The Marketing Strategist:

Finding the Right Cultural Balance for Digital Transformation

January 17, 2019

  • Content & Communication

In today’s B2B environment, organizations grappling with the complexities of digital transformation are being bombarded with an endless array of technological options. According to Michael Keating, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and IP Strategy, CGI, that can be incredibly distracting and make it hard to find the optimal solution. That is why cultural change and a more personal touch are central to Michael’s powerful message in our latest Viewpoint.

Lessons from the front line

Michael has front-line experience. CGI has been on its own journey for the past few years to double its IP-driven business solutions offerings while at the same time transforming its global organizational and innovation model. That transformation has been built on a strong foundation of combining technical expertise with cultural awareness in marketing and selling complex solutions.

As Michael argues, the current digital transformation environment can seem overwhelming for business development communities and global clients. The danger is losing sight of the cultural change that is at the heart of success for firms and their clients.

Every year CGI runs a program based on in-depth interviews with clients around the world, including business and IT executives. The interviews can take up to two hours, and invariably the topic of digital transformation comes up. And the biggest challenge? They can’t seem to find the right cultural balance to accomplish what they want to do both as clients and as individuals.

understanding client culture grows more critical

Don’t forget the human factor

According to Michael, “When there is so much complexity in the system, there is a great deal of value in simplicity. Clients buy based on culture. Cultural change is our clients’ biggest stumbling block as they try to achieve their own goals. Paying attention to culture when designing the work of marketing and structuring your team is critical. When you think about the culture dynamic first, it enables more decentralized work and makes marketing much more personal.”

At CGI, that translates into following a bottom-up approach. In other words, when the company is deciding how to advance into a market with a given topic or capability, the relevant teams build their campaign based on a deep understanding of local relationships. That calls for having the talent able to interpret these sorts of cultural conversations.

Michael emphasizes the importance of taking a wider view: “When I talk to clients, I learn that when they decide to buy, it’s not because of your collateral, value proposition, or excellent presentation. It’s not about your digital collaboration tools either. All those things are valuable, but they are not the reasons clients buy. They buy based on your attention, your fit with them, and your understanding of what they are going through. This is about people, not collateral.”

Read the Viewpoint to learn more about CGI’s story of how they used lessons learned from their own transformation to help clients manage change by providing for a more personal touch. 


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