So you want to be a marketing organization that’s truly digital?

While your company’s leadership may have a solid idea of what they want for the business in terms of digital transformation, in order to achieve it, they need to get every level of the organization working towards that goal.

The way to do that, says independent digital consultant Kate Hamer, is to create a ‘digital mindset’ throughout your organization. It’s one thing to know that you need to use digital tools, and another to understand the value of digital in all areas of marketing.

In a webinar for Squared Online, the digital marketing leadership course developed with Google, Hamer gave her expert insight into how marketers can go about creating a digital mindset in their own organization. Here are just a few of her tips.

Start with what the consumer wants

It’s important to inspire people around the business as to the benefits of using digital channels, but make sure your consumer is front and centre of this approach. No matter how up-and-coming it makes you feel, it’s not going to be worth using a trendy new social network or platform if it’s not where your consumer is.

“For me, if you are a consumer-centric business and you’re really starting with what the consumer wants or needs, then you can’t go far wrong,” said Hamer. Thinking about the consumer first will give you the best possible starting point for your digital strategy.

Give your brand a distinctive voice online

In a related point, Hamer highlighted that nowadays, brands are truly in conversation with their consumers in a way that they haven’t been before. Online outlets like social media and even search, to an extent, are making this kind of exchange possible.

But how many brands have really created the distinctive online voice that they need to communicate with consumers? According to the Talent Revolution Survey 2015, a landmark survey of digital change and best practice within the marketing industry, only 35% of marketers agreed that they had succeeded in creating a consistent social media voice for their brand.

“You need to be able to talk more about your brand,” said Hamer. Part of that engagement is about looking for the opportunities that arise and being creative with them.

Hamer used the example of Richard Osman’s World Cup of Chocolate, which gave rise to a storm of consumer engagement on social media when it took place in late 2015 and early 2016, as chocolate lovers frantically tweeted their favourite chocolate brands. Yet not one chocolate brand was seen taking part.

“That was a real missed opportunity, because it wouldn’t have been elbowing your way into a conversation where you weren’t invited – chocolate brands were being tweeted by their consumers, and that could have been a really nice way to get involved.

“Those kinds of things are really where marketing can do some fun, creative stuff.”

Allocate spend on digital media

Another way to make sure digital is a clear priority for your business is to allocate spend to it. It can even be an arbitrary amount, said Hamer – just as long as you have some real financial commitment to your digital goal.

“Sometimes, businesses have to allocate an arbitrary amount of spend on digital media to try and push the agenda and make people focus on it,” Hamer explained.

Having part of the budget set aside for digital media then allows businesses to move towards a “truly agnostic” approach to digital planning. “Where you’re looking at ‘Who is my consumer? Where are they?’ and then investing in the right channels, be they online or offline, to communicate with people,” said Hamer.

Don’t wall off digital teams

When businesses need to focus on something, they often create a separate team that can dedicate itself to the project; but in doing this, it’s important not to wall off digital teams from the rest of the business.

While you do need digitally focused staff to advise on a project, Hamer emphasised, marketers themselves need to be digital experts in order to survive. Digital isn’t just an extra skill set or an additional channel any more; it’s the new reality of marketing.

“If [your marketers] are doing campaigns and then handing off to a digital team and letting them focus on the digital bits, they’re eventually going to become extinct anyway,” said Hamer.

Other areas of the businesses need to support marketers in this, said Hamer, from legal and finance to IT. The Talent Revolution Survey found that only 20% of marketers agreed that support functions of the business like these were able to support them in digital.

“It’s all well and good upskilling marketers on all the great channels you can use, but if they’re coming back into the business and wanting to do retargeting of people who’ve been on their website and Legal aren’t knowledgeable about cookie policies and what that means for your terms and conditions, then it’s not going to work so well.”

Click here to watch the full digital marketing transformation webinar, with expert advice from digital consultant Kate Hamer and Director of Google Digital Academy Shuvo Saha.