The Next Wave of Digital Transformation

At the recently concluded 12th Mansmith Market Masters Conference, we asked three seasoned marketers about the next wave of digital transformation. They are Ana Aboitiz-Delgado, EVP and Director of UnionBank of the Philippines, Dr. Nicco Tan, Vice President of Genting Malayisa; and Neil Trinidad, Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Philippines. Here is a 4-point summary of what they shared.

Q1: What is one thing you want people to know about digital transformation?

Ana: All aspects of our lives were forced online. The challenge is to continue to leverage this technology in order to continue to be relevant in how we work, engage, and improve lives.

Nicco: Enjoy the ride. That’s life, but know that it’s not just digital transformation. This progress is also about the human heart and the human spirit.

Neil: The pandemic pushed us beyond our comfort zone, and those in ecommerce are experiencing hyper acceleration. Remember three points: 1) There will always be new solutions (so continue to try, scale, and repeat), 2) Double down on building trust, because trust builds loyalty, and 3) Now is the best time to try and learn new things. 

Q2: What do you need to consider and not overlook before undergoing digital transformation?

Ana: Focus on people before any transformation. Everybody must know why your chosen platform is burning, explain why. Also, get experts to brief you, secure the support of your board, and assess if you have the right talents (and if you need to bring new people in). Keep learning and unlearning. For example, senior directors of UnionBank had to go through learning robotics 101, coding 101, etc. 

Nicco: Do a digital assessment audit by ensuring four things: 1) That decision makers are on board, 2) Capabilities are present (structure, tech, skills, digital natives vs immigrants, people to bring in vs. for retirement), 3) Performance expectancy is solid (incentives), and 4) You know the effort expectancy (ease of use / usability).

Neil: Understand your consumers. What their consumer journey is, their pain points. Use data and do focus group discussions to understand. The key is to educate first time online shoppers among many competitors, do online posts to test ideas quick, and get consumer feedback. Test not to reduce failure, but to learn in real time via AB testing. 

Q3: What is the next big thing that should be expected in digital transformation?

Ana: It depends on the industry you are in, but once digital transformation is in place, continuous openness to transform is a must. We need to move toward hyper personalization at scale using technology. To build engines of intelligence to form a picture of customers, to add value in their lives–get to know them beyond our industry.  

Nicco: Marketing Tech Stack is knowing how tech can help your vision. Think about affordable personalization tools. Eventually, people may even be paying through a watch screen and not mobile phones.

Neil: Use the tech platform to do livestreams (see now, buy now), make your customers stay within your platform longer by shopping, watching, and playing to stay. Lean on partners and allies with similar strengths to grow your digital journey.

Q4: Should companies catch up or just jump to the next big thing?

Ana:  Develop a two speed organization- one that’s focused on the present and one that is building tomorrow. 

Nicco:  Everyone is in the same boat, it’s just a matter of investment as fast is not always good. If you don’t know how the tech will work, you can’t maximize it. Customers may not be interested in an entire range. You can be superior in x while the same in others and yet you may be preferred over other brands. Digital is horizontal: you need many internal partners, for instance, as data needs to be passed on to someone.

Neil: There is no shortcut. Always have the right fundamentals.  Your purpose can change from platform to sharing opportunities. Barriers to entry are now lower. 

********  Josiah Go is the Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc.  Attend Josiah Go’s 5th “Business Model Design and Innovation 2.0” starting August 3, 2021.  Email for details. 

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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