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Digital Marketing Master Class With Elissa Fink, Marketing and Technology Leader

Every company has accelerated its digital transformation in the past year and it’s not slowing down! Are you a marketing leader who is required to be resilient, flexible, and deliver on your goals? How do you navigate this new terrain?

“As with running a marathon, it's not just about the day of—it's about the preparation you do before. And preparation starts with assessing the condition you're in so you can know what action to take to ready yourself."

– Elissa Fink, former Tableau CMO (11+ yrs)

Elissa Fink, former CMO at Tableau Software, is credited with driving marketing strategy and execution through all stages of growth, taking Tableau Software from a small startup with ~$5 million in revenue to a publicly held industry leader with over $1 billion in revenue. Now, she serves on public, private, and not-for-profit boards, including Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), Qumulo, Pantheon, and Intellimize. She also teaches graduate marketing and communications courses at the University of Washington.

Elissa has real-world experience about what works and what doesn’t with digital transformation and we are honored to have her share her wisdom with Simplicity Consulting. In a live discussion panel hosted by Lisa Hufford, Simplicity Consulting Founder & CEO, Elissa shares effective marketing practices that lead to real results.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Keep it simple, focus on where you can make the biggest impact on your customers
  • Technology should reduce the burden of drudgery and elevate peoples work
  • Make consistent testing part of your ongoing marketing campaigns
  • Your business is data, start looking it at regularly and asking questions, get curious
  • Evaluate the right tool for what your organization needs, every situation is unique so don’t get overwhelmed
  • Be coachable to adapt to ongoing change in your role
  • Incorporate a consistent internal communications campaign as part of a broader digital marketing strategy-focus on the why and what’s in it for the employees

Watch the full conversation below.

Lisa Hufford, Simplicity Consulting Founder & CEO, and Elissa Fink, Marketing and Technology Leader.

Before this live discussion, Lisa Hufford did a little teaser Q&A with Elissa Fink to give viewers a sneak peek of what to expect of the live interview. Take a look!

Lisa Hufford: Digital transformation is quite the business buzzword, but the term means many things to many people. Elissa, as a marketing leader, what does digital transformation mean to you?

Elissa Fink: It's true that digital transformation has become such a buzzword—in fact, it's almost a cliche these days. Regardless, it's a deeply important idea to me. It's about using digital technology to make life better and easier for customers. You're creating or modifying processes and experiences to better identify, onboard, serve and retain customers on their terms. Often, it means simplifying the experience, which is not only better for them but often better for your company.

Digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. Where should marketing leaders start? How should they prioritize their approach?

As with running a marathon, it's not just about the day of… it's about the preparation you do before. And preparation itself starts from assessing the condition you're in so you can know what action to take to ready yourself. In the world of business, that means starting with a data-driven assessment of your customers' experiences with you, including the reactions and opinions those experiences shape. So, get out there, talk to customers and learn what's working and what's not. Then, you can prioritize where the biggest bangs for the buck are. 

It’s also about more than just technology—it’s about rethinking business as usual. What mindset shifts need to happen when leaders are building their marketing strategy?

In a lot of ways, it's letting go of the traditional lines we've drawn around marketing, and the lines around sales, around customer service (and customer success), and frankly every function. It's seeing it all from the customer point of view. They really don't care which department owns what—and neither should you ... Start with the outside-in view. Especially, one that's based on data.

Lisa Hufford: Who’s doing it right?

Elissa Fink: The thing about digital transformation is to recognize that it's never done. It's a process of continual improvement. There's not a magic day when you'll say, "Okay, this is it. We're digitally transformed!" Even if you could, by the time you get through every process, you'll probably have to start over. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, constantly and consistently.

I see lots of companies prioritizing their processes. Some are well-known. I think Starbucks and Nordstrom have done some great customer-facing transformation. Others are less well-known, like Qumulo and Pantheon, who've both made great strides in helping their customers get more from their products and services. I see Microsoft doing some really great work across their businesses and you see consistent improvement.

Lisa Hufford: What’s the one thing you want folks to walk away with after our live discussion panel?

Elissa Fink: I'd love people to walk away feeling pragmatically optimistic (or optimistically pragmatic) about the possibilities of digital transformation. Specifically, that it's worthwhile, that it adds value, that it's time to get started, and that it will be difficult. But anything difficult is often very much worth doing.

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