February 01, 2019
Top Takeaways from the Digital Transformation Playbook
By: Mish Fletcher

As leaders in Digital Transformation, Accenture Interactive wanted to create the ultimate guide to help marketers survive and thrive in today’s age of digital disruption.

Enter: The Digital Transformation Playbook, co-created in partnership with Adweek, the leading source of news, insight, and community for marketers. The Digital Transformation Playbook was a 12-month content series, with each month dedicated to a different aspect of transformation, and packed with stats, insights, ideas, and unique perspectives.

It’s been an exciting year for us: we investigated the battle for data, the impact of emerging technologies, the evolving role of the CMO, and so much more. Here, I’m sharing some of the top takeaways from all 12 issues, which featured input and insights from industry experts, reporting from the talented Adweek editorial team, and the latest thinking from Accenture Interactive’s bright and brilliant leaders. Read, learn and—most of all—enjoy!

Silence is key to customer loyalty
The time has come for brands to rethink how they engage; consumers are beginning to realize the benefits of silence and are reclaiming the headspace they’ve lost to the digital din by resetting boundaries and unsubscribing. In conjunction with the release of Fjord’s 2019 Trends Report, Accenture Interactive Managing Director Tanarra Schneider makes the case for brand silence and earning the right to engage. “Quieting down, listening and genuinely considering the needs and well-being of customers is the new path to loyalty,” she says.

The future of B2B marketing: partnerships, MarTech and data-enhanced creative
While 90% of B2B sales executives now believe digitally-driven customer experience is crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities, most B2B marketers only feel on par with their competitors in what they deliver. “Organizations finding success in b-to-b marketing’s new wave will be those that invest in new partnerships, data-informed creative and cutting-edge mar tech,” says Accenture Interactive Managing Director Jason Michaels.

The future belongs to CMO Collaborators
The role of the Chief Marketing Officer is morphing just as fast as the industry itself. Is the CMO the chief experience officer, the chief growth officer, the chief customer officer and the chief facilitation officer? The answer, of course, is yes. Companies need to employ CMOs who can work across departments to find synergies and foster co-creations of all kinds. “Reorienting an organization’s entire culture around the customer experience may require a radical shift for these companies and the CMO collaborator is the leader of this turnaround effort,” notes our North American Marketing Lead, Jeannine Falcone.

To art from science: reshape the customer experience
“In a thrilling shift for creatives, human beings and our values are beginning to overtake technology as the focus of digital transformation,” says our Brand Creative Lead, Peter Kang. “This moment not only presents the opportunity to shine creatively but to infuse meaning, compassion and consideration into people’s lives.” A few words of advice for creatives during this next chapter of digital innovation: remember big ideas can come from anywhere, get to know your creative partner, never stop learning, and focus on inspiring people.

Foster human connections through connected econystem
Building enduring relationships starts with a customer-centric mindset and a humanized platform. Our North American Head of Delivery, Deb Corrao, shares five principles to keep in mind when designing such a platform: Ensure it is: (1) equipped with a single view of the customer; (2) simple and consistent; (3) omnichannel by design; (4) secure, stable and reliable; and, (5) seamlessly integrated.

To retain customers brands must find their identity with voice technology
Whether it’s in the form of instant messaging or voice-user interfaces, conversation is becoming an ever-present part of the experience chain. “Conversational and compassionate interactions will become an expected part of the customer journey,” Accenture Interactive Managing Director Bronwyn van der Merwe says. Brands unprepared to weave brand voice and identity to create meaningful customer interactions will risk appearing tone-deaf and robotic—or left out of the conversation entirely.

The data power struggle needs to be resolved—now
Customer data is rapidly becoming the dominant currency of the modern marketplace, but some digital marketers have unwittingly relinquished ownership of data to third-party providers. “Data ownership is too integral to business success to be ignored,” says our Global Lead for Programmatic Services, Scott Tieman. In fact, it’s impossible to achieve the critical goals the market now demands—empathy, fluid conversation across touchpoints, personalization—without nimble, proficient command of customer data.

Brands must create meaningful customer experiences to win in today’s purpose-based economy
“We don’t need more noise or extra gadgets,” says our CEO, Brian Whipple. “What we do need, however, is a refinement of our relationship with technology and to reorient around purpose.” Companies that strive to bring more meaning and purpose to the experiences they create are destined to reap business benefits: loyalty, positive word of mouth, increased revenue and sustained success.

Making your brand sing: let the customer be heard
When people talk about “experience,” it’s usually transactional—a purchase, a conversation, a social media exchange—but in reality, each micro-moment is important. It’s time to look to the “Big E” in brand experience: empathy. “We should broaden the definition of success to include what the customer would see as success: helping them achieve their goals in the moment,” our Head of North America, Glen Hartman, advises.

Shifting from communication to conversation
As marketers attempt to drive hyper-personalization and to appeal to every possible consumer need, they risk confusing and alienating the very customers they’re trying to woo. “Customers aren’t looking for brands to define their journeys,” our Global Lead for Personalization, Jeriad Zoghby, notes. “They want brands to design experiences that help them create their own journeys,” he says.

Prepare for the blending of physical and digital
Faced with the increasing growth of physical and digital touchpoints, marketers need to determine how to craft brand experiences to best engage their audience. “It’s important that we stop considering digital and physical as separate entities and ask instead how we can design experiences that connect with the people around us, enabled by digital in a physical world,” Accenture Interactive Managing Director Mark Curtis notes.

Your brand’s true competitors may surprise you
“Identifying your competitors is a more elusive quest than it once was,” our Chief Strategy Officer, Baiju Shah, explains, “because comparing your organization with directly related businesses is no longer the whole story.” Exceptional customer experiences raise the bar every day, and—as is the thinking behind the concept of Liquid Expectations—the consumer is making little distinction between sectors or industries.

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