Digital marketing transformation is a process. It’s not something you can do overnight (or even in a month or year). It involves change, which means resistance, friction, and challenges along the way.
You cannot just expect to magically transform your marketing department; you have to work at it every day. Many obstacles stand in the way of digital marketing transformation –at every step of the process.
If you’re serious about making progress, you need to know what those roadblocks are and how you can overcome them. Read on to know the 6 most challenging roadblocks to Digital Marketing Transformation and how to overcome them.
- Lack of budget and resources
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about obstacles to a digital transformation is a lack of budget. This can be a big problem, especially for smaller companies that don’t have the budget in place to invest in digital marketing.
Ideally, you want to put around 25% of your marketing budget towards digital channels. But if you don’t even have that percentage allocated to digital marketing, then how are you supposed to implement a digital transformation?
While you didn’t expect it, there are many ways to square off the situation. One, you can do a proof-of-concept to show that your solutions are effective, and then seek funding based on that. Two, you can partner with an agency with the resources you need to scale.
Another way around it is to use the in-house resources you have by outsourcing non-core activities. Lastly, you can buy in from the C-level, including your CEO and CFO. Convince them that this is where the future lies and that you need funding to get there.
- Change Management is your biggest obstacle
You can have the best ideas and most sophisticated technologies, but if you don’t have buy-in from your team, you’re not going to get very far. Whether you’re managing a digital transformation in-house or through a consultancy, you need to instill trust in those around you that this new approach is going to be better than what they’re currently doing.
You need to show them that you’re not just here to “fix things”, but that you’re actually looking to improve their situation – and that of the company as a whole. This is why change management is the biggest obstacle to digital marketing transformation.
If you don’t do a good job at managing the change, you might overwhelm your people. Or, you might end up with a lot of pushback and resistance that could potentially put your transformation on hold.
- Lack of talent
If you were to poll marketers about their biggest challenge, many would say that they need more talent. The sad truth is that the digital marketing industry is short on good people – especially skilled professionals who can handle complex marketing transformations.
If you’re managing a transformation in-house, you need to be very careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You don’t want to take on tasks that are way above your level and lead your organization to fail. If you’re hiring an outside agency to help with your transformation, then you also need to make sure you have the right talent on the job
If you’re not sure about the need for a particular post, or you’re struggling with the quality of the work, try hiring a freelancer for the job. Once you’re comfortable with spending more, shift to regular employment if the freelancer is ready for it. You want people who are not just skilled, but who also have the experience needed to handle your situation.
- Data quality is a big issue
Data quality is a huge issue when you’re going through a digital marketing transformation. Whether you’re implementing new technologies or just trying to normalize your data across platforms, you’ll probably run into issues with data quality. You may have data that are not up to date, that doesn’t have the right attributes, or that has issues with quality.
If you don’t fix these problems, they could cause serious issues when trying to give your organization a comprehensive view of customers. If your data isn’t standardized, you may have issues when trying to combine datasets from different sources. This is a challenge organizations will face as they move toward a data-driven marketing approach.
One way to overcome this challenge is to adopt a data-first approach. First, you have to identify the core questions your marketing team needs to answer and then find ways to get those data points. Once you have those data points, you can start cleaning, formatting, and linking them together to create a data lake.
- Brand fear and organizational silos
If you’re working in a large organization, you might notice that not all departments are on the same page. Marketing teams are often siloed from one another. In addition to that, a lot of people are afraid to “step out of line” and get creative or try something new. You need to find a way to overcome both brand fear and organizational silos.
You might find that some departments are resistant to the changes that digital transformation could bring about. Or, you might find that there’s just not a lot of communication between departments. This can be a huge problem when trying to implement a digital transformation.
Silos can form as a result of brand fear. One particular department could actually cause problems for the rest of the organization if it is trying to protect its brand or fear changing. Marketing transformation leads to change, so you need to make sure that other departments understand this and are on board with the changes you’re making.
- Marketing Budget
One of the most infamous and talked about issues in digital marketing is the marketing budget of the organization. Small, medium, large or non-profit, every organization’s marketing budget becomes the gap between the seller and the audience. Marketers often seem to forget to integrate the legacy line of business applications.
While many factors affect the brand’s reach to potential customers, and some of them are almost free to implement and manage, reaching your target audience with guaranteed success comes at a cost that almost every organization struggles to get over. For more than half of all businesses, budget is the primary roadblock to marketing.
Organizations should consider investing in platforms just as much as they invest in traditional marketing ways. One way to go around this hurdle is by pre-planning your budget. Every little consideration plays an integral part in the final marketing budget, be it intern training costs or software maintenance costs.
Digital marketing transformation isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to do it in-house. But it’s something that every marketing team needs to do. If you want to stay relevant in the future, you have to make this transition. If you’ve been putting it off, it’s time to make some serious changes.
Luckily, there are many resources out there that can help you. What’s important is that you understand what the main roadblocks are and how you can overcome them. You’re on your way to digital marketing transformation success if you can get buy-in from the C-level, instill trust in your team, and address data quality.
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