Stumbling blocks to digital transformation: Monday’s daily brief
Plus, does your martech measure ROI?
Good morning, Marketers, and let’s take a fresh look at diversity.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of rote thinking when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Appoint a Chief Diversity Officer? Good idea. Diversity training, why not? Encourage some Employee Resource Groups. Take a (quick) look at the state of pay equity. Release a statement deploring gender inequality and systemic racism, and supporting LGBTQ rights.
Job done? Not according to Dr. Lauren Tucker, who provided us with an extensive interview this week (see below) which challenges us to think first about inclusion and equity, then about diversity. As a consultant, primarily to marketing agencies, she puts operational change ahead of attempts to raise consciousness at an individual level. And in addition to the moral imperative behind diversity, she emphasizes the business imperative. How are you going to successfully reach and persuade a culturally diverse, potentially global audience, if your own company culture is homogeneous.
Strong opinions, and plenty to reflect on. Look out for part two of the interview.
How inclusion can lead to diversity in marketing and communications
“The mission here is to spread the message. We’re quite evangelistic on our end,” said Dr. Lauren Tucker at the conclusion of a wide-ranging conversation about inclusion, equity and diversity. She is the founder of Do What Matters, a consultancy dedicated to promoting diversity in the marketing services industry, with a special focus on agencies. But when she talks about diversity, inclusion and equity, she puts inclusion and equity first. “We focus on operations and operational change, so we look to use inclusion-first management as a means of rewiring organizational behavior to make inclusion a default.”
Hiring a Chief Diversity Officer is not a panacea. “This is really top of mind for me,” said Tucker, “because I’ve had Chief Diversity Officers reach out to me in total frustration. Over the last year, it seems like everybody has decided to hire a Chief Diversity Officer. Don’t get me wrong, these are lovely people. Unfortunately, what it signifies is a bolt-on idea of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Instead, said Tucker, “what you need to do is focus on talent, and hire a Chief Talent Officer, whose sole responsibility is to manage that talent portfolio, and to advise the C-suite on what needs to be done.” Employee Resource Groups can help manage the social and cultural wellness of the agency, and they can help the Chief Talent Officer be the voice of the employees to the executive leadership. “But they can also articulate the change narrative that needs to happen within, within the employee base, so that that communication goes both ways.” This, Tucker believes, is the way to leverage the positive aspects of employee activism.
Please take our Martech Replacement Survey
A lot of things have changed for marketers over the last year, in bad ways as well as good. One positive: in a recent Sitecore survey, 77% of respondents said they had seen innovation over the past year and were able to build a more advanced tech stack.
We’d like to dig deeper into that, but we need your help. Have you replaced any applications in your tech stack in the past year? Have you moved from homegrown legacy applications to commercial solutions (or vice versa)? And what impact have those changes had on your team?
Yes, it’s time for the Martech Replacement Survey. May we ask for three minutes of your time to complete it here? We will share the results, of course.
Stumbling blocks for transitioning brands
Organizations of all sizes are facing some common obstacles in their digital transformation, according to a survey of over 250 U.S. brands by Nielsen. In some cases, especially among smaller businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic forced marketers to double down on the shorter-term goal of customer acquisition, even when they saw longer-term implications from lackluster data quality.
Customer acquisition, Nielsen found, was the top priority for businesses of all sizes, though on the whole, smaller businesses were more focused on this than larger orgs.
Data quality and accuracy were singled out as a challenge with which marketers were struggling. 86% of marketers from companies of all sizes see first-party data as an important resource to build up.
ROI is something three out of four marketers say they are still unsure about measuring accurately.
Connected TV (CTV) and addressable measurement are recognized by marketers as a source of new opportunities, but cited internal knowledge gaps as one of the highest barriers facing them in adding CTV to their marketing mix, according to the report.
Why we care. Brands are scrambling for first-party data to meet the cookie-less future head-on. Meanwhile, according to this survey, they feel that the data they already have is lacking. Data-driven marketing is supposed to enable organizations to connect all the dots and measure budget and ROI on every channel. They have to get their data and measurement together internally before opening up to competing performance marketing vendors and addressable CTV ad programs — although the latter, with the rise of data collaborations, is a promising development for targeted messaging to audience segments.
Does your martech measure ROI?
In a LinkedIn discussion of the Nielsen survey above, Scott Brinker highlighted a question about how confident respondents were that they had martech in place to measure ROI. Depending on budget size and industry sector, between 9% and 20% of respondents were positive about that. “On the less encouraging side…,” as Brinker says.
Isaac Smith of Allocadia produced an amazing analogy in response: “ROI is much like Monty Python’s Holy Grail. It’s easy to imagine, hard to find and can mean something different to everyone.”
Kathleen Schaub, an independent strategist, took a cool view: “Maybe marketers are just being realistic about ROI. Increasing the accuracy of probability of a result is a good goal. Marketing isn’t a machine or a piece of capital equipment. More like weather. Maybe the questions about ROI need to be updated.”
Quote of the day
“Over the last year, it seems like everybody has decided to hire a Chief Diversity Officer. Don’t get me wrong, these are lovely people. Unfortunately, what it signifies is a bolt-on idea of diversity, equity and inclusion.” Dr. Lauren Tucker, Founder, Do What Matters