Author: Jukka Sundquist / Chief Acceleration Officer, Nordic Morning Group
Date: 2021-04-27

Understanding your company's digital maturity and why it opens the door to a successful digital journey

The original post was written in Jukka's personal LinkedIn profile.

How often do you renew your website? If your answer is every three to five years – and nothing but small content updates are done in between – chances are that you’re just starting your digital journey. If, on the other hand, you follow your sales or leads in real-time, and make automated decisions to show personalized content to existing or potential customers based on those insights, chances are you’re already capitalizing on your digital journey.

Either way, it’s important to understand where your company is with digital maturity if your digital transformation journey is to be successful. So, why is it important, and how do I know what my company’s digital maturity is, you ask? Let me tell you.

Building blocks to reach a digital maturity from a sales and marketing point of view

Let's first start with the basic building blocks needed to reach a digital maturity which enables you to capitalize on the journey. Broadly speaking, from a marketing and sales point of view, the blocks needed are digital marketingdigital services and marketing automation. These of course divide into different, smaller entities like programmatic advertising, websites and different nurturing programs, but for the purpose of understanding digital maturity, we don’t need to go to a very detailed level.

1. Beginning phase of digital maturity

There is probably no company in the world nowadays that has not done something in the digital space. Most of them have websites and have at least tried some digital advertising. This means that pretty much all companies are at least at the beginning of their digital journey .

Typically in this phase, projects related to the different building blocks mentioned above are carried out as separate projects. Examples include increasing website traffic by starting Google AdWords campaigning, renewing your site every third year, and sending a newsletter to all your existing clients without personalizing the content based on different customer behaviors a couple of times a year.

In addition, there’s not much knowledge about digital marketing, sales and service development within the organisation, but rather all projects have different internal owners and are bought from different agencies. Digital marketing, sales and service development work as support functions. Digital is not treated as business critical and the digital customer experience is not coherent.

2. Acceleration phase of digital maturity

Once the set up phase is complete, knowledge within the organization is likely to increase, enthusiasm is heightened by successful projects and, most importantly, customer behavior is clearly changing towards digital. It’s here that companies usually realize that more is needed within digital to be able to serve customers better and grow the business. 

The three building blocks (digital marketing, digital services and marketing automation) all need to be connected as one growth-generating engine that deploys a great, coherent customer experience. This happens by redesigning customer and service experiences, as well as customer-centric internal processes, and by developing your technology stack in a way that data between technologies can flow smoothly to create a 360 degree view of your customers. You then need to utilize these insights to be able to automate serving the right content to the right person, in the right channel at the right time. At Nordic Morning, we call this process the Digital Growth Engine.

When entering this phase of digital maturity, which can be called an acceleration phase, there’s a lot of development to be done. It means that the focus of bought services changes from clear end deliveries (like traffic from Google AdWords), to customized value creation where the organization and its partners work together to build the Digital Growth Engine.

At this point, the organization has a huge desire to learn and therefore the learning curve is rapid. Bit by bit, the engine starts to come together. Consequently, digital business starts to become critical and customer experience more coherent. In a nutshell, digital growth starts to materialize.

3. Capitalize phase of digital maturity

The last phase of digital maturity is the phase of capitalization. This is when you’ve built the Digital Growth Engine and it’s generating growth, as well as a great, coherent customer experience by being able to serve the right message at the right time in the right channel for your customers. The vision is a 1:1 personalized digital dialogue with your customers while you monitor the running of the engine in real time through different dashboards. All your personalized messages are automated. The organization is constantly learning new things but development budgets are only given to a few projects where there is a clear business case value. Most budgets are put towards running the engine in order to generate digital growth. Digital business is now the overall business.

Why does it matter that you understand where you are in your digital maturity?

Understanding where you are in your digital maturity opens the door to a successful digital journey to understand what you’re able to do and consequently creating the proper roadmap. After all, all companies need to go through all these phases. There are no shortcuts. If you attempt to take too far a leap, it usually backfires. We’ve all heard about those technology projects that are too expensive compared to the value they create. This is a typical example of a leap too far. Ultimately, when you understand where you are with your digital maturity, create the right high level roadmap for your digital journey, and work in an agile way together with your partners with a focus on always generating business value, you will succeed.

We at Nordic Morning Group are glad to help you with your journey!

Comments are most welcome and appreciated