October 1, 2014

CMOs in the business transformation

This is the concluding post to our blog challenge titled “What are the current topics that will propel your company forward?” The other posts were written by Atte Palomäki from Wärtsilä, Riina Kirmanen from Vaisala, and by Pauli Aalto-Setälä from Aller.

In the recent “The Future of Business Transformation” study conducted by Tieto and Kairos Future, 42% of Nordic CEOs said, “In 2020, the industry in which my organization operates will bear little resemblance to how it looks today.

Regarding the media industry, last week Pauli Aalto-Setälä (CEO) from Aller wrote, “’Turning around’ is not needed; this change is more like metamorphosis.This means ultimate change.

What is the secret recipe for better business transformation?

With new challenges come new possibilities. We need to prepare ourselves for a bumpy road by developing new skills and different leadership techniques. So what can we do to better manage this change?

What skills do we need?

Riina Kirmanen from Vaisala blogged the following last week: “Modern marketers have become multitasking talents who understand customers, develop appealing content and stories, bring growth opportunities to sales, and improve companies’ online service capabilities.”

Atte Palomäki from Wärtsilä highlighted the skills of media-literacy for everyone, and added, “For companies, it requires rigorous monitoring and analysis of publicity, with the capacity to jump in whenever needed.” This means that marketers can’t only focus on sending messages. Instead, they need to be part of conversations. This is a totally new role.

Besides these skills marketing has also a very important task that Riina pointed out. They can act as a change agent. The single most important skill is an ‘oldie but a goodie’. It’s the ability to listen. Listen to what your customer is saying. Listen to what the market is saying. Listen to what your employees are saying. Think for a bit. And then act on the insight.

We need the leaders to take action

In the recent “The Future of Business Transformation” study 57% of CMOs say leadership is one of two success factors behind business transformation. Leading people through a period of change (or eternal change depending on your perspective) is all about having vision about what the end state will look like, articulating this in a way that people can relate to. And then obviously “leading by example” as all change starts with yourself. If you are not willing to change, then why would you expect others to?

We need to get the culture ready for change

In the “The Future of Business Transformation” study, business culture was the second most important success factor behind the business transformation.

Pauli Aalto-Setälä from Aller blogged, “To take action, the very first thing you need to do is change your business culture habit-by-habit.” As Pauli wrote in his blog post last week, the people at Aller are defining ways to take charge of your own excitement. They want to model how you can stay enthusiastic while going through your emotional storms. You can read more about their concept in his post.

All employees need to take part in cultural change. Of course, the management needs to communicate the reasons for why. If they are not clear, why would anyone be willing to change or act as an ambassador of the brand? Atte Palomäki from Wärtsilä brought up the concept of reputation and how the reputation of a company is acknowledged as the responsibility of everyone in that enterprise, not just the people responsible for reputation management.  There is also the great positive side. Like Palomäki said, “Many opportunities come from an army of brand ambassadors compared to the fading effect of traditional marketing communications.”

We need data - the right data - to help in decision making

Data can definitely help to make right decisions faster. Since people are leaving traits online, we can collect this data to make better decisions.

Riina pointed out in her blog post that by using digital tools and analysis wisely, companies know when to approach customers with the right kind of messages. She said that by analyzing this data at Vaisala, they learned important and interesting insights about their customers. They use this information to improve our services and the content of our messages, and of course, to increase sales.

Even though digitalisation is changing businesses, the things we need to focus on are nothing new: Listen to your customers, listen to your employees, think for a while and then act on the insight. Leaders have to be in the forefront leading by example, showing the rest of the organisation how change is done. And, as Pauli Aalto-Setälä pointed out, we need to acknowledge that even the best efforts will fail someday. The key here is to learn from mistakes - not avoid them.

Thank you for Atte Palomäki (Wärtsilä), Riina Kirmanen (Vaisala) and Pauli Aalto-Setälä (Aller) who took part in our blog challenge: “What are the current topics that will propel your company forward?”.

You can read the first post by me here,  second post by Atte Palomäki from Wärtsilä here, third post by Riina Kirmanen from Vaisala here, and fourth post by Pauli Aalto-Setälä from Aller here.

Mattias is the CMO at Tieto. You can read our “The Future of Business Transformation” study here.

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