Digital Maturity for Marketing Processes

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Digitizing the marketing process sets brand leaders apart from their industry competition. 

There are many specialized technologies essential for quality and efficiency in the marketing process, but they need to be planned, implemented, and connected in a way that is advantageous to the brand.

As brand leaders progress through the different phases of digital maturity, they realize competitive advantages such as cost and time savings, process efficiencies, automation of tasks, and predictability of insights driving marketing results. 

Our maturity model helps leaders understand and recognize the existence of and potential for digitization in their marketing processes. The goal is to transform maturity capabilities and increase marketing impact.  

To begin, digital maturity is the way brands incorporate digital tools to realize business benefits. In our experience, brands navigate the following maturity levels, including reactive, organized, digitized, connected, and intelligent.

We’ve found each level is characterized by common dominant mentalities and behaviors reflecting a company’s position in their digital maturity. 

Anticipated organizational changes include: 

  • How executives interact with marketing processes 
  • How internal and external stakeholders collaborate and view projects based on available tools 
  • How risk can be identified and managed  
  • How quality standards, compliance, and audits are managed across the company 
  • How digitization impacts cost  
  • How efficiently a company responds to consumer demand and insights  

The Stages Defined  

Reactive 

At this level, marketing projects are implemented in response to an event or promotion. They are typically implemented manually with the speed of delivery being the primary objective. 

Because there is little time for planning, there is no strategy phase or campaign development plan. There is also no method or time allowed to track the effectiveness or performance of a campaign. Leads may be generated, and sales made, but there is no understanding of the cost associated with them. 

Companies make their marketing work because they don’t usually have large teams to manage. However, this model is not sustainable as the company grows and projects expand in number and complexity. 

Bottlenecks are common at this stage due to inefficiency. Campaign development is stunted and reactionary rather than deliberate and efficient. Also at this stage, the marketing department is viewed as a cost center rather than a revenue driver.  

Organized  

This stage is characterized by an understanding of company resources and timelines. Content creation is planned in anticipation of events, campaigns, etc. Companies have more flexibility and control, allowing marketing campaigns to be more strategic and with an emphasis on measuring the results. 

Quality of campaigns and the buyer’s journey can be analyzed at this stage. Brands recognize the importance of omnichannel consistency. 

Collaboration is more effective, and workload is not dependent on one person manually tracking all the information to complete a project.

Planning, approvals, and analytics are improved. However, complexity and increases in headcount are directly related, causing additional expenses to be incurred.  

A company recognizes the need to move from the organized to digitized stage of the model when internal costs outpace the rise in quality and increased efficiencies are necessary.   

Digitized 

This stage of the maturation process is characterized by working smarter not harder.  

Brands move their processes and information into digital systems to be stored and tracked, allowing for automation and the development of insights to drive future growth.

Centralization in digital systems allows for flexibility to create higher quality omnichannel experiences. 

This is where companies start to implement systems to meet a variety of their needs, such as digital asset management (DAM), product information management (PIM), a content management system (CMS), and more.

As processes and information become digital, the foundation is set in place for long-term, continuous improvement. Before transitioning to the next level (connected), brand teams start to look for more ways to share data, increase speed, and automate tasks.  

Connected 

In the connected level of digital maturity, information is shared among other systems and programs the company uses for information management, content creation, and distribution. 

Omnichannel consistency is achievable, and metrics can be analyzed from the different channels to understand performance and drive future campaigns. 

With this information, managers determine quality across entire campaigns, rather than just specific channels. 

Brands with a strong digital ecosystem are often leaders in their market because they have learned how to harness the power of connectivity and realize the return on investment of their marketing campaigns more quickly. 

Some of the systems brand leaders may use include: 

  • Marketing automation 
  • Social engagement 
  • Web content management 
  • Online video platforms 
  • Customer relationship management 
  • Enterprise resource planning 
  • Product information systems 
  • Mobile device management 
  • Marketing resource management 

The connected phase of the digital maturity model paves the way for more visibility, speed, and quality that propels brands toward the intelligent stage of digital maturity. 

Intelligent  

At this stage, a company’s technologies are so connected and intuitive that their information and digital assets automatically synchronize across internal and external interfaces. 

Brand teams don’t spend time completing tasks that can be automated. Rather, they focus on creative campaigns that make their brand stand out, while managers monitor analytics to understand what was achieved and what is still achievable with their marketing and omnichannel campaigns.

Brand leaders use predictive analytics to understand which images, colors, or other image elements customers are more responsive to. A deeper understanding of what consumers prefer is developed, which enables marketers to optimize their content for conversions.  

Analytics provide the numbers to predict, measure, and update campaigns based on value. The marketing team has easy access to data, proving the value of their campaigns.

Brand managers are not only able to detect errors but also predict and resolve them before they are noticed on a broad scale. Internal and external teams align on projects and managers have greater control over the full process. 

Where Do You Stand? 

Companies that advance through the stages of digital maturity are leaders in their industries. Digitization allows them to experience the benefits of lower costs, shorter time-to-market, and the ability to enhance customer experience. 

Learn where your company places within the digital maturity model and discover how to digitize your marketing process by downloading the e-book, The Digital Marketing Maturity Model.

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