• Geoff Linton

Updating the Digital Transformation Playbook

In our last newsletter, we discussed how companies should pause and reflect (aka the Big Rethink) amidst the rapid digital acceleration in marketing over the last year. A key part of the Big Rethink is to evaluate your business model and upgrade your strategy. Companies need to be prepared for further disruption and change. According to a recent McKinsey report, almost 9 in 10 respondents recognized that their business models needed to change to remain economically viable through 2023.



As outlined in the book Playing to Win, strategy is a series of choices that cascade. Ideally, companies want to create sustainable competitive advantages (SCAs). And before you settle on a strategy, make sure you revisit your core assumptions, trends, and competitors.


How Should Marketers Adjust Their Strategy?


Digital marketing is evolving quickly and is enabling companies to do things that were never possible. The Digital Transformation Playbook, which was published in 2016, was a seminal book on how existing companies should adapt their marketing strategy to digital. The author, David Rogers, divided digital strategy into 5 key domains and themes.



The playbook was a set of strategic guidelines and principles for businesses. But, a lot has changed since 2016! Since 5 years have passed, and the Martech explosion continues, it’s time to adapt and update the playbook for marketers in 2021. Below is my updated framework of how the domains and themes have broadened and deepened.



For example, a strategic theme under the Data domain in the Digital Transformation Playbook was to turn data into assets. However, in 2021, data is more than an asset. Marketers need to turn data into insights and action. Decisioning technology in 2021 now enables marketers to also do more automated decisions in real-time.


Another domain that has evolved significantly is innovation. In the Digital Transformation Playbook, the strategic theme was to innovate by rapid experimentation. Innovation in marketing used to focus on running a whole bunch of experiments to see what works best. But now, innovation has broadened. Innovation encompasses adding new technology (like machine learning) and it also includes introducing new tools & techniques. Innovation is fundamentally about thinking differently and making things better. Here at Tekside, we believe the marketing goal behind innovation is to help leaders build SCAs of speed and efficiency.


Be cognizant that the pandemic has shifted underlying business assumptions. These shifts need to be reflected in your strategy and can be enabled through your technology and processes.


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