Jun 30, 2022

The Roadblocks to Digital Marketing Transformation

There’s no denying it—today’s world moves to the beat of a digital drum. With the dawning of Web 3.0 and the metaverse in motion, now is a crucial time for businesses to embrace digital transformation.

Did you know? Spending on digital transformation is likely to exceed $1.8 trillion by 2025 as businesses across every possible sector update their internal strategies and processes for success in the modern age.

With an ever-expanding choice of channels and touchpoints to explore, marketing is one of the most vital catalysts for growth in the age of digitalization. Digital marketing transformation is no longer an organizational bolt-on—now it’s a crucial component of commercial survival.

Despite this fact, there are still many roadblocks to digital marketing transformation. These issues or ‘push backs’ stunt organizational growth and put brands at risk of being left drowning in the digital dust.

But, what are the roadblocks to digital marketing transformation, exactly? Let’s take a look.

1. Resistance to organizational change

Digital marketing transformation isn’t just a case of exploring new promotional channels and embracing new technologies. To transform successfully, a cultural change needs to take place.

If your senior decision-makers have an attitude of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, digital marketing transformation cannot take place. As such, a reluctance to change is one of the biggest barriers to success.

Without senior buy-in, things will never change for the better. The digital world is in constant change and what works today may not work tomorrow. Just take a look at the likes of Toys R Us and Blockbusters.

These once innovative brands failed to update their operational models and by missing out on key digital marketing opportunities. Eventually, new digital competitors (in Blockbusters’ case, the unstoppable Netflix) swiftly monopolized the market with more modern and flexible solutions—and these once mighty brands went bust.

To avoid your brand suffering the same fate, it’s essential you create a powerful and persuasive digital marketing strategy. Our guide to the 7 key ingredients of a successful digital marketing strategy will help you with your efforts.

2. Data management issues

Without access to concrete data that everyone can understand and use to their advantage, digital marketing transformation strategies fall flat at the first hurdle (even if you do have senior buy-in).

Digital marketing transformation requires insight, intelligence, and strategic thinking.

To truly succeed, you need:

  • A clear indication and understanding of your objectives
  • Concrete insights into what your customers want and need
  • Accurate projections of your budgets and plans
  • Roadmaps and outlines of the channels you propose to explore and the tools or technologies you will need to transform

Without access to quality data, digital marketing transformation quickly becomes an uphill struggle. To ensure everyone is on the same page, accessing relevant insights in one central location is vital. If your data is poor or fragmented, you cannot proceed.

Read our guide to the 4 essential digital marketing KPIs to track for your next campaign and our data-driven marketing strategy tips to take charge of your organization's insights. 

3. Budgetary limitations

Another big roadblock to digital marketing transformation is budgets (or budgetary planning). Transforming your entire marketing department is a big challenge and with several areas to consider, achieving your digital goals comes at a cost.

According to a study from TechRepublic, 51% of organizations cite budget constraints as their main roadblock to digital transformation.

When budgeting for digital marketing transformation, many brands fail to account for the costs of staff training and IT legacy system integrations or upgrades.

In addition to investing in new platforms and technologies, it’s important to remember that unexpected challenges can crop up when you’re integrating the old with the new.

Speaking to MRC on the subject, Neetika Khanna, Marketing Manager at Data Capture Solutions, explained:

“Although budgets are being set aside for digital transformation projects for new technologies to be implemented, they often don't integrate with legacy line of business applications.

That's where organizations hit a roadblock and are forced to free up more budget to either upgrade legacy systems or to spend on IT effort and develop custom integrations."

By going over your entire digital marketing transformation strategy with a fine tooth comb and considering every eventuality, you can plan your budgets for a smooth departmental (and organizational) transition.

When investing in such a bold project, it’s also important to consider your prospective marketing return on investment (ROI). If you roll out your digital transformation strategy effectively, you will make a profit from your efforts and investments. When setting budgets, it’s always worth remembering that fact.

Explore our full digital marketing budget toolkit and gain a working understanding on how to manage the finer fiscal details of your digital marketing transformation project.

“There are a whole bunch of marketeers out there that are still (working) in the ‘90s that you can’t forget to bring them into the present and educate them that the world is changing really quickly.” Frank Hattann, Global Head of Sales, Intertrust

4. A lack of digital skills and knowledge

Without a doubt, one of the most colossal roadblocks to digital marketing transformation is a lack of skills or knowledge.

The digital skills gap costs the UK economy alone £63 million per year—a  number that’s hard to ignore. It doesn’t matter how water-tight your strategy is or how many tech solutions you invest in—without the skills to transform theory into action, your efforts will be redundant.

Having the internal talent to not only leverage your new platforms or solutions but engage with your audience across an ever-expanding range of digital channels (and get results) is critical. Without a wealth of relevant digital skills under your organizational belt, your marketing efforts will fail to hit the mark.

Many modern brands looking to transform their digital marketing strategies don’t invest in staff training and development and they suffer.

Speaking to us in our recent survey on digital marketing skills about the vital importance of investing in the skills of your internal talent, Andrew Mortimer, Managing Partner at Aperto Partnership, said:

“There’s a McKinsey statistic that 7 out of 10 digital transformations fail. So, if you want to be in the 3 out of 10 that’s succeeding, how are we training marketers? Because marketers should be driving a lot of this to lead change this transformation.”

Empowering your internal talent with access to relevant training, certifications, and marketing courses will essentially bring your digital transformation efforts to life. Armed with access to flexible lifelong learning opportunities, your internal talent can continually upskill themselves and meet the demands of a constantly shifting digital landscape.

In doing so, you will enjoy a healthy return on investment (ROI) from your digital marketing transformation efforts while ensuring your brand remains robust and adaptable at all times.

“Expertise is the most important factor in a company's ability to successfully implement digital change and we must also consider technology, customer experience, operational processes, business models, and data.” Director of Marketing, Marketing, Communications & Advertising, Trinidad & Tobagos

Get the skills you need to transform your digital marketing strategy

Gain the critical skills you need to thrive in the age of digital with DMI's certified Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. Or, if you’re a senior decision-maker, reward your internal talent with access to our flexible in-house digital marketing learning platform.

Here your staff can gain the skills they need to make your digital marketing transformation strategy a living, breathing reality while excelling in their careers.

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.