Studying the impact of innovation on business and society by Adobe: 41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth

by Giselle Abramovich, by Adobe

Midsection of businessman holding ROI (return on investment) with upward moving arrow at table

Midsection of businessman holding ROI (return on investment) with upward moving arrow at table

Marketers have gained more clarity about what digital transformation truly entails–and their results show it, according to new study from Altimeter Group.

Just two years ago, marketers were embarking on their digital transformation journeys with the goals of increasing engagement in digital channels (75%) and looking for greater volume in web or mobile traffic (53%). While important, these engagement metrics don’t equate to digital transformation, said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the “2016 State Of Digital Transformation.”

These days, Solis said, marketers are concerning themselves with metrics that are more aligned with their companies’ bottom line. As a result, the report found, 41% of leaders said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to transformation efforts, 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale, and 30% have increased revenue.

“I think we are at a point where companies recognize that you can only get so far if you continue to work in old ways and use new technology in old ways,” Solis said. “This is why you see marketing departments becoming bigger than what they were yesterday. They’re becoming more of an integrated unit across the enterprise. And now we’ll start to see groups that disparately operated in the customer journey are now collaborating in the customer journey because they have to deliver this heightened experience.”

According to the study, customer experience is a top driver of digital transformation efforts. Fifty-five percent of leaders surveyed cited “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as a top driver of digital transformation at their companies. “Growth opportunities in new markets” was a close second, at 53%. On the other end, 19% cited “fear of disruption” as a major reason for their digital transformation efforts.

While marketers are more advanced in their digital transformation efforts, mobile is still not getting enough respect, Altimeter also found. A mere 20% of leaders surveyed are studying the mobile customer journey.

“If you think about how companies have built the customer journey over the last several decades, it’s been very much from a command-and-control perspective,” Solis said. “We’ve went from a just a few ways of marketing to needing a social presence, a responsive website, and all of these other things. Marketers have essentially just bolted those elements onto their existing customer journey. They didn’t really think about what the impact was of mobile, because if they had, they’d understand it would have been better to start from scratch.”

In addition, Altimeter surveyed marketers about the topic of data. The consensus was they have more data, but with less understanding. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of leaders cited “understanding behavior of connected customers” as a top challenge, up from 53% in 2014.

“These numbers show that even though customer experience is the top driver, and even though we are making investments in digital transformation, we are still not doing so with purpose,” Solis said. “We’re still approaching customers the way we always have, even with data at our fingertips.”

Digital transformation efforts are most often lead by CMOs (34%), Altimeter found. CEOs are second at 27%. Only 19% of CIOs or CTOs are leading transformation efforts. That indicates a growing acceptance of a people-first, technology-second approach, according to the report.

Currently, most organizations are somewhere in the third stage of their digital transformations (out of six stages in total), with some still in the second stage, Solis said..

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he added.

Click here for the full study (short registration required).

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