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BizReport : Internet : September 22, 2015

Brands: Are you ready to go digital?

Brands are facing a shift in how they work, and it isn't just about where they advertise. There are questions about cloud operations, digital marketing initiatives and even telecommuting. One expert explains how to determine if your brand is reach for digital.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What are some of the challenges you've seen that businesses face when going digital?

Kirby Wadsworth, CMO of Mendix: One the first and fundamental issues companies face is defining what it means to "go digital" and agreeing to a common set of goals. Examples of this include: enhancing product features, such as creating a way for an elevator to communicate with passengers' mobile phones to determine floor selection; improving customer engagement, such as incorporating a retail beaconing app that notifies store managers when a high-potential customer enters the store; creating a consistent digital presence, such as ensuring customer brand experience is aligned across all online touch points; or even adding new digital services, such as offering a new mobile-enabled elderly care service that improves communication between caregivers and families. This issue affects companies across all industries, but with a clear set of objectives in place, the challenges of going digital become as simple as managing execution issues.

Kristina: What role or responsibility does the CMO have in a company's overall digital strategy?

Kirby: The CMO must lead the company in defining go-to-market strategy, including driving alignment on the role of digital in the company's success. Today, most stakeholders of the organization - employees, customers, prospects, suppliers, investors and more - are comfortable interacting online. As one insurance IT executive recently told me, "Our customers want to search, quote, buy, and file claims with the same simplicity that they browse, buy, and return purchases on Amazon." It's up to the CMO to be the voice of today's increasingly digital stakeholder.

Kristina: What if a company is digital in one department, like marketing, but not others, will it be difficult for them to make the transition throughout the company?

Kirby: "Going Digital" isn't a marketing issue, a sales issue, or a customer support issue. It is a system-wide company DNA issue, requiring coordination of people, process, and technology. Either we are going to digitalize the business or not. A goal to increase revenues from high-value customers by presenting them with a unique online experience requires tight integration of big data analytics to define segments, sales insight to understand the buyer's decision process, product development to enhance offers, and marketing tech to engage and convert customers. There is no middle ground where digital meets paper. No rational process exists that produces a digital experience but still requires manual chair-turns to take data out of one system and reenter it into another.

Tags: digital business, digital business tips, digital marketing, Mendix

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