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Why digital transformation doesn’t have to be all or nothing

Are you where you want to be when it comes to digital transformation? B2B Marketing trainer, Steve Kemish provides his advice to propel your marketing to the forefront.

Is B2B lagging behind when it comes to digital transformation?

Steve: In general terms, there are still a lot of B2B organisations in traditional or controlled industries. So in simple terms I think there’s quite a lot of work to do. That said, if you look at the B2B Marketing Awards every year, there are a lot of progressive organisations out there that are not just keeping up with consumer companies but are ahead of the kerb.

What do you think stops marketers from reaching their potential in digital?

Sometimes it’s a lack of knowledge and education. If you take something like search, which is quite a technical subject, you need to understand enough to know how to start the process of transformation.

It will be a cultural thing, so resistance may be outside the marketing department, but if you’ve got a very traditional industry it can be difficult to make that change.

It may be a budgetary thing as well, if you’re trying to move from traditional to digital there is going to be that interim period where perhaps you’ve got both things running so there’s additional cost as well as risk factor.

My advice to businesses is always look for quick wins and to start small, then scale up. Try to use some of the lower cost (or even free) digital marketing technology to prove the concept and potential.

How can marketers make their digital overhaul less daunting?

Digital transformation means many things to many different people. It isn’t about is forgetting everything you’ve done before. For most B2B organisations it will be a blend, a case of complementing rather than conflicting. Instead of turning off everything you know and starting a fresh, work out how you can weave in a few more aspects of digital into your approach.

If you want to ‘go digital’ where should you start?

The first thing you should do is audit what you have – that includes your tech, your offerings and your capabilities. For example, understand the customer touch points along the sales and marketing journey, then ask what the best channels are for each stage. Some of those channels might be digital but some could be traditional as well. It also pays dividends to carry out competitor and industry analysis. Then it’s a case of prioritising the most critical aspects of digital.

During his B2B Marketing training course, Steve will share his six step strategy by covering:

  • Market
  • Insight
  • Customer
  • Objectives
  • Targeting
  • Measurement

What are the misconceptions of digital transformation in B2B?

I think there’s a fear that it’s all or nothing. Good transformation in B2B will be about working out where the obvious opportunities are rather than feeling you have to do everything.

There are also a lot of people who will just sell the dream of transformation by pushing their technology. The classic example is marketing automation; it can be a brilliant set of technology, but if you’ve not done the due diligence to work out if you’ve got the right content, you’ve sunk money into something the business perhaps didn’t need.

How are you aiming to help marketers with your course?

I want to give them confidence in terms of the digital landscape and what the current technology channel looks like. We’ll start to think about how to prioritise and change the business, while being able to keep an eye on the future.

Things change quickly in B2B marketing technology and trends. We will build up rigour, so you can evaluate the technology or technique that’s brought to you, and know if their relevant and fit for purpose for your business.

My stock phrase for this is ‘experience is not a monopoly on good ideas’. In face-to-face training, you’ll have lots of different levels of experience and seniority to draw on, it’s a collaborative session. Quite selfishly, I always learn something from someone in the room, regardless of whether they’ve been in marketing six months or 60 years.

What is the future of digital? What skills and working methods will be most in-demand?

It does change a lot but I think at the moment a marketing department that’s trying to ready themselves needs people who are data-driven. Although there is artificial intelligence and other emerging tech that some might argue will replace the human and the written word, there is no substitute for good content. If you can get those two parts together it becomes a lot easier.

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