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Digital marketers better like change, because it’s coming. According to an April 2014 study by Altimeter Group, digital transformation is now a significant movement. The research found that definitions of “digital transformation” varied greatly among industry professionals, and in the end defined it as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”
Fully 88% of US digital strategists said their firms were undergoing a formal digital marketing transformation effort. The different types of digital transformation initiatives listed underscored the fact that, while technology was important, understanding the consumer journey was critical for such efforts.
Four in five respondents said that improving processes to speed up changes to digital properties such as social or mobile platforms was a very important digital transformation initiative, while around seven in 10 said the same about updating website and ecommerce programs for mobile as well as integrating channels to improve the customer experience. Meanwhile, 66% of US digital strategists considered updating customer-facing technology as very important.
The majority of respondents were also focusing on showing execs that digital transformation efforts didn’t align with their current plans. Which executives had jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon? CMOs were the most likely to support such efforts. Though CIOs/CTOs ranked third, Altimeter’s report noted that they still played a critical role in the transformation process and that “balance between the CMO and CIO to address the needs and expectations of digital customers is required for true digital transformation.”
Based on data released in July 2014 by Accenture, CMOs and CIOs worldwide were indeed taking steps to work together. Marketing’s move to digital, which required more technology, was the most popular reason for increased alignment, according to CMOs. Among CIOs, the availability of more technology that could be applied to marketing in new ways was the No. 1 reason for more collaboration. Around 30% of CIOs and one-quarter of CMOs said digital transformation had brought about a need for cross-functional cooperation.
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