I doubt I have to brief you on the disrupting changes that have not only affect most company’s business models, but their marketing strategy as well. Digital has become a key priority for all top consultancy firms and I had the opportunity to help some of my clients discover its power.
Being as disruptive as it is, there is a fair share of change management involved as well. Managers and employees are forced to shift their way of thinking, away from traditional marketing activities. What used to work, might not work anymore and this requires a lot of people to take a significant step outside of their comfort zone.
First and foremost, it will be essential for an organization to attract expertise in this specific domain. The only way to innovate current marketing activities is to include digital natives in the organization and positioning digital at the heart of the marketing activities.
Many clients took this step, but failed to learn and evolve. Instead of innovating their marketing activities, a divide was created between the traditional marketers and the digital natives. The traditional marketers were not able to learn while at the same time digital natives did not feel understood. Does this mean a traditional marketing organization can’t function with digital natives?
No, not at all really. It’s an indication of poor change management, where one or more of the requirements for digital disruption were not met. Positioning digital at the heart of your operations does not make you a digital organization. First it will require support from all management levels. Directors and managers have to recognize the change. Keeping the ropes tight with a strict and defensive leadership style, really is the worst way to embrace innovation. Possibly they’re no digital natives themselves, but this is not required. What makes them good leaders is to recognize the importance of the change, to keep an open-mind allowing new ideas disrupt operations and to rely on the vision of their experts to move forward. Giving digital natives the space and flexibility to be creative will keep them close to the organization and allow them to digitally transform your business.
Close the gap
At the same time, it is up to the digital natives to close the gap. It’s for them to help the business understand why certain activities aren’t working anymore and what could be good alternatives. Leveraging data can be a great way to support decisions and recommendations. Providing factual data will help convince the business to shift their focus. With the space and flexibility that they get, it’s essential they focus on taking traditional marketers on the bandwagon and make them part of their digital innovations and ideas.
So can traditional marketing work hand in hand with digital natives? Absolutely! But managing the change within the organization is key. Its success is defined by an open and trusted leadership style on one hand and the effort to close the gap with expertise on the other. It’s important to accept that you need people to think differently. Embrace this quality by giving them the space and flexibility to transform your business.