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Digital transformation enablement: why strategy needs to lead the conversation

Why strategy needs to lead the conversation about digital experience and transformation and why you’d better join in as marketer and information technology decision maker. Claudia Rondon recently joined Empired’s Digital Experience team as a strategist. Bringing her enthusiasm about creativity and innovation and her 15 years’ experience across multiple industry clients, she shares her thoughts in the Q&A below.

Digital transformation enablement: why strategy needs to lead the conversation

How do you see strategy playing a more significant role for clients who decided to embark on digital transformation?

The discussions around data in the past five years has moved from being around “forecast” to action. Before that, companies were not sure about how to leverage on so much information. As it happens, now the picture is getting much clearer and key players in the industry are using information in a smarter way and really driving decision based on qualified information.

My simple take is being tactical –ignoring the bigger picture can be as costly as it is inefficient. And this is the reason why thinking strategically is key for businesses that want to succeed in their digital transformation process. For me, this means thinking collaboratively – strategy, design and technology must work together, and they are all leading this process to a point. For more efficient results, I do believe strategy needs to open the path through into the transformation.  

Having worked on various projects and wearing many different hats – from marketer to producer, from project manager to content creator – I can see how there is still a lot of room for integration that needs to happen through healthy and clear communication from those who are on the digital Experience transformation journey. A lot of dialogue and knowledge exchange still needs to happen.

And how do you see this dialogue can be established or improved?

It is a matter of prompting knowledge exchange between the various business stakeholders and their respective key innovation and creative partners.

I think there has been great efforts in the tech world – if you think about the disruptive leaders of the sector in general on the consumer side, Google and Facebook – in simplifying, demystifying and making technology in general more palatable for everyone. This has reflected in the culture of various other business environments – from a structural, people and presentation perspective as well.

The key point being, conversations have been around the user and who is the user? You are, my mum is, your daughter, our partners, basically anyone.

The challenge when you take specific conversations to various business units or stakeholders within an organisation is that each of them has an agenda and, often, admitting the lack of knowledge on a topic can be a roadblock to more successful integrative decisions – and this is where marketing and technology meet and precisely in that crossroad is where digital transformation opportunities lie.

At the same, the digi-savvy need to be able to share this knowledge in a low-key manner to enable collaboration. In other words, we need to connect the brains of the “machine” – BI, data and all the creativity that can come with it – and integrate this with the human creativity behind marketing campaigns, brand truths and so on.

And how do you suggest companies solve this puzzle?

I think the conversation is broad and there are multiple ones that need to happen. Firstly, knowledge, budget and responsibilities between stakeholders on the client side need to be shared for a common goal of results with their focus on the final customer success.

Secondly, a more transparent and collaborative relationship between clients and creative/tech partners or services providers in their field of expertise is fundamental. This is the only way to bridge the knowledge gap and basically create better projects.

Companies like Empired that offer end-to-end capabilities and cover aspects from design and build to actual improvements/ account management / content strategy on the post-delivery count with teams that are truly multidisciplinary and are able to establish this rapport with clients to identify the knowledge gap and assist in this shared process of mutual educating each other when needed.

We need to understand their business and they need to understand ours. In the end, the borders then get blurred in a positive way for the final customers as we take a “one team, one dream” kind of approach to build, implement and post-nurture our solutions.

We work collaboratively with clients and because of our varied professional backgrounds we are able to connect with stakeholders on a broader level to promote this idea exchange that will result in quicker and more effective ROI for the client. And to simplify it, which I really believe is key in most processes especially whenever we think about communicating ideas, the solution is nothing but the fact we all want to do our best and achieve the results we set ourselves to achieve –  be it as an individual or as a corporation.

On a business level, when we think about taking a business on a digital transformation journey, what we are really talking about is to promote customer satisfaction. This is really the only statistic that leads to results.

Whatever the service or product provided by our client, this is what we want to ensure arrives at the right place, in the right time, for the right price. Play, win, repeat.

Can you give us an example of how you see on a strategic level a tactic coming to life and which can illustrate this knowledge exchange and collaboration between Empired and client, and also client and customer?

Having worked on the agency side I have seen strategists and creatives come up with brilliant ideas – “why don’t we create an engagement campaign that will drive customers from the banner to the website, from the website to the form and from there to the eDM which will then help them convert?”

The truth though is that they had no visibility of any data nor any information on the website itself to really tailor that path. And often as it happens, this also stems from the fact that the key stakeholder on the other side of the screen briefing the creative has very little dialogue with their digital team (which at times is quite lean) and is not equipped with the right information to provide the direction that will lead to the best results for all.  

I have also seen marketers and brand managers who were very focused on achieving brand visibility through traditional advertising campaigns and forget that there are smarter ways to serve this end user or customer with personalised content at specific times in the customer journey. I am not saying that large campaigns will be completely extinguished. Although, it’s worth noting that there are multiple studies and reports available indicating that more than 50% of advertising budgets has moved online; and of course, time spent on mobile devices has increased significantly, driving more e-commerce than sales at shopping malls. If this represents a consistent behaviour shift for B2Cs it is also growing for B2B.

All we need to do is to really look around major cosmopolitan cities around the world and you will gather the statistics for yourself: the small screen – or as I often joke “the digital vortex” – does seem to be capturing a lot more of the attention of everyone these days, especially in places where it is safe to walk around staring at your phone.

Ignoring that digital transformation has already landed means ignoring everything that literally is happening around us. My strategic advice is to equip yourself, find your blue ocean and dive - everyone only has everything to gain from it.


This blog is part of the #cxreimagine series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download the whitepaper, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download the whitepaper, click the banner #cxreimagine

Posted by: Claudia Rondon, Strategist, Digital & Experience Design | 25 March 2019

Tags: Digital Transformation, customer experience, #CXreimagine

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