What CMOs Can Do to Empower Employees Through Digital Disruption

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The age of digital disruption is here and in full swing. While the digital revolution has helped businesses improve processes and introduced new ways of working, it is still a big feat for marketing organizations to completely embrace and adapt to.

As developments like AI and machine learning continue to mature and become more common in the business landscape, leaders must ensure their teams are leveraging such technology properly. As digital marketing recruiters, we believe there’s no better person than the modern Chief Marketing Officer to be the champion for digital transformation.

Marketing leaders must be two steps ahead of the digital curve to keep up with the complex and evolving marketing ecosystem. CMOs are realizing this and are progressively keeping pace by scaling out their digital knowledge. Now, the question becomes- how are they educating their team to successfully embrace and navigate the continuous digital disruption?

It’s important for leaders to not only manage their marketing team to keep up with digital transformation but the entire organization for long-term progress.

Digital Disruption Is a Human Thing | Steve Vamos

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How to Prepare Your Team to Win the Game of Digital Disruption

Rapidly evolving technology has become a critical source of pressure on today’s CMO. Frankly, even the most digitally-savvy leaders can face challenges with getting their organizations to adapt to digital. But in order to stay competitive in an over-saturated business landscape, marketing teams must keep up.

As CMOs are becoming increasingly charged with proving ROI, what can they do to ensure current and future technology investments are being adopted successfully to meet the digital revolution head-on? Below are five ways digital marketing recruiters believe CMOs can empower their employees to keep pace with transformation initiatives in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Get buy-in from senior leaders

The CMO, CTO, CEO and other C-level executives all play a role in driving digital transformation. Top senior executives have the responsibility of fostering digital innovation and pushing company-wide change. However, getting alignment and buy-in from the executive suite is challenging.

CMOs must lead the charge in engaging key stakeholders and bringing their senior-level peers onboard with digital initiatives. Creating new, fluid ways of working in the digital age starts at the top where employees can directly see top-level leaders act in a digital-first mindset.

There must be commitment from leaders across the entire enterprise to truly enforce a digitally-forward culture. Introducing a leadership development program that educates executives on digital trends and developments is a great way to start.

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO), the organization’s key technology leader, will be the CMO’s main advocate for guiding the organization to adapt to digital. Marketing and IT need to closely collaborate and share the same, cohesive vision. If these two aren’t aligned, the adoption of digital won’t be successful.

If CMOs truly want to drive enterprise-wide digital transformation, marketing cannot work in a vacuum and requires support from the C-suite and cross-functional departments. Even after digital adaptation is aligned and underway, leaders must encourage communication and constant feedback from employees.

Explain the impact of digital

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CMOs need to deliver a return on technology investments, but must first get the entire business to understand the true impact of them. Leaders should demonstrate how processes and operations will improve, and communicate the vision for digital change in a way their C-level counterparts and employees will understand.

Implement the idea that digital transformation is a positive shift with long-lasting impact rather than something to fear. By understanding the reasoning and the “why” behind a digital shift, the whole organization will support in successful implementation.

For instance, when introducing a new system, explain how it helps your team work more efficiently and effectively. When the entire company – from the top down – recognizes how a new application will impact their work and processes for the better, the quicker and more positively they will welcome it.

Organizations win in the age of digital disruption when they foster an entire culture of change. And it should certainly be conveyed from leaders that learning from failures and setbacks is part of the transformation journey.

Encourage lifelong learning

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Business success comes from excellent employees, and great marketing comes from even better marketers. Digital transformation is about more than just technology. It requires adequate human support for proper implementation.

Every digital wave makes an impact on the workforce and the skills needed to succeed. Thus, CMOs must gauge the skill sets their teams must possess to support digital transformation. In the digital world, marketing organizations must have talent with the right capabilities to successfully adopt different technologies.

As your company continues to evolve, encourage your employees to acquire in-demand skills that add value to the business. CMOs who prioritize upskilling employees and make sure they have time built into their schedule to dedicate to learning increase the speed of adoption of new tools and applications. Investing in training and the development of your employees helps your entire organization build valuable expertise.

Organizations that promote training programs and employee development in the dynamic marketing environment position themselves for long-term success.

Foster agility

It’s vital for businesses to be innovative in today’s digital world. From adopting cutting-edge tactics to company-wide digital transformations, the CMO is increasingly at the forefront of new initiatives and is the driver of innovation. With marketing leaders experiencing increasing pressures, the need to be agile while handling a widening scope of responsibilities is imperative.

Digital disruption has pushed the importance of agility to the forefront of marketing. Today’s consumer expectations and technologies are changing faster than ever, and marketing organizations that can react to changes efficiently and effectively will maintain a competitive edge. The ability to act quickly is critical, and CMOs must drive their teams to be more nimble during a time of constant change. Developing your employees’ ability to respond to new developments and conditions, and move at a brisk pace will set you up for success.

Digital transformation isn’t a one-off task to complete and brush off. Instead, it’s a constantly maturing process of implementation, testing, and improvement. CMOs that intend to lead flexible, agile marketing operations to keep pace with the marketing landscape and customer needs acknowledge the importance of collaboration across the entire company.

Manage organizational change

Not only do CMOs have to keep up with the constant change in digital, but they must also manage organizational change beyond the implementation of new technologies.

Change is a challenge for any business, especially larger ones with deeply-entrenched historical processes. But in the scope of digital transformation, change is necessary. CMOs can effectively approach organizational change in parallel to digital transformation by focusing on changes that match the business’s objectives and strategy, while not changing too many things simultaneously.

There’s a great possibility of change management failures after the implementation of a new process or technology. However, maintaining clear communication with your team continuously through digital transformation to ensure they are set up for success is critical.

Listening to employee feedback is key to successful change management. Employees often have the most insightful understanding of the impact of a new application and how a certain process is (or isn’t) working. Marketing leaders are the top change agents and must take their team’s feedback and recommendations into consideration.

Change management is truly about the people. The CMO’s ability to navigate change across the business demands close collaboration and communication with employees. It’s a team effort, and each milestone achieved should be celebrated and recognized.

Closing Words

Adapting to digital disruption is critical in staying adrift in a space where change is happening at warp speed. Today’s CMO wears many different hats. Fortunately, these leaders don’t have to go through it alone.

Digital transformation isn’t just about technology or what businesses do. As every great leader knows, the most important factor in integrating digital transformation is a company’s employees. Educating the entire organization from top to bottom, being agile and opening the lines for communication helps to introduce necessary change.

To prepare your team for digital transformation and shift the way people approach technology, lead by example and give them the support needed to grow. The way a company approaches digital, encourages its employees to embrace it, and invests in a culture that encourages lifelong learning all play a critical role in digital transformation.

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