How does your brand’s digital maturity measure up? 6 areas to focus your marketing efforts on first

Matthew Thornton / July 2020

In part one of our new Digital Transformation series, we look at the six areas that create a starting-point for assessing and measuring your company’s digital transformation, based on Google’s Digital Maturity Benchmark measurement tool.

The importance of being online for customers in the most helpful ways possible has taken on an entirely new meaning in recent days. But even before we had COVID-19, marketers were going through one of the most disruptive periods that the industry had seen in 25 years. Pre-pandemic, sophisticated digital marketers would tell you that data and technology were enabling them to take a generational leap from the precision era to the predictive era. The pandemic simply took digital marketing from a future-proofing strategy to a survival strategy.

Before the COVD-19 crisis hit, many marketers were already operating in crisis-response mode. Whether responding to existing or anticipated regulatory changes, or trying to keep up with the constant drumbeat of technology changes. The focus for most has been on short-term gaps and positioning, instead of ways to accelerate long-term strategy, building durable infrastructure to get ahead of the changes that we anticipate seeing two or five years down the road. Suddenly, add COVID-19 to the mix, and we now know that consumers have accelerated digital habits and will keep many of these new online habits beyond the pandemic.

It’s important for CMOs to take the crisis off the table for a moment and analyze how to measure their digital maturity to build a data-driven marketing strategy.

In order to win the attention of this new customer, brands must shift from a digital response to a digital transformation, with a unified, data-driven strategy across all of their people, platforms and process. CMOs can be the champions that are driving this digital transformation.

It’s important for CMOs to take the crisis off the table for a moment and analyze how to measure their digital maturity to build a data-driven marketing strategy that measures-up 24 months from now. Is it durable and ready for the industry challenges that lie ahead? Or does it risk lagging behind more digitally-mature competitors?

How digital maturity is measured

A marketer’s digital maturity is measured by their ability to use technology and data to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time. Google and BCG’s Digital Maturity Framework helps brands “build their technical and organizational muscle.” and guides companies along the path to full data-driven marketing and attribution.

Before the pandemic, few brands were realizing the full potential of data-driven marketing. However, according to a Google/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study, 60% of leading marketers believed data-driven attribution is essential to understanding journeys of high-value customers.1 Marketers can help companies work collaboratively across teams to produce better data and use that data to better understand audiences, reach them through multiple channels, and use agile processes to quickly shift strategies when needed.

Digital maturity is measured by examining a company's approach to six key areas:

  1. Organization: Digital maturity starts with the organization and requires a cross-functional approach, with collaboration and buy-in across teams. The most digitally-mature organizations are the ones where digital is championed from the CEO down — not just from bottom-up.
  2. Attribution: Digital tracking and tagging tools allow teams to accurately measure and value customer touchpoints. These insights then fuel strategies and allow marketers to make data-driven campaign decisions.
  3. Assets and Ads: Data and insights are key to creating relevant, attention-driving, intuitive experiences across digital touchpoints. Digital ads also allow marketers to quickly test what works and identify what doesn’t — then shift accordingly based on consumer trends or events unfolding around the world.
  4. Audience: With all of these insights from digital campaigns and platforms, digitally-mature companies are able to draw on first and third-party data to gain a clear understanding of audience segments and their needs throughout the funnel.
  5. Access: Digital allows marketers to expand reach and identify key audiences across all ad inventory types and channels, with the right levels of control.
  6. Automation: The most mature companies can quickly adjust campaigns and creative without overloading their teams, by using machine learning to automate processes and identify new trends and opportunities.

Measuring digital maturity provides a clear view of the journey

Each company’s digital transformation is unique and at a different stage. Some marketers may find themselves focused on some parts and overlooking others. Prioritization is all about finding the areas where you can have the greatest impact. This is a years-long process, that will yield some of the greatest benefits within months with a properly prioritized vision.

Google’s Digital Maturity Benchmark tool can help identify strengths, weaknesses and gaps, by asking a series of 50 specific questions to analyze where on the digital maturity scale your company sits. It creates a personalized report with tips for moving up the measurement scale.

By understanding where a company sits in this framework, marketers will have a better picture of what needs to happen next to accelerate that generational leap and capture the attention of the new digital consumer.

How to measure what matters most: A measurement model for success