There is no doubt that marketing has changed rapidly in recent decades. One main reason for this is an advanced digital transformation and the continuous development of new technologies. Our way of communicating and our everyday lives have changed dramatically. We wouldn’t even dream of being in a society in which we didn’t have the world at our fingertips. Even if there are 10,000 kilometers between us, we are closer than ever. Of course, the importance of the digital transformation for marketing is undeniable. Swimming against the stream when it comes to digital marketing can have serious consequences for your company – it could even mean company failure. Missing out on digital strategy will mean missing out on great opportunities for your business.

Board members have the responsibility to know about digital transformation, about the opportunities and risks accompanied by it, and how to use their knowledge to improve the company’s marketing strategy, as well as its sustainability in the market.

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What is digital transformation all about?

Being digital is not just about smartphones and electronics; there’s much more to it than that. It’s about using technology in order to compete successfully. With digital transformation everything around us has changed significantly. It has influenced several aspects of our everyday life: culture, society, work, business, politics, education, communication…just to name a few. Especially businesses tend to struggle undertaking this transformation appropriately. In order to avoid falling behind, it’s really important to transform digitally – with the right people, a clear strategy, with consensus within the company about the transformation, the permeation of every single part of the business and in the most efficient way. If this is done right, the company not only catches up with its competition, but it also has the chance to have an amazing and sustainable competitive advantage over its counterparts. Here are the five most important changes boards of directors should undertake when it comes to digital strategy:

1. Find the right people.

Hiring a savvy digital marketing consultant doesn’t do the job. The time it takes until this person has analyzed the company and has set up a strategy is way too long. You have to bring a digitally qualified person onto your board. That way, you have somebody who knows their way around your business, and who can input his knowledge to the board in order to be responsive in an ever-changing digital world. They key thing here is to hire somebody that is highly experienced in digital strategies, preferably a digital native, but also has in-depth experience as a managing director. The ideal person would have already led a business through a digital transformation successfully.

2. Clarify your strategy setting.

Digital transformation doesn’t only occur in the marketing department, but has to take place in the business as a whole – and boards of directors have to recognize digital trends and apply them in the digital world. Here are a couple of questions you should ask in order to straighten out your strategy:

  • How can you use technology to accelerate your existing revenue streams and your core processes? Maybe include sensors or robots to improve efficiency.
  • How can you use technology to enter a new segment in your industry and with it a new source of revenue? You could include new services in your product.
  • How can you use technology to explore new markets and dive into a completely new type of industry? Think about the problem your product or service is solving and find new problems with adjusted solutions.

Use connections, innovations, and automation to your advantage. Don’t forget to include cyber security.

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3. Ensure that you and the company are willing to transform digitally.

There is no room for conservative strategies that don’t include digital aspects. You have to make sure all your management, employees and, most importantly, all of your board members are willing to participate in this vital transformation of your business. Conservative views slow down the process and consequently make your company fall behind in the race for digital adaption. It is important that board members show the whole company how important and advantageous a digital transformation will be to them. If employees appreciate the change, they’ll help the business achieve it rather than fighting it. The board should determine what kind of risks are bearable and can lead the company to long-term success.

4. Put the transformation into action – beginning with the core of your business.

If you’re starting a digital transformation, which is the right step, it has to permeate every single aspect of your business and of your board. It’s inevitable to invest in education and training, since probably not every employee is a digital native. Start with the board, continue with all levels of management and go all the way down through your organization. If your staff has the appropriate know-how, you have the capacity to introduce new process-improving technologies. It’s important to start with your core processes and work yourself through to the outer areas of your business. Everything has to lead to the achievement of your ultimate goal: an exceptional customer experience.

5. Do it right and secure your advantage for the long run.

I want to be honest with you: a trouble-free digital transformation can be pretty expensive at first. But for the long haul, it’s absolutely worth it. Don’t think it’s only done by buying new equipment – as mentioned before, you have to reach every corner of your business. This not only includes electronic devices but also means using them properly in order to achieve the ultimate goal of every business: an exceptional customer experience. Without this, a company can’t be successful – no matter how digitally it operates. With the focus remaining on the consumer, companies can achieve incredible things. After all, the world is in the process of changing at a faster pace all the time, so you must, as well. Always make sure to develop a realistic and efficient strategy that your staff can bring to life.

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To follow a clear digital transformation strategy is essential to the success of every business. With a proper strategy and qualified people, a company can outpace the competition in no time. The board of directors is the key to prosperity in your businesses field; that’s why you have to include the right members with the right know-how. Do you think there are more, important aspects to achieve a successful digital transformation? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, I can’t wait to hear your ideas and opinions.

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