In the summer I recorded an interview with Squared Online for module 1 of their course.. The topic was marketers and digital transformation. I was selected for this interview due to displaying a lot of qualities

Video and transcript are below (Have since purchased a lapel mic  as the headset makes me look pretty ridiculous!)

Why are marketers so important in leading digital transformation?

James Wragg – Head of Digital, Student Cribs

So, I think marketers are so important they’re driving transformation within businesses because marketing as a discipline has matured to the point where digital competency is essential. You can’t be a good marketer anymore unless you’re quite good at digital, basically. Digital is no longer a subset of marketing. It plays a key role within it and in some organisations like ours it plays most of the marketing mix. Other departments, like sales and operations and accounts, they don’t have these digital competencies. That’s why it’s up to marketers to drive digital change throughout businesses.

Jeremy Hull – VP of Innovation, iProspect US

When it comes to digital transformation, marketers are absolutely in the position to lead the way. One of the phrases that I hear quite often is that data is the new oil, and marketers, as marketers, we live and breath data. It’s what powers our insights. It’s what powers our optimisations. It’s what builds our strategies and our plans. And so, because we live in this world of this constant influx of data, analysing it, digging into it, understanding it, we are the ones that are equipped to not just understand the data but use it to take action, use it to guide our clients and their brands in moving the market forward.

Natasha Merrington – Sr. Lead for EMEA Programmes, Google

Marketers are really important when it comes to leading digital transformation. Marketing is the opportunity to help the rest of the business really understand the customer journey, the behaviours, and the expectations of those customers because technology is really transforming the way that we’re living our lives. So, if we have a better understanding of how our customer behaviours are evolving, then businesses can make smarter investments in technology. The key is to use technology to be really meaningful to your customers. A big challenge that I see with organisations is that they sometimes get very excited and a bit overwhelmed by all these technology trends and forget that all of their technology investments should be rooted in the customer experience.

Can you give an example of effective leadership that you’ve demonstrated or experienced?

James Wragg – Head of Digital, Student Cribs

I think an example of effective leadership in digital marketing and transformation would be the work that I’ve done at Student Cribs over the past three years. When I first started in 2015, I was thrown straight in the deep end and was the only member of the marketing team at the company. The first thing I did was to set up conversion tracking which then meant that I could then see what was actually driving conversions and then reapportion the budget more effectively. This meant that our cost for enquiry, cost for viewing, and then cost for booking dramatically decreased, and from there senior staff then noticed and gave me more resources and responsibility. Afterwards, I graduated from Squared in 2016. On Squared obviously there’s quite a lot of remote working. I then took this and put it into practice and hired a developer from Poland and began building a CRM marketing automation and viewing booking platform. This again dropped the cost per viewing because marketing ourselves were aligned more effectively and meant that we got a lot more bookings from it.

Natasha Merrington – Sr. Lead for EMEA Programmes, Google

I’ve got an example that really demonstrates effective leadership in times of transformation. It’s come from within my own team and the director, Shuvo Saha. The Google Digital Academy provides educational programmes on marketing transformation for brands and businesses and we consider these our customers. I joined Shuvo’s team right at the start of him building this because of the passion that he had for his vision. He wanted to create a unifying voice in our customers’ education experience at Google. We’ve got so many different teams providing different types of marketing education to these brands and businesses, often working in silos. And as a result, our offering at Google can be a bit confusing for those customers. Shuvo’s vision was for us as a company to be more customer centric in our approach to education. One part of his vision was how we could create a physical space to facilitate collaboration across teams at Google when delivering education to customers. Several years later, Shuvo got the buy-in from the leadership at Google to create a designated space in partnership with a number of other Google teams, and this space is now called the Academy.

What do you think are the key leadership qualities or behaviours for marketers wanting to drive digital transformation?

Lou Dela Pena – CEO, Publicis Communications Singapore

We don’t live in a world of silos anymore. If creativity is driving the world that means great ideas can come from anywhere. So, the key word and the key main advice I would share with you is this idea of collaboration. You know, the best agencies, in my experience, have no departments, no hierarchies, and really rally behind the one idea that can change a business or a brand or a product or a service or themselves. And so, I think if you’re open, if you’re confident that more heads are better than one, if you cultivate this approach of pure and true collaboration in service of a brand or a company or your client, then you will not go wrong.

Natasha Merrington – Sr. Lead for EMEA Programmes, Google

A good leader is going to focus on bringing all of these people on the journey with them when taking action on their vision. So, let’s look at how we influence those stakeholders. Having your stakeholders brought into the vision that you have for digital transformation is vital. They need to not only invest in it, but to demonstrative active support all the way throughout the process, engage in all the activities of digital transformation, and make sure that there’s buy-in across the whole organisation. The second thing is then collaboration across teams. Once you’ve got buy-in from those stakeholders you’re going to need to collaborate across all of those different teams to make digital transformation happen. For instance, how is everyone coming together to create a seamless experience across an entire customer journey? Is everyone incentivised to care about that entire customer journey? And lastly, your team’s engagements. So, how are you able to relate transformation projects to the world of your team? What does it mean for them? What’s the impact? What’s the benefits? What resources and capabilities do they need for this transformation to be successful and how are you going to help them with that? How are you going to involve them and address all of their feedback?

James Wragg – Head of Digital, Student Cribs

So, I think a good leadership quality that a digital marketer has to have to drive change in an organisation, is to always ask why. There are often so many processes that happen in businesses that people do just for the sake of it and because that’s how things have always been done. One of the key qualities is to, sort of, like, a curious child, always just ask why. And you should encourage your co-workers to do that as well. And then another quality is to have a thick skin. I mean, as with any change management whenever you’re trying to get someone to do something differently or in opposition to how they’ve normally done things, there’s going to be quite a lot of friction.

Jeremy Hull – VP of Innovation, iProspect US

The key leadership behaviours from marketers who are looking to drive transformation, really there’s two of them. One of them is empowering everyone to get involved. So, in this space it’s far too easy to think of specific marketing initiatives as purely tactical. Go and do. Tag these placements. Load these creatives. Add these key words. Make these bid updates. When in reality the more that we can empower each of our team members to not only go and do but also feedback and come with ideas, the better the results we’re going to get. The second piece is really be inclusive, and that is inclusive of our own teams making sure everyone has a seat at the table, making sure that everyone is invested in the success because they’ve got ownership of it. But also include other folks on the client side, making sure that everyone that you’re working with understands why we’re asking for what we’re asking for, what we’re doing with it, and what we’re seeing out of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *