Neby EjiguNeby Ejigu

Another playbook? It seems like the remix that never ends! Well, here’s one more to add to your playlist. This one shares the hard-earned lessons from guiding countless clients—big and small—through their digital transformation journeys, successes, failures and frustrations to drive better business outcomes.

Before we start, you might ask, “Why should I care?” Let’s be real: A client’s digital transformation changes everything, especially how they communicate. Understanding their transformation and being able to guide them through it becomes crucial. This is where marketing and PR teams step up by working together and breaking down those old barriers.

Whether you’re an in-house marketer or an agency pro handling multiple clients, these are some lessons to help you drive growth and get real results. This playbook covers the basics: choosing the right tech, staying safe and tracking success.

Core challenges

Strategic focus in a noisy landscape. Clients often struggle to stay focused amid the buzzwords and ever-evolving tactics. Your role is to help them maintain a laser focus on long-term goals, prioritizing initiatives that directly support core business objectives and deliver tangible value.

Data-driven decisions for measurable impact. Data is plentiful, but actionable insights are what drive client success. We’ve seen clients thrive by mastering data-driven storytelling and translating raw numbers into strategies that fuel impactful marketing campaigns and targeted PR pitches. Remember, data-driven organizations acquire customers at a 23x higher rate.

This article is featured in O'Dwyer's May '24 PR Firm Rankings Magazine
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Avoiding the tech trap: strategic adoption is key. Emerging technologies offer exciting possibilities, but too often we see clients chase shiny objects rather than focusing on fit. Guide your clients to make discerning choices. Ensure tools align perfectly with their goals, deliver true ROI and integrate seamlessly into existing workflows to prevent costly disruptions and inefficiencies.

Cybersecurity: safeguarding your clients’ digital fort. We’ve observed firsthand the devastating consequences of cyberattacks on businesses. Marketers and PR professionals play a crucial role in protecting client brand reputation and customer data. Advise your clients on implementing robust security solutions like Crowdstrike and Okta. A staggering 60 percent of businesses hit by cyberattacks fail within six months, highlighting the critical need for proactive security measures.

Unified attribution: proving the value of every touchpoint. Siloed data is a major roadblock preventing clients from accurately tracking their customer journeys and demonstrating the effectiveness of marketing and PR efforts. Unified attribution is the solution. Help your clients map actions, communications and measurable outcomes—lead generation, website traffic, media mentions—to showcase the strategic value of each touchpoint and secure crucial resources.

Your strategic toolkit

Measurement frameworks to track success. Implement robust measurement frameworks to quantify the impact of every initiative. This enables precise tracking of outcomes and aligns marketing efforts with business objectives, ensuring that each action contributes to overarching goals.

Seamless integration to make everything click. Imagine your client’s data and systems as a complex web of information. The key to unlocking true transformation is making all those threads connect seamlessly. For in-house teams, that means hooking into their existing tools—like their customer database or product info hub—to get the data they need to make quick, smart decisions. This smooth flow of info lets everyone on the team, from marketing to sales, work together like a well-oiled machine.

For agencies, the challenge is being adaptable. Every client’s tech setup is unique. Your superpower is being able to adjust your approach to fit their existing systems. Focus on tools that play nicely with their stuff, ensuring a smooth rollout and avoiding any headaches.

AI & automation: your time-saving BFFs. Let’s face it, repetitive tasks can suck the life out of creativity. For in-house teams, AI tools are like having a whole new department on your side! These tools can speed up tedious chores like generating reports, crunching data or personalizing content at scale. The result? A team with more time to focus on big ideas and innovative strategies instead of getting bogged down in the daily grind.

Agencies can win big here too! Automating routine tasks frees up your team to deliver game-changing ideas. Recommending AI-powered solutions to clients doesn’t just improve their efficiency, it shows you’re a forward-thinking partner who truly gets their needs.

From personalization to personal. The magic of personalization lies in understanding your client’s customers on a deeper level. This means using tools that uncover hidden insights about their target audience, allowing you to craft tailored experiences at every stage of the customer journey. For in-house teams, this translates to happy customers and a solid loyalty base.

Agencies can take this approach and scale it across their entire portfolio. Segmenting audiences and creating personalized campaigns becomes a breeze. That’s how you build strong, lasting relationships between brands and the people they serve. Advanced AdTech for Deep Personalization: Employ sophisticated AdTech to gain deeper insights into your client’s target audiences, allowing for the creation of highly personalized customer experiences. This not only enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty but also sets the foundation for scalable, personalized campaigns across your client portfolio.

Guiding clients through transformation challenges

We’re all aware that digital transformation can be quite intense. Each client encounters distinct hurdles, whether it’s garnering support across a sprawling organization or ensuring seamless technology transitions. Here are some ways you can assist them in navigating through these challenges.

Securing buy-in. Change can be daunting, especially for stakeholders focused on short-term metrics. Build a compelling case by speaking their language. Translate transformation initiatives into tangible business goals, highlight ROI potential and showcase success stories that resonate within their industry. Tie everything back to the core objectives that matter most to them.

Compelling case studies. Success breeds confidence. Gather a collection of client success stories, both internal and external to your organization. The key here is curating examples that resonate with your client’s specific challenges and industry. Showcase measurable results achieved through similar digital transformations.

Building a collaborative relationship. True transformation demands synergy. For in-house teams, foster open communication across departments to ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction. Become an extension of your client’s team through proactive communication, shared goals and transparent progress reporting. These partnerships built on trust are the bedrock of lasting success.

As we move forward, the demand for tangible outcomes from all our PR and marketing initiatives will continue to rise. It’s time to engage in conversations with clients who have yet to fully leverage technology to enhance their brand. Digital transformation journeys are ever-evolving, and optimization is a continuous process. Perfection may be unattainable, much like nirvana, but the journey itself is where the growth and optimization truly lie.

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Neby Ejigu is Senior Partner of Marketing Technology at FINN Partners.