March 1, 2017
As the third annual Center for Digital Transformation (CDT) at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business is approaching on March 23, 2017, their “Road to Reinvention, Leadership in the Digital Age” theme continues to have a profound effect on marketers. While there is an impressive line-up of participants from enterprise level stalwarts including Intel, McKinsey, Target, Hyundai and Kodak among others, Orange County business is dominated by mid-market companies. Digital transformation and the need to “reinvent digitally” is arguably more important to smaller companies with constrained resources.
Let’s Look at the Facts…
For our purposes, we will define “mid-market” as companies with revenues from $50M to $500M. Also, let’s be clear here, there is becoming less and less of a distinction between B2B and B2C because 80 to 95 percent of all B2B customers or B2C consumers are interacting with a company or brand digitally first.
We now live in an app driven business world. This is caused by the maturation of technology over the last 30-years to where the value of technology is not in driving employee efficiency or enabling scale, but in interacting with the customer or consumer. It is indisputable that a better customer experience, primarily driven digitally, equates to higher revenue and growth.
How Can Digital Transformation Change Mid-Market Businesses?
Here is an example of how digital transformation for mid-market companies is paramount in this evolving digital-first atmosphere:
A small industrial company that sells equipment nationally into the construction sector has, for the past two generations, done business via personal connections. The business has done very well as the “phone rings” with customers calling the owner asking him to help them solve problems.
The challenge of course is that this does not scale, and it so happens that while he’s second generation, he has no family working in the business. More importantly, as the customers become more and more digitally enabled they are going to lose business simply because they will not ever be in the game.
There are two key things that need to be addressed by this company with digital transformation:
- Clear and concise communication that they are a solutions company – not just selling equipment and services. They need to replicate online the experience a customer or prospect receives when they call the owner directly with a problem.
- Their target customer has changed and they must engage with them digitally. Today, when a company in Denver or Birmingham is looking for a solution there is a 30-year-old employee tasked with coming up with a recommendation. He does not know the owner, or quite possibly, that the company even exists – he goes online. He does not have a Rolodex but he knows that a Google search is all-powerful. A pair of smart paid and organic search campaigns can help to ensure this potential customer finds the business.
Mid-market companies are often made up of a mix of generational families or early entrepreneurs who have been building a successful business. Change is difficult especially when you have the force of will that tends to dominate successful mid-market companies; but the fact is that the customer is king in businesses both large and small. The application digital transformation in marketing is more important now than any other time.