Digital transformation officer could be key to data goldmine: PwC

By AdNews | 5 June 2015

Data has fast become a challenge for brands, particularly when it comes to its role in the marketing department, but PwC senior manager of digital innovation Tim Lovitt said that for businesses to realise this value they may need a digital transformation officer.

Lovitt was speaking at ADMA's recent Techmix conference, about the way the advertising landscape has evolved, noting that data and targeting is both the biggest opportunity and the biggest challenge for brands.

“The old adage attributable to John Wanamaker around 'half of my advertising works, I just don't know which half' is what we're seeing in market,” Lovitt said.

“So here is a lot of interest in data around behaviour and what we do post marketing.”

“But the real value we're seeing in marketing today is around efficiency. If we only had the money that we already have, what happens when you start to weave data heavily in the process? Data and measurement has a huge efficiency dividend.”

Lovitt said that the value that can be driven in terms of adtech is “in our mind, quite incredible” with some clients getting their highest returns ever in their marketing. But he said despite the opportunities that data has for the marketing discipline, budgets aren't following the opportunity.

As to why, Lovitt said the issue is three-fold, with ad tech challenging business structures, marketer bravery and boosting the need for “full-stack marketers” who have a handle on tech and operations as well as marketing.

One of the ways Lovitt said the challenges around digital transformation can be resolved is by companies building in a digital transformation role.

“We suggest that today at least, if this value is to be realised, than digital transformation might need an officer or offic” Lovitt said.

“A little of this is emerging.”

Woolworths is one brand which formed a 'chief transformation officer' role, with AdNews revealing in December 2014 that former Bauer Media CEO Matthew Stanton would be moving to the position in February this year.

The role sees Stanton working on Woolwroths' Mercury Two plan which aims to transform not just the food arm but also all offerings throughout the group. A focus will be streaming the online shopping experience across the group.

Telstra is another business with several transformation roles under its roof, including a digital executive director, Gerd Schenkel, who overseas the telco's digital group.

A Telstra spokesperson told AdNews that the role was formed in 2011 and that Schenkel “manages our digital channels and looks to develop new digital solutions to improve the customer experience across all channels and also realise efficiency and productivity gains.”

Lovitt said another early example of an organisation building in a lead transformation role was The Federal Government.

“It announced a digital transformation office and the first things it did, even before it gave them a budget, was to tell it what marketing it could stop and what deadline to put in place,” Lovitt said.

“One of the most critical things about moving towards achieving the value we're seeing with advertising technology is being able to say no – being able to stop particular activities because they're hard to measure, or award to target.”

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