An exclusive roundtable event, it gives senior marketers the opportunity to delve into the topic and discuss best practice from the world of digital.

Before we crack on with our top three takeaways from this year’s talk, you might also like to download the full Digital Transformation Trends Briefing.

Redefining terminology

Breaking down what the term ‘digital transformation’ actually means is still a point of contention for some.

During this year’s roundtable, a lot of discussion focused on whether it should be renamed in order to reflect an increasingly customer-centric approach.

With the belief that all changes should first and foremost stem from the needs of the customer, it was suggested that ‘customer experience transformation’ would be a much more appropriate description.

Many marketers agreed that this ‘outside in’ approach would be beneficial, recalling previous experiences where focusing on the benefits for the business rather than the consumer had resulted in a poor outcome.

Though there are some good reasons for thinking twice about language – not only to reflect the customer, but to also help breakdown the user journey into manageable chunks – some argue that it could result in false advertising.

One delegate pointed out that efficiency across the business as a whole is what digital transformation strives for.

As a result, to say that value for the customer is the only motivation behind it could be slightly misleading.

Success starts with small change

Realising the need for digital transformation is all well and good, but for a lot of companies, launching a company-wide strategy is incredibly unrealistic at first.

Without the budget to implement major change (as well as the training to do so), many marketers agree that smaller-scale projects are more likely to succeed. 

From testing a specific aspect of the user journey to analysing data, it is helpful to take on areas of transformation one step at a time.

On the other hand, some disagree with this notion, believing that top-line objectives are vital for getting a company from A to B.

Overall, the general consensus is for compromise.

It is undoubtedly helpful to picture where you want to be in two years time, however it is just as important to map out the realistic steps for getting there.

The need for a top-down approach

Many delegates spoke about the lack of ‘honeycomb’ structure in their organisation. (Where digital is integrated throughout the entirety of a company.)

Taken from our Organisational Structures and Resourcing Report, the below model shows how most companies typically structure their digital marketing capabilities.

At first, expertise is often dispersed in response to localised needs.

Then when this need increases, companies repond by setting up localised teams, then multiple divisions, before eventually resulting in the (rarely seen) entirely-digital structure.

During the discussion, marketers pointed out that company support for digital transformation is often unbalanced, with the biggest barriers stemming from IT teams and senior staff unwilling to invest in new hires or sufficient training.

Instead, it was agreed that it would be more beneficial for seniors to promote passion and support from the top down, and teams to provide strategy and implementation from the bottom-up.

As the roundtables drew to a close, the topic turned to balance across the board – even when it comes to failure.

The general opinion was that businesses should be allowed to fail on digital strategy, but they should also learn from their mistakes as quickly as possible. 

Of course, the process is never going to be easy – yet perhaps that’s why the term ‘transformation’ is so fitting after all.

To find out more on this topic download the full report, or watch our explainer video below.

video by: LondonVideoStories