What Is Marketing's Role In Digital Transformation?

In our inaugural episode of the Brilliant Brands, we dig in to Marketing's role in digital transformation.
10/02/2017

There are a lot of digital marketing podcasts out there. And there are a lot of podcasts out there about branding.

But what about branding and digital marketing?

We saw an opportunity to fill a content need in the podcast world, which is why we started Brilliant Brands, the podcast where digital marketers talk about what smart brands are doing online.

Feel free to give us a listen and let us know what you think!

Transcript for Brilliant Brands #1: What Is Marketing's Role In Digital Transformation?

Note: currently we pay a machine to transcribe our podcasts. The machine isn't really good. We hope to be able to afford a human one day, but please forgive our transcription flaws in the meantime.

Coming up on the very first episode of Brilliant Brands we're going to be introducing our crew, telling you a little bit about what this show is all about and then digging into our discussion topic all about digital transformation. You're not going want to miss it. So stay tuned.

Welcome to the Brilliant Brands where marketing experts share what smart brands are doing in the world of online marketing. Presented by Brandish Insights, the world's first brand analytics platform. 

Hey how's it going this week. Well good. Good. Awesome. Exciting. Well this is our first show. I know right. 

We record Fridays were as of now right. This is our kind of our first episode. So that's exciting. We know what we can do. 

Cool. Well you know in this episode or in this show we're going to be talking about just bright ideas that we see out there in branding. We're going to spot some brands that are doing some brilliant stuff there and we're going to bring that to everybody. And so today's topic is going to be about digital transformation. But before we get into that we will be just doing a bit of an update. So Pat you know what's new with you this week. 

Oh let's see what is new. So I'm continuing my search for a company to buy. It's going well I hope my process in place. You're buying a company. I'm buying a company. I've partnered with a Investment Group here in Minneapolis to buy a company. Ideally it's cool somebody who's retiring so I can step in and assist and eventually take over day to day management. 

Wow. So do you just like did you like. Do you have a huge piggy bank in your bedroom with enough saved up to buy a company to become a CEO. I am leveraging that huge piggy bank. Did you make of the investment group that I partnered with so there consider them kind of cash equity investors and I'm the sweat equity investor. 

Wow. So they're basically paying you to find a company worth managing and then managing it once once it's purchased. That's right. That's awesome. OK. So that gig I want that gig. 

It's you know this is a new asset class that's getting pretty popular especially with business and business schools. So it started back in the late 80s early 90s at Stanford Business School at Harvard Business School and then just got more and more popular over time. So typically people do this kind of coming straight out of a MBA program. I graduated I got my MBA back in 2010 so you know I've got some real experience with this. But while I have always done to consider doing something that's awesome man. 

We're blessed to have your Harvard MBA brain on this podcast. Yeah of course. Happy to be here. Brett what's new with you man. 

Oh just you know just got just got back from Louisiana. Not a lot going on for me. Just just a ton of marketing trying to catch up on all the changes that are going on in Facebook. 

Yeah and you're working for I don't know if people know where you work do you want to tell them a little bit about what kind of brand you're working with and like what your role is their Yeah yeah I'm working with Leesa, mattress startup in Virginia Beach as the senior manager digital marketing. 

And I'm responsible for ad channels outside of search. 

That's awesome. So like there this big startup and you're basically trying to figure out like how to spend all their money to grow them in nontraditional ways online. 

Yeah and you know it's a tale of all of time. 

You need to create growth. You need to do it efficiently and it requires a lot. I'm in the same spot that a lot of startups out there are where I need to figure out ways to spend money outside of search. Because we don't you know we want to have people eat before they're aware of us but we have to do it in a way that fast but also not we all. 

Yeah. Yeah. Well that kind of leads me to kind of what I've been up to this week. 

Actually what I've been up to all month really is just like evangelizing for where brandishing sites are you start up with the world's first brand analytics platform like the Google Analytics of your brand and kind of helping digital marketers accountings X brand marketers all figure out better ways to measure the work that is being done by by their marketing in its entirety not just advertising but with content and social and all the things that customers are saying with you about you that textiles and just helping people understand like how to look at things on that level so that the R Y is measured over the appropriate amount of time frame. 

If that makes sense you know that was a little yes. 

Yeah. So that's been a lot of fun too because one of the biggest things that I've been seeing is that people are saying wow this why aren't we talking about it like this yet. 

Like where are the tools in the marketplace to aid us in that larger conversation. Do people even know that we exist. And why do they care about us then. Are we doing the right things. 

You know that himself. 

So that's been fun. I feel like we're on to something before we get into this week's roundtable. Let me just say a few things about brandish and say it's the world's first sprint analytics platform. We as real consumers questions about your brand and provide you with a dashboard that reveals what to do next with your marketing. It's like Google Analytics for your brand the brandish insights Beta has just started. And if you're a branding pioneer that wants to leverage a new technology before anyone else head over to brandish insites dot com and sign up for early access cool. So 

let's assume we're going to we're going to talk a little bit about you know speaking of companies worth buying and you know how to grow this topic of digital transformation. Kind of a mouthful there digital transformation. What is that guys. What is what does digital transformation what and what does it mean to you. 

I'm happy to jump in so I think you know traditionally the largest advertisers have spent most of their money online. So if you think about a company like Procter and Gamble you know they have a huge multibillion dollar advertising budget and would spend the majority of bet on television radio print ads. 

You know as we kind of transition to more digital world we're seeing a decline in those mediums so large advertisers like TNG need to transform their advertising in a digital fashion and start to move some of those ad dollars online and towards digital channels where you know the eyeballs are for sure. 

And I think you know with that advertising too they're realizing that it's not just that it's it's all we need to bring this technology or this online approach to our services operations and we need to bring them to you know maybe our accounting operations and end and customer success and that type of stuff too. So it's like this and this holistic move towards getting digital and being able to support the operations and that change management along the way too right. 

Absolutely cool. 

Wow that's kind of a big a big challenge for a lot of folks it seems like marketing is getting a lot of the tasks with a lot of the heavy lifting in this transition. Why 

is that. 

Well I mean a lot of startups and does that say that are going heavy in digital. You're not really able to rely on an outbound sales team anymore to create the kind of scale that you want. So I mean if you need to create awareness there's no one there no one else to hand off the birds to it just have to go to marketing Yeah I guess I suppose. 

I think a tablet so maybe has to do with the sheer size of the marketing organizations within within these larger companies. So 

you know again to go back to the PMG example where any large advertiser you know traditional advertiser marketing is the lion's share of the entire budget. You know in terms of operating expenses so when you think about gaining efficiency with your spend as a CEO I would think the first place I want to focus on is are the parts of my organization that account for the large for the biggest amounts of spent. 

And in this case its marketing is interesting. 

So with the with the idea of bringing bringing kind of marketings kind of V or the rest of the word might be the tail proverbially then that's wagging the dog with marketing. Is that kind of what you're saying that a little bit. 

That's exactly what I'm saying. 

Is that is that like a an opinion or is that like just do to like financing and math based on how you know the inputs and outputs of how businesses grow you know. 

You know I'd say it's partly an opinion and partly based on experience. So as I you know put my CEO hat on and I think about how to manage my company from a financial perspective. You know you can kind of separate things into fixed costs and variable costs. So fixed costs are Reps the salaries you pay. Things like that. And those are very hard to tweak. Right. You can't just hire and fire on a whim because that leads to all sorts of other issues but with marketing spin that is very easy to tweak. You know you can you can tweak that on a quarterly or monthly or even daily basis you know whether you want to push more dollars into Facebook advertising or poll dollars for YouTube advertising. 

So when I think about where I would want to focus first it's that area which has the highest amount of variables and which in this case is interesting in not only is there a variable Ben but there's It kind of implies this ability to scale at will by putting dollars into a specific part of your organization and in this case it's been marketing for a long time. But I think part of that that opportunity with digital transformation is the idea that well now we can be investing with a little bit more scale in other parts of our organization with technology and with these dollars as well in some cases that's going to be through new tools like you know Zendesk or influence. In the case of referral and the advocacy or or even in terms of people I've been working with a brand lately who they pictures of their product is one of the most important things in the purchase process and they're basically a reseller for other people's products and so they they don't have a lot of control over that and they said well you either need to take control and essentially provide that as a service for all of the you know the the product providers or or I don't know. 

So get them to do it somehow. But you that's that's an area of free to throw money at and that problem will go away over time. 

You know. Interesting. Brett what do you think. 

Well you know interesting you bring up pictures. I was just reading something really recently. 

Are you familiar with the pleaded I'm not sure. Pat you're not I'm not yeah we are. 

Hello fresh. Their online mail delivery. OK. 

Yeah exactly. I think that the way that we that we that we think about our brain is really interesting because plated had originally started up their marketing with these really really nice high quality just like the two extremes of their food. And they were like like it's like incredibly like this is now someone cooked it like this with a very staged environment and they thought that big and beautiful would sell it. But they say it wasn't fried in the results they wanted and they actually started photographing their food the way that I would cook it. 

You know the plate was perfectly tailored didn't you. 

No no they didn't cook it on a George Foreman grill. 

But you know they they didn't wipe the plate down after they took it and you know it's touching. And like you see some juice running a bit off of a burger that you just don't like. It became a more realistic way to advertise their brand. But they recognize that there is an issue with the way that if they were portraying themselves the customers through their to their pictures and just change tactics that you know they wouldn't have ever done that if they hadn't been measuring the results. 

That's an interesting picture. Know future looks like food right now like art. Yeah exactly. That's great. 

So what I mean what are the. So what I'm hearing is yeah we've got all these dollars and our leaders are saying OK marketing Here's the dollars. You figured out digital advertising like you help us with the rest of the org. Like where where are some of those challenges. I'll start with one. 

In a lot of words that I've worked in the relationship with your finance team can be either make or break based on whether they see you as a partner or as a foe when it comes to getting really high quality analytics for the organization. 

You know marketing is basically the entry point. All the data is coming in through us but then it trickles through the back end of the org. And that that's an important partnership. How has you know so deep Have you seen that that that dynamic between finance and marketing. And are there other examples where where there are you know where were other parts of the order or are looking to marketing to help I can I can jump in on that. I 

haven't necessarily seen as much of a struggle between finance and marketing. More of a struggle in the different areas of marketing. So it's typically what I've seen is that advertising tends to be at the forefront of things like you know there are there are a lot of the place where the most heat is going because you know you're bringing in the traffic there. But the problem is that there are three different things that you really need to evaluate the volume of traffic you're driving the quality of the traffic and your ability to convert it. And I think most brands don't really understand where their weaknesses are. Are you not driving enough traffic that that's easily measurable with the quality of the traffic and your ability to convert them through email marketing. Retargeting onsite optimization they'd be testing things like that like we that we can do evaluate anything there as if they're completely separate but they're really not they forced the issue within our advertising. It can be really hard for a brand to point to other areas where they might need to improve. 

Actually I've taken I've never had that problem that this is where the problem is at the org. 

Maybe so maybe that's why I'm an entrepreneur now. So 

I guess Pat what about your perspective you see are other areas of the organization looking to marketing to help solve these problems or are we all figuring out on our own. And 

that's just one you know as you mentioned kind of the relationship between marketing and finance and I've been on the other end of that. So you know having never worked in marketing but having worked in finance there was always a constant struggle between marketing you know wanting more budget or wanting to spend our budget in a certain way and finance having to manage for it. This was a public company. I mean to manage for a quarterly result that we were responsible for to the street. Sure. You know I think there's a natural tension there. It's you're never I would be more worried if if everyone was always nodding in agreement on every decision for sure. There's probably a little bit too much group think going on with the data point I have is working in a product organization. And they are I felt like it was there needed to be more of a partnership between marketing and product and not to say that there wasn't just saying that. 

When I compare the relationship between marketing and finance and marketing and product marketing products should definitely be moving in the same direction making this you know agreeing on the same decisions. And when those two start to set on those two groups start to separate That's when you see you know bad things happening for the business. 

Yes and those are two parts. I mean what are we. Where are we building. How do we solve it. Like are those parts of the same brain technique or hopefully or dacoit yet they go hand-in-hand. 

So with products building something and marketing either doesn't think it's the right thing to be built or doesn't think that it's the thing that the customers want. 

That's an issue that you know the tune you know and to figure out that's the same is a disconnect between like finance and marketing too where if finance doesn't necessarily agree that the investment that marketing is making is either going to pay off or pay off in a time frame or in the way that marketing describes it that's where I think you know it's worth having those discussions. And in I think you know the best partnerships are the ones where you know the first instinct for finance might be to call B.S. Sometimes the first instinct for product might say well that that feature doesn't necessarily make sense on the surface. Can you describe it more. Right. And then to go through the the the rigors of each of those kind of departments or areas to vet you know our ideas really good or will that investment pay off that type of thing. Yep 

I agree. And how is technology player. Oh go ahead. 

We can say I was just going to say we almost need an entire series of episodes around how to create an environment where you know marketing feel comfortable not kind of have the expected numbers but they're going to generate to get you know the real effect realistic expectations of finance because like a lot of times marketing feels like that's the best way for things to get them to get to spend the required to test something when you know when we go into this and then we've never done before. It's very hard to actually understand what the results are going to be. And we talk about product marketing. I have seen instances where marketing goes and buy the product and it does end up getting built. And I think it can be really really useful. But it's hard to bring the marketing into all of the discussion. 

Like one product is developing something that is going to be happening you know three or six months away and they have this gigantic was the thing that integrated the product they're all going to be run by marketing and that really makes sense for that to happen. But there's got to be some I think that there has to be some larger discussion around how to create a culture where you know marketing is marketing and support or slightly more involved in the product development process. How do you do that without without stepping on toes too do a little bit beyond me right now. 

I think that's a good question. 

So how does technology and maybe you know measurement or or recording or analytics how and how do those things help us maybe all have more mature conversation. I think you know Brett you had mentioned a little bit sometimes marketing can feel like you know the only person with a nose that works in a room full of teenagers that don't yet know that they should be wearing deodorant. You know it's like hey guys the customer thinks we stink a little bit. I love you. I really do share some degree you know like that sounds kind of tacky or cheesy but I don't know I felt that way certainly in the past. How do we have good conversations mature conversations with our organizations about what it's really going to take about being digitally transformed with old technology and our ability to truly serve customers. 

To me it all comes down to. So you know in this age of digital transformation we have a fire hose of data coming at us and by us I mean the organization. So 

you know I think it's two things. One is getting everyone access to the data so they can see all the different different data points that are coming in and then the second is you know not being not using the data as a crutch to one kind of one step deeper and understanding OK where is this data coming from. So here's an example. I think that a good organization is one where marketing customer support and product are all speaking to customers and are sharing the results of these conversations but are also couching each of them properly. And what I mean by that is marketing tends to speak to people who aren't yet customers. We want to be customer support tends to speak to people who are customers and are unhappy. And I think the role of product is to have conversations not only with people who we want to be customers current customers but also people who were formerly customers and then sharing all of that information across the three teams so that they can come to the best decision on where to focus the product resources you know time and energy into building and improving which then makes it easier to sell and which makes it so the customer support isn't dealing with necessarily the same issues over totally. 

Oh my gosh. I think there is probably. Yeah. Three other topics that we could probably dive into at this point. 

But you know that's probably a good reason for people to tune in for subsequent episodes so I think that'll probably do it for the day. That wasn't even an intentional sound that was like some technology telling us that we've reached our Are our point of awesomeness so cool until next time. 

Digital transformation work. Ding ding ding. 

Guys thanks again for joining us this week on brilliant brands the podcast where marketers talk about what smart brands are doing today. This episode was brought to you by brandish inside's the world's first brand analytics platform brandish insites dot com to learn why we're like Google Analytics for your brand. We'd be grateful if you gave us a review. Wherever you listened to us. Thanks again for listening. Until next time stay brilliant. 

Author: Josh Braaten

CEO - Brandish Insights

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