#CXOTALK McKinsey Partner explains digital marketing

The global co-leader of Digital McKinsey, David Edelman, presents key success factors in the journey to digital marketing. His practical advice is essential reading for every marketer and CMO.

McKinsey & Company
Image: McKinsey & Company

For episode 181 of CXOTALK, I invited David Edelman to speak about digital marketing. Edelman is a partner at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and he's the global co-leader of Digital McKinsey and its Marketing & Sales Practice. He is also one of the most respected digital marketing experts on the planet.

During our 45-minute conversation, David explained the opportunities and challenges around digital marketing from a business perspective. The discussion centered on how organizations can adopt a digital marketing mindset and drive changes through processes, relationships with suppliers, and new technologies. The idea of improving execution speed, with rapid cycles of test and learn, was central to the discussion.

Watch the summary video below or listen to the entire conversation and read a full transcript.

Here is an edited transcript of the short segment shown in the video above:

What does it mean for a marketing organization to become digital?

Moving to digital is not just a question of moving dollars from one channel to another. You need to think through different ways of operating, structuring the organization, your relationship between what you do in-house and with your agencies. There are new skills to build in analytics and technology to put in place. And whole new ways of thinking through the processes by which you run programs.

What are the components of digital marketing?

It's all about using data to have increasingly personalized interactions, knowing the information you have about them, about their context. And then, creating experiences to serve their needs at the moment, through the device and in the context that they're in.

Besides the technology to enable all of that, you need to understand different segments that might need different kinds of treatment. What is the content? What are the different interactions? There's never an obvious answer right at the start, so there's going to be constant test and learn.

Having processes to put a relentless stream of new tests out there, figuring out what to test. Is it timing? Is it trigger? Is it content? And, working through how to get those tests out the door, read the results, optimize them over time. All of that requires different kinds of process setups.

If you're working with multiple parties, with agencies, with different media companies, stringing together that whole "supply chain" of digital experiences can be fairly complex. The key is to simplify and work it through, so it doesn't need to be reinvented every time you want to do something new.

Digital channels provide a great lab for learning about who engages with what kind of content. Throw out a whole bunch of tests on YouTube, or other social media, of low-cost content with different kinds of messages. Looking at the profiles of people who engage with that content can provide incredibly valuable information before you might invest in an above-the-line campaign.

It tells you which content resonates; who would be the kinds of audiences to target. All of that can be valuable, and all the more reason to think about your marketing regarding faster cycles of test and learn.

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