Addressing Common Cliches of Digital Transformation

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This is a podcast episode titled, Addressing Common Cliches of Digital Transformation. The summary for this episode is: <p>Digital transformation: it’s a movement that businesses in every industry have been told they need to undergo. But what does it actually mean for you and your marketing team?&nbsp;</p><p>In this episode of Level Up, the podcast for marketers by marketers created by Lev that distills best practices and strategies focused on helping marketers 1-up their strategy, Tyler and Joe discuss the common cliches and preconceptions of digital transformation. By breaking these cliches down, they pinpoint:&nbsp;</p><ol><li>What’s typically involved in a&nbsp;marker’s digital transformation&nbsp;</li><li>How it’s effective in enhancing the customer experience&nbsp;</li><li>How you can find a partner who adds value to every interaction throughout your digital transformation journey&nbsp;</li></ol><p><br></p>
🤔 Setting the Stage: What is Digital Transformation?
01:03 MIN
🤖 What's Involved In a True Marketing Digital Transformation
00:41 MIN
🤩 An Effective Digital Transformation Initiative Examines How Technology Is Enhancing CX
00:58 MIN
💪 Digital Transformation Is a Long-Term Iterative Process
00:51 MIN
🥇 What Successful Companies Are Valuing Within Their Digital Transformation
00:47 MIN
💰 The Opportunity Cost of Digitally Transforming CX
01:16 MIN
👶🏿🚶🏿‍♀️🏃🏿‍♀️ An Example of a Crawl, Walk Run Approach to Digital Transformation
02:15 MIN
🛍️ Customers Are At the Center of Digital Transformation
00:37 MIN
🗄️ How CDPs Empower Marketers to Gain A True Vision of Their Customers
01:21 MIN
🗃️ Where Should CDPs Enter Your Digital Transformation Journey?
00:37 MIN
🤝 Key Characteristics to Look for in a Digital Transformation Partner
02:00 MIN
🎁 A Great Marketing Partner Prioritizes That Every Interaction Adds Value
00:43 MIN

Joe Kaltenthaler: Thank you for joining us for Level Up, the podcast for marketers by marketers created by Lev that distills best practices and strategies focused on helping marketers increase their experience, 1-up their strategy, and grow personally and professionally. Hey everybody, this is Joe Kaltenthaler. I'm the Senior Manager of our data and identity practice here at Lev, and I'm joined by my pal, Mr. Tyler Williams.

Tyler Williams: Oh, mister, wow. What a high praise. Yes. Good afternoon or good day, depending on when you're listening to this. My name's Tyler Williams. I'm our Vertical Sales Leader for the RCG and CMT Verts. Very happy to be speaking with you all today. We're going to get this started with a little bit of an icebreaker that's not focused on digital transformation. We are currently recording this episode on Friday, March 17th. It is 3: 13 p. m. which means we are in the midst of the second day of March Madness. Joe, I have a tangentially related to March Madness question for you.

Joe Kaltenthaler: Hit me with it.

Tyler Williams: Who is the worst kind of person come March Madness? Now you have three options here. The person that comments on the result of every single game. Second, the person that no matter how ridiculous of an upset just occurred within the bracket, someone on planet Earth picked that game because their cat knocked over the cup of the color of that team. That person comes out of the woodwork and says, " I had that upset." The third is the person that says, " Oh, my gosh, my bracket is busted after the result of some game." Spoiler alert, everyone's bracket is busted after a matter of two games likely. Who is the worst type of person in the month of March?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Well, that's tough. I would say... I'll tell you who it's not first.

Tyler Williams: Okay.

Joe Kaltenthaler: I think it's not number three, because like you said, that's everybody. I'm not so mean to say that everybody's the worst person ever.

Tyler Williams: I appreciate that.

Joe Kaltenthaler: I would say it's probably number two because there's always that level of, I don't know, I'll call it maybe self-importance of having to have the last laugh when... Yeah. I don't know. It's kind of the same as a gender reveal where you've got the people that, " Oh, I knew it." Even if they were wrong, you wouldn't hear them say, " I didn't know it." But if they were correct, you always hear that they knew it. I would say it's number two.

Tyler Williams: You took that even a step further than I was planning on. What a perfect analogy to the gender reveal. You never hear about the upsets they had, but didn't actually happen. Very, very well said. I tend to agree with you. It also might be my inner competitive psychopath that my wife picked an upset that I didn't have. I'm just upset about that internally. But we don't need to go into my emotional issues.

Tyler Williams: Okay. We're here to talk about some digital transformation things, to use a technical term, and we kicked around the title or topic of this podcast. We knew we wanted to talk about this cliche that this phrase digital transformation. You'll hear it a lot. It's not a cliche in the sense that it's not important and not something that companies should be focused on. But what we're planning on discussing today is how do we define this? How is this thing successful for companies and how is digital transformation relative to each company vertical, et cetera, when we start to think about what our clients are going through in the industry and where a partner such as Lev helps our clients as we think about digital transformation. That being said, Joe, to ask you a wildly open- ended question, how do we even start to define what is actual digital transformation, this phrase that gets thrown around a lot in our industry?

Yeah. I think first off, like you said, it's a cliche, not necessarily because it's not important, but I think it's become a cliche because everybody's talking about it. It could mean different things to different people. People are probably ascribing that title to something that may not actually be true digital transformation. When I say true digital transformation, and even eye- rolling a little bit, you can't see me because this is a podcast, but you hear it so much that it starts to take on a... I don't know. It starts to be applied to everything when it's not everything. When I say that, I mean if you're just spicing up your email, adding a new email template, or if you're saying, " Hey, you know what? We need to spend a little bit more money on paid media ads this quarter." That's not digital transformation. I think there's a kind of loftiness that I would say differentiates true digital transformation from what it might be actually taking on in the MarTech space. First off, I would say it's not everything you're doing as a marketing group. I would say true digital transformation is a huge level of effort that involves this triumvirate of people, process, and technology. When I think of true digital transformation, I'm thinking of a significant investment in a really big change in your tech stack, potentially a change in your team structure, maybe adding new roles, adding responsibilities to people in existing roles, and/or adding a new skillset. We're talking either a net new platform, a new capability, or a complete swap out of an existing platform that's already operating or functioning. Then on top of that, what are the processes that we as a marketing team are handling such that we... all of this stuff is interrelated, I guess. If you're introducing this really big new tech stack, there's likely new capabilities that you didn't have before, which is good. As a result, you should likely have and probably have new capabilities or skillsets that your team needs to have to support this ongoing. You also likely need new processes that these new capabilities can dovetail into. Really long answer to your question, but I feel like when I think of digital transformation, I think of something really needy, really significant. We're talking more than six months of a timeframe. We're talking at least a year. We're talking three years out.

Tyler Williams: Yeah. I completely agree with the end of your final statement, Joe. That's this idea of it's probably three years plus because I would argue that the companies who are doing this right, it's taking them six months to a year to even set the plan in place to if they are actually going through a digital transformation. Because what that takes is not just your brand manager or your marketing manager saying, " Ooh, I'm going to buy a new piece of technology." That is not digital transformation. The companies that are actually doing this effectively, it is true organizational alignment from the very top. That means you're aligning typically your office of your CTO/ CIO alongside of your CMO because those are the groups that we see driving true digital transformation as we see technology enabling the customer experience. Those are the groups that have to be on board to affect true change within an organization. Oftentimes, if you're going to get multiple C- suite members to buy into a long- term strategy such as digitally transforming, much less your marketing department, but your business, even getting them on the same page of that plan, aligning on strategy, aligning budgets, et cetera, can take six months to a year, especially in large organizations certainly. Let's start thinking about the prep that we have to do. Let's say once that decision is actually made, our C- suits is lined up, we have the right budget aligned. We start to thinking, " Hey, what is the actual organizational prep for the leaders and personnel that are actually going to implement and affect this change?" Let's say it's directors, managers, and on down. Joe, what are some of the things you see with clients who are doing that prep well or perhaps not doing that prep well?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I think first off, they're actually engaging, like you said, all the different levels of business across not just their teams, but across the different stakeholders in different areas of ownership, I guess. Like you said, I've seen a number of projects struggle from the very beginning because we didn't have the CTO bought in or we didn't have that IT leader that needed sign off for this snippet of code to go on the website. I mean, that causes short- term headaches for both us as an implementation partner, but also just the client in terms of maximizing the fact that, " Hey, we're paying this consultant to help us implement this technology" and this is a roadblock that the meter's running right now. I think there's some level of just those conversations of getting everybody involved and understanding what their level involvement is in the actual implementation. If you've got some transactional data, for example, in some database somewhere, the person with the keys to that needs to be consulted and aware of how access may need to be granted for the lab team to come in and create some reports or enabling that other part of the business that wants to use certain transactions for building a segment that ultimately is going to turn into a marketing campaign for people that have bought products in that particular category for a certain period of time. There's conversations of just when it comes to data ownership and stewardship that can and should be happening before a contract gets signed that is going to help get all the right people around the table and understanding, " Hey, this is the person." You've heard about a RACI matrix. I think that could help. It doesn't necessarily have to be that legitimized for the sake of prepping for an implementation or this transformation process. But it helps just listing out who are all the potential players, who are people that need sign off, who are people that can answer questions that maybe I, as a marketing leader, I'm making an assumption about the relative ease at which we can connect to this database that is owned by another team. Maybe I'm making assumptions about the level of security. If I'm a health and life sciences client, we run into things all the time around security and permissioning, and is this database going to contain personal health information, things like that. Just being aware and listing out all those assumptions ahead of time and discussing with all those different owners, I think it's a great first step in this really long roadmap mapping type of exercise.

Yeah. I think when we think about the very start of that roadmap, and it comes time to implement, a really important thing for especially leaders to be aware of, and something that should trickle down the organization as far as expectations go is that digital transformation, like any change, is initially painful. It can be scary, especially for frontline individual contributors. But leaders have a responsibility to the business and to their people to say, " Hey guys, we are doing this for a reason, and here's the long-term value despite what potentially might be some short-term pain." Digital transformation is not just straight up into the right linear path for most businesses. There are switching costs and those costs hit both your people, your process and your technology. Having an understanding about, " Hey, what is the switching cost for my people?" Right now I have a team that's used to working on, for example, Marketo within the Adobe stack. We as a business have made the decision that there is more value in marketing cloud for our future goals. If I have a full marketing department who is a bunch of people who have established processes against how to function within the Marketo or Adobe platform, those things may have to change. That comes with a cost. It either means training your people, which hopefully you do, because we want to retain top talent who've been loyal to your business. But it also might mean hiring some net new people. Having an expectation of, " Hey, if I'm switching technology," or heaven forbid, hopefully most companies have already done this, but if I'm going from on- prem to a cloud solution, that takes a huge step, not necessarily up. There's plenty of customizations and positive things that can happen with on- prem software, but you're taking a huge lateral step at minimum, if not a step up when you think about the changes require between people, process, technology if you're making a true digital transformation. Again, those costs effect, to use another cliche term, all of your people, process and technology. Joe, I know I talked a little bit about, " Hey, those initial steps, it's not always rainbows and sunshine on day four of an implementation." But if we think about some of those building blocks or foundational activities, or even as we start to think about how do you identify your business and marketing needs, what are some of your first thoughts there?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I think a big part of what you outlined is... Another thing I want to add on to that too before we jump off of that point is if we're going through the transformation process, people also have to maintain current operations and their current day job while also adding this new capability into their wheelhouse. Like you said, this investment, it's going to hurt or it's going to be a little bit painful for a number of reasons, but the pain is worth it in the end. That was one other thing I wanted to just add before we shift the gears a little bit. But yeah.

Tyler Williams: Well, Joe, it's really important then for me to reference a phrase that my father told me growing up. Shout out. We won't name names on this podcast. But what does not kill you makes you stronger. I never thought I would say that about a Salesforce marketing cloud or marketing customer experience podcast, but it's part of the digital transformation experience. Am I not right?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Here we are. Thanks, dad. That's great. Yeah. Some building blocks. We talked about obviously the organizational prep that needs to happen, conversations that we need to be enacting even before we're even starting to think about inking a contract, procuring licensing, selecting a partner. All of that is well and good, it needs to happen. But as we start to get into the actual road mapping conversation, I think one key thing is, as we've been talking about setting expectations within an organization, understanding the, I would say milestones for the relative timeframes around when can we expect to establish a certain capability? We talk a lot about the... Another cliche we're just going to keep going with clichés. But another cliche, crawl, walk, run. I think that is a really important concept to think about as we're talking about adding a new platform capability to our wheelhouse. For example, if we're able to create a list of almost like bullet points or just basics for if we're doing a multi- platform implementation. Let's say we're adding a CRM. We're adding a real- time interaction management or personalization platform. We're adding an email sending platform. We've got those three things that we're adding to our stack. We're probably shifting over from one or two and then adding one net new. In this hypothetical situation, just go with me. One great way is just let's come up with a list of what are those basic capabilities that our marketers are ultimately going to need to do within that platform. Just functionally in marketing cloud, for example, can I create a data extension? Can I create an automated way to move data from point A to point B? Can I create an email template? We come up with this list of actionable things that I can check the box off and I can see the capability of my team growing. I can see almost the footprint within the platform. We're almost like turning on different rooms within the house, if that makes sense. By the end of implementation stage A, for these three platforms, we've got 40% capability unlocked within marketing cloud. This is just from the functional perspective. I haven't even talked about how this impacts sending an actual message to a customer. But this is kind of that, how do we as a marketing team just get that capability under our belt so we can execute and send that message? Of course, I'm coming to you from a very technical delivery minded mindset of how do I enable my team and how do I gain the actual skill that turns into the marketing message?

Tyler Williams: Yeah, Joe. I think everything you just mentioned, the companies that we're seeing do this successfully, the precursor to that list of what are the capabilities, what functionality or maybe technical gaps do I have today? The companies that are doing this well are placing a value and/ or a metric on what happens if I can't personalize this message. Or obviously they're analyzing their current state and saying, " I can't automate this process. I can't build an audience that looks like this." There is work to be done even before a list happens like that to say, " What is the opportunity or potentially cost savings?" Because those are the two things that companies are analyzing as they consider digitally transforming. They have to ask themselves, what is the value of this process and/ or the cost savings of this process? When we think about that, oftentimes we have to think about, " Hey, if I could," to use a retailer example, " If I could better segment or better personalize my message, what would be the expected lift on a conversion per email campaign?" It's marketing, which means that the answer yesterday is not the answer today. But oftentimes you have to have a strong business case to undergo a process as in depth and as strategic as at least what we think of when we think of digital transformation. If you think about campaigns, if you think about the general customer experience and just even elevating the conversation up further, what is the value of owning the customer and being able to deliver the right message at the right time? There are going to be some companies out there that say, " There's no value. I'm already in front of my customer as much as I need to be, and my good old sales reps are doing their job." There's some companies that it doesn't make sense from a value perspective to pursue digital transformation. Our perspective is largely the majority of companies must pursue it or else they will be left behind. As we think about should I digitally transform or should I not, there always must be a conversation of what are our technical gaps or what are our gaps in the customer experience, and how does this path of digital transformation solve for those gaps? The reason we're looking to solve for those is because we have 3 million opportunity cost, because I can't personalize an email in real time based on a product a customer has recently purchased from me, as an example. Getting a little bit more into that value conversation. Joe, I know you mentioned crawl, walk, run previously. Customers are always asking us about benchmark data and talking about, " Hey, where am I at today? Where could I be? Where am my competitors?" Oftentimes what we're seeing more and more, and Joe feel free to expand on anything I just rattled off. But one of the things that I find really interesting that we hear in the marketplace is that retailers or hotel chains, or even manufacturing clients, they're not mentioning a product competitor. They're actually mentioning someone in a different industry whose brand really inspires them from a customer experience perspective. That was a random rabbit hole. But as we think about crawl, walk, run, owning that customer experience and owning that customer experience by digitally transforming, Joe, what does that crawl, walk, run look like? Or when it comes to benchmark data, what comes to your mind?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I know a lot of the clients that I have, especially in the real time personalization on web space, the gold standard that we want to get to after we're capturing enough data like the run sprint, the marathon sprint, the Usain Bolt, whatever you want to call it. Everybody's talking about Amazon's similar related, you might like this product algorithm. I know that in terms of... It is so great having clients that come in with that really lofty expectation at the beginning because it gives us something to shoot for, and it also helps us ultimately back into those smaller steps. There's always this tradeoff of, I would say, in an implementation almost speed versus depth, if that makes sense. I'll use another example. In a scenario where we need to build a bunch of code to listen to different user signals on a website, I'll use the website example again. In that example, a crawl use case could be, I really want to, as a marketer, capture more first party data. I'm having too many application abandonments, or I'm having too many scenarios where I get two- thirds of the way to that conversion. I want to maintain messaging with this individual, and it's that first, how do I capture or make this person on the website known? That could be a great crawl, which is let's build up the user information base. Let's build up the level, the amount of known people interacting with this website. The walk could be, now that I have this larger population of known individuals, can I then start off with a marketing cloud journey or a can I connect the dots from the website to the direct channel? Seeing something directly in your inbox, particular to actions you've taken, again, without being too creepy. There's a healthy level of creepiness that we as marketers need to judge for ourselves and judge for our client base on what makes sense. Then ultimately, yeah, that run could be throughout this implementation timeline, we delivered something in the first several weeks of let's capture that first party data. We're also building out the deeper level of code and things that we need, from a technical perspective, to capture those deeper behavioral signals. We're adding in the walk, we're connecting point A to point B, our interaction management platform to our email sending platform. Then the run, now that we've built out that deep data model over time, now we're able to run, and now we have been capturing this data the entire time. Now let's do that Amazon algorithm products you may like because of all of the data we've captured up to that point. That's more of a practical specific example of how does this crawl, walk, run look. But I would just encourage any client, any prospect, any marketing team out there, it is so great as an implementation partner to jump into the kickoff call and hear the lofty aspirational goals that you as a team want to get to. If you have specific tangible, we want to do push notifications like Chipotle, we want to do next best product like Amazon, something like that helps us as a team. It gets us excited as well.

Tyler Williams: Yeah. Joe, you said a lot of things alluding to the point I'm going to make. You talked a lot about companies wanting to transform in order to gather more data, deliver a push notification like Chipotle. But to flip the paradigm just a little bit, what we also see is that the clients who are most successful and are successfully digitally transforming, they're not looking in the mirror saying, " I need to digitally transform." They're the ones who are looking at their customers and saying, " The marketplace and/or my customers demand that I digitally transform." When we think about digital transformation, it certainly has a lot of impacts to your people, your process and your technology. But what must be at the center of any digital transformation strategy is the customer. Because everything that Joe just talked about from a data capture to a customer experience, the customers are who put money in business' pockets. That's who we have to always keep in mind. We can't lose sight of, " Oh, well, my marketing team will be 10% more efficient in campaign builds if." Well, what does that actually tell me? What we should be thinking about is, " Hey, if my campaign team can be more efficient, we can add one campaign per week." We know that that campaign will help our customers learn about a new product, which will build brand loyalty. What we really are trying to get to at the end of all this digital transformation conversation is how are you making your customer's experience with your brand better? Ultimately, what is the value of that? We'll hear lots of acronyms like CLV, Customer Lifetime Value. The goal of any digital transformation is to affect the customer experience. That can only be accomplished by capturing more and more data legally, and as Joe mentioned in a non- creepy fashion. But the more data we can capture and the more brand loyalty we can elicit from customers, the more data they will give us free access to. Because at the end of the day, we only complain about brands being creepy if we don't actually want to buy from that brand. If Nike or Amazon serves me the exact product that I had in the back of my brain and maybe only said out loud once, I'm probably like, " Cool, I'll buy." If brand X that I'm not all that interested in hits me with an add- on Instagram that I'm not that interested in. It's like, " Whoa, this is creepy. This is wrong." We have to be responsible with the use of our customer data. We start to think about how do we drive customer experience via data centricity. Joe, what's the first thing that comes to your mind there?

Joe Kaltenthaler: CDP, baby.

Tyler Williams: Yeah, Joe. I've heard of CDP. But more importantly, have you heard of the Salesforce Data Cloud?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Tell me more.

Tyler Williams: CDP is wonderful. I would love to hear more about CDP from a true expert.

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I mean, we've seen it. We've seen the market go this way over the past couple years where we are seeing the larger and larger importance placed on first party data. You may also hear zero party data. I'm not entirely sure exactly what zero party data is. But some people are talking about it and I think we'll probably talk about it on another podcast. But yeah. CDP, customer data platform, essentially the main value proposition here is you have all these disparate systems that integrate in different ways, file feeds, APIs, you name it. CDP is meant to be that centralized hub where you ingest the data, you build deep robust segments from all those different upstream systems, and then ultimately with the goal of being able to activate out to a unified vision of who your customer is. If you have different identifiers across different systems, this is a way to resolve duplicates and create one true vision of that particular user. Then build segments that capture all that information, transactional information, web behavior, advertisement engagement, add in some third party information as well. Combine all that into deep segments that you're able to then pass back to all those platforms like your email sending platform, your ad activation center, and also just report on different metrics of what is your actual true customer base look like. In a very long- winded way, that's CDP, that's the value proposition. That's where the marketplace is heading. If you haven't heard, sounds like you haven't, so I'm glad I could help illuminate some of that for you.

Tyler Williams: I might have heard a few whispers to be fair. I also think for our audience out there, it's really important to mention that the primary subject matter of this episode is to talk about digital transformation. Where we see most clients is that CDP is oftentimes while debatable, that it's arguably a foundational element of digital transformation because it's inherent that you're capturing the right data. You have a technology stack that allows you to do so. If you are not using any technical system or you are on- prem thinking about getting to the cloud, CDP is probably a couple of steps down the roadmap for you. Throughout today's conversation, we've gone from talking about, " Hi, I have no digital systems or maybe on- prem," or" Hi, I think digital transformation means spicing up my emails a little bit," all the way through some of the latest product offerings from Salesforce, which includes Data Cloud. To bring that conversation back just a little bit, I think it's important to note that something like a CDP can't enter your digital transformation roadmap at any point. Many clients, because CDP is relatively new to the marketplace of CRM, marketing, et cetera, that's becoming a little bit of an add- on to accentuate and add additional value to systems like a marketing automation platform or a CRM. But for folks just considering starting down a digital transformation pathway, it might be a viable conversation to understand what is our ideal customer experience and how does the ideal data model drive that? Does it make sense for us to have CDP near the start of our digital transformation roadmap, all viable conversation topics? Joe, as I'm sure you have experience, depending on where that client is on the spectrum of digital transformation, CDP is entering the conversation at any point along the spectrum or we're always having a conversation about readiness. What is the true value of a CDP based on where you're at as a digital operation, et cetera?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. Because I think, again, inherent to that is there is a huge benefit of being able to centralize your data, of being able to build those globally aware segments that is able to then be fed into all of your activation points. But with that, we keep talking about people processing technology. We're talking about a new way in a different way of building those segments of activating to those platforms of ingesting that data. There's an inherent amount of effort and understanding of your particular organization at your time with your systems that goes into that entire conversation. Yeah. Like you said, the classic consulting, it depends on where you're at. But those are some of those factors that it depends on.

Tyler Williams: Hey, Joe. As we transition to our final topic of digital transformation, would you say that success is dependent on establishing partnerships that allow you to remain nimble or not? I'm just kidding. That was a joke of a question. That's not how humans actually talk. Our final topic here, we're going to talk a little bit about partnerships that can make you successful as you consider and/ or are in the midst of digital transformation. As I alluded to a little bit earlier in the conversation, change can be intimidating. Oftentimes early in a digital transformation process, it will be painful to a degree, likely for your individual contributors and potentially up to the leadership level depending on how those first couple of months go on an implementation or a strategic overhaul. Joe, as we think about how to mitigate some of those change pains, which will happen regardless of how smooth of a project occurs, what do you think about when it comes to current operations, how we enable capabilities for the future, and how selecting the right partner is really important when you think about overhauling your tech stack?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I think a big part of this is just understanding what is the current level of ability relative to the platforms that you either have or are moving to within your current team and understanding, do we foresee a potential gap in the future, especially if we're bringing in a brand new platform that we may not have internal support for. It's understanding, do I have the team and the resources and the skill levels right now today to maintain and manage what we may be shooting for implementing in the future? If the answer is maybe not now at the moment, that is a great opportunity for you to potentially lean on and look for a partner that is able to offer some ongoing support in more of a staff augmentation type of role. If you are foreseeing a future gap in being able to support something that you're currently paying for being built, and also foresee having to maintain and manage in the future, which is if it's a transactional marketing platform like heads up, you're going to need someone that's able to keep the lights on and keep it running. Yeah. Looking for a partner that's able to partner with, actually partner with you and almost be a member or an extension of your team that understands your business at a deep level that knows what they built and is able to explain it to you in a concise way, and is able to essentially offer that support on an ongoing fashion. I think that's a really key tenant of what the right partner looks like. Also having a partner that has both depth in the platform, obviously, that they're implementing, but also breadth and understanding the rest of your organization's unique setup as well.

Yeah. I think, Joe, you mentioned something that's far more in your wheelhouse than mine. But I want to double down on it for even from my non- technical perspective. The depth in the technology cannot be discounted when it comes to who you trust to help shepherd you through a process like this. I actually came from a phenomenal digital agency, for the record, prior to coming to Lev. We knew our clients' businesses in and out, which is why we were exceptionally effective at digital marketing strategy, website content, SEO, paid, digital, all that kind of really fun stuff. After coming to Lev and understanding the depth of knowledge and strategy that goes into a platform such as the Salesforce Marketing Cloud or really any other large scale enterprise software, it is really critical to heavily weigh, does this partner have the true technical acumen to make me successful? Or do I simply have a good relationship with this partner and they know my business really well? I think as companies as, as prospects of Lev, evaluate, who should I trust to help me through. That technical prowess, while not always the number one consideration for companies, from our perspective, it should be the number one consideration. Because just if you have a good relationship and a company knows your business and knows a little something about marketing strategy, that's simply not enough to be trusted with such a burden as shepherding a company through a true digital transformation. As we think about how the right partner with the appropriate technical depth adds value, we think about making sure that with every interaction the client walks away saying, " Wow. That was phenomenal. I either learned something or I got asked a question that really made me think." We know that, even despite the fact that technical acumen must be at the top of the list when evaluating a partner, you also have to trust that that partner is actively listening and doing their best to understand, "Hey, what are your problems that we're trying to solve?" Because at the end of the day, that's what any partner should be asking, not, "What can I do with this piece of technology?" It's what problem are we trying to solve here. Lastly, forward thinking. We talked about thinking of digital transformation in annual terms, probably up to three years in advance, much less one year, much less six months and three months. We want to make sure that we're being progressive. We're thinking about the future. Joe, before we wrap up here, any final thoughts as we consider digital transformation, how to measure it, how to achieve it, et cetera?

Joe Kaltenthaler: Yeah. I mean, how you describe the great marketing partner and a great implementation partner. I think all of those totally hit. The one last thing I would say is add that technical depth and understanding add on top of that, that strategic mindset, like the last point you hit on about forward thinking. You can have the best technical implementation team ever. But if they don't have a guiding light, if they don't have that roadmap, if they don't have strong strategic folks on that project as well to help... I say this because I need this all the time. You probably heard me throughout this entire episode, I get down into the weeds because that's where I live usually. But it is so helpful and refreshing to have strong folks that are able to keep your eyes on the horizon. To use yet another cliché, I think we've hit. For those of you that are following along at home, I think you can probably cross off the cliche bingo free space was us talking about March Madness at the top of the hour. Yeah. I think all that combined, you need the technical prowess, you need the strategic mindset. You need to be intentional as an organization about having those hard conversations early before you even think about the line item in your budget for that next technology investment. But all that together, that's digital transformation.

Tyler Williams: Wow. Look at that close. Hey, in closing, thank you so much for joining us for this episode of Level Up. We look forward to continuing to level up your knowledge, and frankly, we're learning as we do this podcast as well. We're looking forward to further conversations on the latest news, technology and marketing trends affecting the marketer's day- to- day. Stay tuned for future episodes of Level Up. We'll have new episodes coming out every other Thursday on Spotify and Apple Music. Until next time, thank you for leveling up your marketing knowledge with us.


Digital transformation: it’s a movement that businesses in every industry have been told they need to undergo. But what does it actually mean for you and your marketing team? 

In this episode of Level Up, the podcast for marketers by marketers created by Lev that distills best practices and strategies focused on helping marketers 1-up their strategy, Tyler and Joe discuss the common cliches and preconceptions of digital transformation. By breaking these cliches down, they pinpoint: 

  1. What’s typically involved in a marker’s digital transformation 
  2. How it’s effective in enhancing the customer experience 
  3. How you can find a partner who adds value to every interaction throughout your digital transformation journey