Marketers Must Understand Digital Transformation In a Modern World

Authored by Dominic James and Alex Shaida.

The world is changing faster than ever and digital disruption is right at the heart of it. It’s something we see frequently in the media, and it’s often mentioned by our work colleagues. Whether it’s Google’s self-driving cars, the role of Twitter in the Arab Spring, or the fact that “selfie” is now in the dictionary, the digital revolution is changing things all around us.

However, it’s not all positive news, fun and frolicking. And when the bad news arrives, it’s often more noticeable in the corporate world. A stark fact that brings that point to life is from Forrester Research, which reported that more than 70 percent of the companies on the Global 500 list 10 years ago have now vanished. And if you consider the impact this might have on an individuals’ career path as an example, at the current rate of change the chances are that the company you’re working for today may not be around in 10 years’ time, or be operating in a much more diminished capacity.

With the digital revolution being largely consumer-driven, marketers have increasingly found themselves being propelled to the forefront of this global change. As a consequence, a marketing director from 2004 will barely be able to recognize their role and organization today. Change has become the new normal in marketing, and marketers are now used to having to constantly rethink the very fundamentals of communicating with customers, restructuring their teams, and working out how to best use the latest technology.

The flip side of swift and ongoing consumer-led change is that while marketing departments are often seen as leading the way, the rest of the organization is more than likely to be lagging some distance behind. There are countless examples of organizational latency taking place in business, such as social connectivity with friends vs. colleagues (Facebook vs. Yammer adoption), iPads at home vs. the office, or that you can quite easily get Wi-Fi access in the smallest café yet it’s often impossible to connect if you visit a client’s office.

This presents a major dilemma for marketing leaders in the corporate space. Should they accept the status quo and risk being a passive contributor to their organization, and over time help it to become one of the 70 percent of corporate failures or laggards currently in the making? Or should they be volunteering to be at the forefront of digital transformation internally as well as externally, and risk the wrath of their IT colleagues in particular who are typically assigned corporate responsibility for it?

Regardless of which challenging route they end up choosing, for digitally savvy marketers, it’s now essential to gain a much better and deeper understanding of what digital transformation actually entails, and how a marketer can potentially help their organization take on these dramatic challenges that no doubt lie ahead of them.

To become a key contributor to the digital transformation process, senior-level marketers will need to become much better adept at understanding the very principles and thought processes involved to make such widespread transformation possible.

This understanding will aid our marketers, who are seen as the guardians of the organization’s customers, to become a more valuable force for achieving corporate excellence and generating the future prosperity for their businesses. Plus, it will lead them to securing greater opportunities in becoming a critical and necessary component of their organization’s future.

ClickZ Training has recently launched its first course on “Marketing Challenges: Planning and Implementing Digital Transformation,” set to take place in Singapore from August 20-21, 2014. 

ClickZ Training has also published a simple assessment survey tool that’s designed to provide you with a quick snapshot of how well your organization is currently adapting to digital change. To access this free and confidential survey, go to

Dominic is based in Singapore and is a partner in The Change Effect, an Asia-based change leadership business. The Change Effect works with leaders of corporates, NGOs, and innovative start-ups on the challenging task of making great ideas a business reality. Dominic previously worked for top-tier management consulting firms Schlumberger Business Consulting and Deloitte Consulting. Before working in management consulting, he held senior strategy and analysis roles in CRM and digital marketing agencies. He led strategy and analysis for DraftFCB (an IPG company) in Asia-Pacific, and was a senior consultant for Ogilvy in New York. Dominic led digital marketing analytics for Ogilvy Interactive in London and was a senior analyst in OgilvyOne in London.

Alex is director, ClickZ Advisory & Training at ClickZ for Asia, and joined the company earlier in the year. Previously, he was vice president Asia for Econsultancy, and opened their first Asia office in Singapore for the region in 2012, after having worked as a senior client services advisor in London for three years providing training and consulting services for many leading U.K. and international companies including DuPont, Vodafone, Lloyd’s Bank, Harper Collins, Hachette, Schneider Electric, UK Govt., Visa, Shure, TUI, Microsoft, and more. Alex has held several senior digital marketing and e-commerce roles in the U.K. prior to joining Econsultancy, and had a prior career in PR for leading tech and media brands including Microsoft, CSC, Cartoon Network, Carat, DTS, CIA Medianetwork, and more. He began his marketing career as a B2B marketer in the early ‘90s.

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