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A Marketer's Take On Digital Transformation

Chief Digital Officers, marketing technologists, agile marketing scrum masters are all roles needed for the new digital marketing economy within the company marketing department. These new roles are needed for marketing technological change. Except it's not just a matter of hiring staff companies also need to consider cultural and organizational changes to cope with digital marketing technology change. All of these technology and organizational changes are described as digital transformation, one early pioneer in this thinking was an MIT Sloan School of Business and Capgemini study in 2011  Digital Transformation: A Road-Map for Billion-Dollar Organizations, although some of this thinking was heavily influenced by the IT side of the organization and CIO's. The space of change has heated up since 2011, and in 2014 we saw a really great study on Digital Transformation from the Altimeter Group, seriously thinking about how digital marketing technology is shaping the marketing department; the team there continue to issue reports. And in 2015 we already see another big study produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Marketo.

Thinkers have discussed much about how technology changes the market and consumers. And new methods for marketing with the new digital economy have developed and prospered; social media and content marketing, etc. Yet it's not until relatively recently marketers and companies faced such a slew of problems from the proliferation of devices, applications, social networks, mobile, technical SEO and channels. To be able to cope with the rise of multiple devices and channels, new processes and techniques for creative have to be developed. In turn a plethora of new skills and digital marketing roles are needed to execute. Plus, the increase in use of data and tools for analyzing and measuring the digital economy means again new skills are needed to excel. 
The underlying theme is that the business world got more complicated because of technology, the bar has been raised for the quality of content, and how content needs to be focused on each stage of the buyer journey, and so the people and expertise needed for developing, analyzing and measuring content at each stage is greater than in the old marketing world. To cope with this companies need to undergo a digital transformation. From gaining the knowledge to build a strategy that describes their buyers, their journey and what creative works at each stage of that journey. 
Marketers are focused on learning the new skills for digital marketing. But at the same time I believe there's a wider awareness that the path to success requires bigger solutions than becoming expertise on pinterest, or getting value out of analytics.Equally important to a successful digital transformation is the realization that marketers need new process tools and ways of doing business.

The resources required to succeed with digital transformation also affect business models. Companies with multiple brands have to balance the value of their brands against the resources needed to successfully market each brand in the new digital reality.  With scarce resources, there may not be enough resources to build the required digital technology infrastructure and expertise so that brands can compete in a transformed digital marketplace. In Make The Shift From Digital Marketing To Marketing In A Digital World from, "Marisa Ricciardi recounts that when she first joined NYSE as CMO five years ago, she saw somewhat of a flaw in how the marketing division was organized: Each country had its own marketing team. So Ricciardi centralized marketing in an effort to have the entire organization support a holistic strategy." Ricciaria stated, “We did this by bringing in more diverse talent, going for people with agency backgrounds, designers, journalists, etc., and we basically restructured how we operate,” Ricciardi said in an interview with CMO.comin September. “[As a result], we’ve become more business-focused and more efficient. Cross-functional collaboration means twice as many ideas.”

Consolidation of Brands May Give Companies a Competitive Advantage

As marketing increasingly becomes more about optimizing customer experience to compete, and content becomes part of the overall customer experience, and marketers start to have more control of the entire customer journey, companies cannot do things in half measures, because the new tools of journey mapping, marketing automation, and a new focus on customer experience mean that competitors don't even have to have a complete solution to that beats a company, partial execution can be enough of a competitive advantage that no one company can compete against the entire marketplace of competitors. The costs of building a world class marketing enterprise are now higher than ever before but thinking through the issue of cross functional collaboration, or even considering how to consolidate brands in order to compete on digital marketing technology and strategy may just be the required step companies have to consider in order to compete on marketing.