Transformation has become an archetypal buzzword. Its connotations are hardwired into technological change, but there’s more to it than simply plugging in a new platform or solution and hoping for the best.
To demystify what transformation really means for global organisations, the latest Eloqua User Forum heard from Oracle Marketing Cloud experts and leading brand marketers on how to align people, process and technology to transform a company and drive long term success.
Opening the discussion, OMC’s Associate Director of Transformation Services EMEA, Abdul Hamid Ebrahim, tackled the language of transformation. “Often we talk of big ‘T’ transformation, it revolves around ‘market disruptors’ and the ‘pace of digital change’. This is too generic. In fact, we ought to be focused on small ‘t’ transformation, where incremental improvements to an organisation’s marketing efforts, driven by the adoption of particular technologies, significantly impact the achievement of its goals.”
With that in mind, what is the three-step process to transformation and true alignment?
1. Choose your model
Often this is referred to as an orchestration. In symphonies, a composer writes sheet music, a conductor conducts the performance, and musicians play their instruments. This represents the centralised model of alignment.
But it’s important to use an organisational structure that works for you. “There’s no right answer” as Kim Yeatman, Senior Demand Centre Director, Clarivate Analytics shared. “For us, a purely centralised model simply places too much pressure on our team of specialists”.
So, should the organisation be more like an improvisational jazz band? There is a chart that outlines the basic melody but musicians improvise what they play and riff off one another.
“We considered a dispersed model at length, but the training requirements involved with offering regional teams that level of autonomy are substantial.” In the end, Clarivate Analytics opted for a hybrid model, “What works for us is offering the freedom to these teams to build campaigns that they know will resonate locally, but keeping that final authorisation to the experts.”
Once you have chosen your model, the next step is to align company executives. Their endorsement will be vital in driving the change through different regional teams and structures.
Broken and undefined processes result in inefficiencies, wasted time, and ultimately, wasted money. So, processes for campaign creation and execution, content creation, reporting and analytics and lead management should all be defined, documented, assigned owners, and have built in accountability.
For Rosemin Patel, Head of Digital & Marketing Operations EMEA, Ricoh Europe, one of the biggest challenges was the sales and marketing alignment. “Historically, leads had been handed over as business cards or even just attendee lists from events. People and process is important – making sure sales appreciate the value of new marketing technology and how leads are now qualified is essential. Their involvement here gives them a sense of ownership.”
This is equally true of the IT team. Technology and data integration is essential for transformation efforts to extend consistently throughout the organisation. Without any involvement, the IT team will continue to look at the world through their IT lens, it’s important to get them on side early, host workshops and consultations so they’re happy new systems make sense.
3.Training and refinement
It’s critical to invest the time and money into training your team and developing their skills and expertise around the model you chosen, processes you have built and platforms you purchased. But it is crucial to think beyond just technical training. Professional and strategic training are equally as important.
However, upskilling can be tricky to win investment for. As Abdul pointed out, the CFO of your organisation will likely express concern at the thought of training a marketer only to have them leave the company. While perfectly valid, a far more compelling problem occurs when marketers aren’t trained and they stay.
The days of setting an annual plan in motion and letting it play out with few adjustments are gone. Technology gives new tools every month and it is imperative your organisation is set up to respond in an agile way. This sits at the heart of small ‘t’ transformation. It’s not just a survival tactic, it’s the key to competitive advantage.
If you enjoyed reading this, you don’t miss Abdul Hamid Ebrahim’s blog The Big and Small ‘T’ in Digital Transformation.