Recap of “Buckle-Up for a Digital Marketing Transformation Ride” event

Teresa Fritzler
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Elizabeth A. Marks

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B2B Direct Response Copywriter and Funnel Expert

AMA- Orange County presented “Buckle-Up for a Digital Marketing Transformation Ride” at Brandman University last night. Thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this and other AMA events happen – Miller Farm Media, the Dot Fulfillment & Distribution, Clickitivity, and Stirista.

Helene Blanchette, a consultant, and business mover & shaker comes with extensive expertise in data-driven cross-media marketing, global team management, corporate digital transformations, and doing business in South-East Asia.

But why do we need a digital transformation?

She shared ten tips for organizations that may be considering a digital marketing transformation of their own. The caution was clear – the presentation it’s not about technology but what goes on behind the scene when new technology needs to implement a transformation project. Therefore, digital transformation is what your company is going through to apply a digital transformation to their business.

For those who’ve worked in a corporate environment where the business was more than 10 years old, you will recognize these some of these signs mentioned.

To stay competitive. Businesses can no longer continue doing things the same way and expect to continue to grow. Technology and customer expectations have changed. What once satisfied the customer, no longer does so. And this means businesses need to take a serious a look at digital transformation to keep up and stay competitive.

According to a 2016 Forrester, why CX? Why Now? Report 80% of digital transformation projects fail in customer experience, due to internal company culture, processes, and politics.

Doing a digital transformation project is more than rolling out new technology. It starts with strategy, then an assessment of the business structure, the skills of the employees, management style, the multiple systems and how they integrate or not, the staff and the goals of the project.

For organizations who have been in business for years and are by nature product-centric, digital transformation can be a daunting challenge. Changing a company’s culture from product centric to customer centric is not as easy as issuing a tops-down memo to all employees. It requires a significant shift in the thought process, workflow process, and systems to accommodate it.

As a result, wise organizations will take the time to enter a Discovery Phase to assess the impact of the digital transformation project. This helps identify the area most affected so you can listen to the employees’ concerns. This reduces the risks of jumping headlong into a complex project without understanding what’s really at stake.

Helene shared stories of companies who chose to skip the discovery phase, only to have to rebuild everything a year later for millions of dollars more! Be wise; take the time for the discovery phase. It could save you a bundle!

Tip 1 – Beware of the Island Effect

The rest of the presentation Helene shared ten tips to help improve any digital transformation project. By following these tips you are certain to avoid costly missteps that could cause project spend overruns and loss of customers and revenue.

Tip 2 – Review Ecosystem and Nervous System of the Company

You don’t want your project team to become an island unto itself with its own language that no one else understands. The goal should be to assimilation, not isolate.

One way to avoid this is to perform a discovery phase. This helps bring everyone together and have buy-in on the project because their ideas/concerns were incorporated.

Tip 3 – Discover the Unknown

Create an overarching assessment of who will be impacted. List out all the positions within the company from top management down to the department heads. Don’t forget to include vendors and suppliers too as they may be impacted too.

Tip 4 – Evaluate and Quantify the Impact

Look at four categories. (1) Automation (2) Digital Customer Access (3) Connectivity and (4) Digital Data.

Tip 5 – Keep Island project aligned and relevant

Always keep your ears open. Listen to what the employees are saying in the hallways and at the water cooler. Take the pulse of the employees to prevent any negative buzz from spoiling your project’s perception.

Tip 6 – Educate and communicate clearly and routinely

Measure the impact in quantifiable ways. Share charts that clearly represent the benefits this project will provide. This is the best way to get people who are impacted by the project to engage and want to find the best solution.

Tip 7 Use Boardroom language

Plan for the long term; yet identify short-term wins too. If you’re planning a 3-year project, make sure there are some shorter milestones that can provide some results early on to help the momentum of the project through completion.

Your best friend should be education. The more your employees know the better. Help people understand what the project is trying to accomplish. Help them learn the new project language. Make it easy for them.

Always tie your efforts back to the bottom line. Link to revenue and profit. Identify areas of reduced expenses or increased sales.

Tip 8 – Learn Cultural DNA and Its Impact

Meet with key stakeholders before “the big meeting” to ensure they are fully briefed and understand what will be presented.

Don’t come to “the big meeting” with problems. It’s not the place to air your complaints.

Tip 9 – Force change creatively

Understand there will be a balance between existing employees and new talent needed for the digital transformation project. Identify who will be part of the changed structure. Assess which employees may be a better fit in another part of the company. Look for talent who show potential and are willing to learn new things.

Tip 10 – Put Customer’s needs at the heart of all activities

Your team needs to be a blending of existing talent and new talent to have the most productive team.

Get creative on implementing change. Perhaps it means you’ll need to move people around to get them more accessible to each other on the team. Don’t be afraid to roll out physical changes as needed.

Helene shared a case study of Manulife (a company similar to AIG in the United States). They decided to create a data collection campaign but how they went about it was brilliant.

They launched a birthday campaign to convey their brand. It began with a mailer that drew the person to the website to receive their gift. Once online they were greeted with their own website, very personalized. There were objectives, tasks, and games to complete before they could receive their gift.

For example, they took a quiz, which felt more like a game. The game was actually poking balloons. As they poked each balloon it asked a question and provide multiple-choice answers to select from.

So while they are playing the game, or completing a task, the people are actually providing helpful information that will be used in formulating their specialized plans. The end of the process, the person receives an email voucher worth $100 towards a new policy.

This campaign was so successful, people called the company to thank them for the personalized birthday experience. More on the business results in the slide below:

So you can see when a digital transformation is done right it will yield a great customer experience as well as providing the company what they need to deliver that awesome experience in the first place!


If you enjoyed this event, you’ll want to check out AMA-OC’s next event on February 7th featuring John Mansour on Using a Customer-Facing Mission to Drive Your Brand and Your Positioning.

About the topic….Using a Customer-Facing Mission to Drive Your Brand and Your Positioning

About John Mansour… He is the founder and managing partner at Proficientz and an experienced consultant. He has more than 25 years of practical experience in high technology product management, product marketing, marketing communications and sales. John has worked in organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies with extensive operations experience in senior management positions in software companies, healthcare, distribution, hospitality, and retail.

“We” is a forbidden two-letter word that makes everything more difficult when it comes to articulating your value story. Why? When your message is all about you, it requires an explanation that in many cases makes it even more difficult to understand. Conversely, a customer-facing value story is easy for everyone to understand, internalize and repeat because it’s simple and requires no explanation. Learn how organizations are using a customer-facing mission to simplify their branding and positioning to grow revenue.

To get a taste of John’s expertise you might read his book – 25 Best Practices for Product Management, Product Marketing & Sales Enablement –

More details on the upcoming event location will be shared soon.

B2B Direct Response Copywriter and Funnel Expert

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