Nearly 100 senior brand marketers met in Singapore for a full-day discussion of the issues that we are all facing as we drive digital change. 

Digital transformation was one of the hottest topics and here's what was discussed at the table, sponsored by Mirum.

As with every Digital Cream event, the Chatham House Rule applied, so what was said cannot be attributed to any individual.  

But at the end of the event, the hosts of each table helpfully provided a summary of the day's discussions. 

Digital Transformation in Asia-Pacific

Over the course of three 90-minute sessions, brand marketers discussed how they have started their digital transformation, how it was going, and what the best practices were for others who were starting their journey.

Here is what was said about the three key elements to get started with digital transformation: people, process, and technology.

People

The first topic on everyone's mind was what it takes to grow the digital capability in the organization.

Nearly everyone said that the people on the team were key, and that they are growing the internal digital capability. Data, content, and social are all being brought in-house. In fact, a couple of companies with the largest teams were hardly using agencies for digital at all.

But they also said that while it is great to have the skills and bottom-up support, digital transformation requires senior sponsorship to really get going.

This can be accomplished in three ways, according to participants: 

  1. Encourage senior management to along to digital marketing events so that they can learn about what's happening in the field first-hand.
  2. Get them involved in a prototyping stage with new digital products and web designs. As a first user, they can get involved in the testing and become an evangelist for the transformation internally.
  3. Conduct a digital capability audit to first produce a benchmark of where you are now - and then design a roadmap for growth. This gives management a better feel for what digital transformation will mean, and cost.

One challenge the participants raised was that HR, who are typically responsible for sourcing talent, do not typically understand digital roles and responsibilities. Because of this, the responsibility for hiring digital talent often falls to team members, slowing growth.

Process

Participants came up with three key ideas for how organizations aiming for digital transformation could improve their processes

1) Practice agile marketing

Like its software counterpart, an agile marketing team should hold stand-up meetings every morning to discuss the tasks of the day.

And then weekly, get the optimization team together, including all agencies, to review the results from last week and plan the strategies and tactics for the coming week.

2) Nominate a head of channels

There was some concern that an organization going through digital transformation could end up cannibalizing its channels by having different KPIs for its various channels. Omnichannel tactics might even make it worse.

So, it was suggested that the team nominate one person who is in charge of the metrics across all of the different channels to help avoid conflicts.

3) Get outside help

Many firms have turned to the big strategy and management consultancies for guidance with digital transformation. Participants said they are a good source for insight, data, and intelligence around digital transformation.

Technology

Big question of the day: Do you buy into the marketing cloud platforms, or do you build a whole stack of specialist technologies and wire them all together?

The consensus view was that marketing clouds are actually getting better. At one time, marketers felt that platforms just looked good on the outside.

No longer. Most businesses now have a mixture of both and use point solutions as well as platforms for their digital marketing.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day, especially our table moderators, and our sponsor for the Digital Transformation table, Mirum.

Hope to see you all next year for Digital Cream 2016!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 4 December, 2015 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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