Hold the sunroof, your car is on blocks

Many times conversations with digital leadership in large organizations are all about the sunroof. They saw something at a conference and it is the best thing ever so they too must have it.  Or a particular technology and capability looks really cool, so they go out and buy it. Ironically, many times they are looking at these things while the basic foundational pieces of their digital program are weak and under-developed.

I like to think of digital maturity on a scale of 1-10.  Sometimes we refer to this as crawl, walk and run.  Areas 1-4 are about constructing the foundations that ensure that your digital core is built correctly.  5-8 are the next level, where you are thinking about how to become more sophisticated with your customers, personalization, segmentation and overall experience.  9-10 involves forward, out-there, innovative thinking around areas like machine intelligence, AI, the Internet of Things and other cutting edge technologies.

Having built the Marketing Technology Innovation area at Aetna in 2013, I have no issues with marketers thinking about and exploring opportunities between levels 7-10.   Where I believe there are significant issues is when they focus on that while their 1-4 digital foundation is inadequate.  There are too many marketers focusing on what they can do next instead of ensuring they have the right foundation set up across their digital channels.  These companies don’t have accurate analytics, they aren’t listening to their customers, they haven’t explored competitive intelligence, they don’t leverage a real web content management system to deploy their site content and so on.  Without these foundational pieces in place, looking at levels 7-10 is a futile experiment in one-off ideas that are bound to fall down over time.

I have found that where 249Labs excels is in helping companies build that foundation.  The areas that sit in between 1-4 that companies MUST get right to be successful.   I personally have had the opportunity to do this at a variety of large companies and it is extraordinarily satisfying.  Once you get those foundational pieces set up right, companies are able to build their future capabilities in a more structured, viable, customer-centric way than just with one-off projects.  Once that is done, we can work on building up all the other pieces you need to move up the digital maturity ladder.  More companies need this help than they acknowledge.  If your organization is one of those, reach out to us. We would love to have the conversation.