few of those include Apple, Starbucks, Spotify, Amazon, Netflix and Nike.

Nike, for example, connects to egos, emotional states, aspirations and needs, Mas said. They’ve built loyalty across the world, and it’s always focused on hero and villain storyline – the hero is humble and tackling a challenge, and always prevails against all odds, she said. That connects to human emotion and brings fervor and excitement to what you see on the screen.

Wise shared an example from a quick serve restaurant they work with who at one time questioned how they could express ‘their pleasure’ to serve their customers via a drive thru window and then a mobile app. Yet this company found by addressing the customers’ needs of flexibility and convenience, they could still create great connections and loyalty.

In closing, Mas shared a few additional thoughts.

Storytelling is important, she said. Think about why your story is important to the customer, and why that customer should care.

“If you do keep that in mind, you’ll be leading with that component of the human factor,” she said.

Take time to pause and reflect. “It’s important to take the time to pause, quiet down the clatter, and reflect on where we’re going and what we might be missing, and determine how far off-track or on-track we are, so that we can identify and mitigate the risks along the way,” Mas said.

Understand strategy is no long a linear path. Instead, it’s an iterative process, Mas said. Adopt a growth mindset and become a lifelong learner.

“Everything is rapidly changing,” she said. “We have to keep up with so many things, and we have to be open to learning new things and developing new skills throughout our careers.”