The business of retail continues to be turbulent for some, and a beacon of hope for others. As I write this blog at the end of February 2020 we've seen another wave of troubled retail announcements from the likes of heritage brand 'Aquascutum', 'TJ Hughes', and one of Theo Paphitis's investments 'Boux Avenue', a business that's relatively new to the multi-channel retail sector - sadly there's probably many more to follow in 2020.

Just lately we see a constant turnstyle of leaders in multi-channel retailing (other sectors do apply) in particular CEO's and CMO's who leave one failed company with a chunky pay-off and not long after they end up in another struggling business and repeat what they did before - we all know what comes next!

We’re now living in a state of “digital disruption.” This means technology has transformed work and business as we know it. Consumer behavior and expectations have changed, and organisations must evolve to meet the changing needs of their customers. Those that don't adjust the business mindset are now paying a hefty price for 'business as usual'.

The key issue I often come up against is that 'business transformation' is still perceived as a technology driven initiative, when it's actually a people and process mindset thing, sure the tech can act as an enabler of of efficiency, and sometimes even have huge impact on improving the bottom line, in particular where it streamlines outdated cost and manual processes.

Marketing transformation means different things to different stakeholders. Simply put, it’s the pursuit of scale, efficiency, and innovation using data and technology to spur profits and growth. Marketing transformation is typically focused on using software to automate and enable streamlined processes.

So, when I read stuff like this I wonder if the world is really transforming from outdated 20th Century retail thinking to a more consumer centric multi-channel socially savvy approach?

Marketing transformation today has more to do with a better understanding around how, where, and why your potential customers are wanting to access information about your product and company. Today they are wanting to do this in a way that doesn't include trying to navigate your website funnel, going to Google, and then risking your cold spammy outbound e-mails. It's certainly not just about 'martech software' that will probably change very little, just like that last 'software' initiative your company embarked upon.

Today's socially savvy prospects and customers are checking out your 'social proof', not your website.

If your a company that spews out promotion after promotion messages, with 'paid advert' after another it seems that today's consumer is sending you a huge signal. 

Today they've been empowered to switch you off with their own tactics such as ad skipping, ad blocking, and good old GDPR.

If you're currently one of those businesses in the market for a change in CEO or CMO in order to 'freshen up' and 'reinvigorate' the strategy, direction, and leadership of the company perhaps you want to try a litmus test to see if they're as good a fit as the CV says.

If it was me I would like to know if they really understand the strategic value of the medium they spend most of your marketing budget on.

1) FOMO - Why are they on Social Media? A lot of people use LinkedIn and other social platforms only when they are looking for a new job or to announce how important they are when they get one - After that NOTHING so how are they going to inspire the team and learn what's new? Do they know about 'TikTok' and do they talk about it, do they really understand the potential opportunity within social commerce and live streaming?

2) Check out their 'Social Proof' - are they a passive or active user of social media. Does it look like they 'show up' on a regular basis and engage with others, and what do they do on other social networks. Do they have a regular blog, do they produce and write industry articles. do they actively and proactively 'grow' their network. Are they seen as someone whose authentic, not just pumping out the corporate message. 

3) Would you consider them as 'Social Influencer' - Do they 'actively' use social media to share knowledge and offer advice? Are they seen by others as someone to go to for advice, evidential knowledge. Do they 'listen' and engage in other people's post and articles. Are these not important leadership traits today?

With 3.8bn people on one social platform or another around the world simply handing social media to the guy with the beard, or the girl with the tattoo in marketing doesn't really cut it today. Social media requires a strategy that sits across the entire business enterprise - WHY?

Because that's how today's social savvy consumer 'experiences' what you say you do.