I had a chance last week to attend a roundtable called #marketingtherapy. Arranged by Adobe, the conversation is an echo to their very relevant Digital Distress Survey.

Some impactful insights must be kept in mind: fewer than 10 percent of senior UK marketers declare to have full confidence in their own digital marketing skills [8%] or those of their teams [9%]. Moreover, over 50 percent of marketers in the UK are not testing campaigns or content, relying instead on instinct.

Digital transformation: a rhythm that does not fit with Social Media pace

One of the key issues is that transforming an enterprise into a digital business is actually a real battlefield: it's not only a technology problem or a debate on which framework needs to be used. As our panelists mentioned several times, it's also about leadership and vision.

According to Cap Gemini, most of the transformations require 2 to 5 years in order to be properly set up within big organizations. When we compare it with the short history of Social Media, it can seem a bit complicated to both invest in the right channels and also forecast the "next big thing". This really shakes marketers who seem a bit tense when it comes to picking the right areas in their future mix:

digital disconnection from marketers

Marketing: a huge pressure on results, but small capabilities to demonstrate them

According to Adobe, two thirds of marketing departments do not have a developed data analysis and insight strategy and so there is a lack of information as well as experience. That is just crazy when you think about a structural weakness of marketers:

  • financial departments are filled with figures
  • sales departments have an immediate vision of the ROI of their actions
  • marketing departments have to fight to protect their budget with soft indicators

In addition, marketers must also manage creatives who sometimes lack availability to dive into data-driven presentations. And we don't even mention egos.

Answers: bringing rationales, facts and digital interfaces

Nonetheless, some interesting habits seem to be implemented within organizations, according to the panelists:

  • generalization of A/B testing: more and more solutions tend to integrate creativity and marketing, in order to make sure that what an organization publishes online is relevant for the communities; it's a partial answer to the potential obsolescence of digital investments in specific social networks.
  • managing a single view of the cutomer in the several touchpoints of the business value chain: after all, the famous "Zero Moment Of Truth" (Google) becomes a standard; digital is no longer perceived as another channel but as THE main social interface.
  • mock-up proofs of relevant concepts: Cap Gemini mentions the rising culture of AGILE deployment within organizations. Basically, once a concept is statistically valid, it should then be spread in other departments or territories.

At the end, marketers and social media teams should become change catalysts; the need of good marketing has never been that high; but it's now about shaping a shared culture both with consumers and employees, through tangible data and transformation of these data. A brand new adventure for Social Media - maybe the beginning of an industry.