It’s not just tech startups that innovate and disrupt.
One of the Kansas City area’s largest firms, Hallmark Cards, recently launched a digital transformation. In 2015, the greeting card giant funneled thousands of products that were popular on the shelves to online sales. The firm also updated its social media practices to attract younger customers.
This challenge is not unique to Hallmark. On Wednesday, Hallmark’s head of marketing, Bryan Williamson, shared some keys to success for any firm undergoing a digital transformation.
“Our digital transformation in marketing has enabled us to reach and engage the younger consumer and dramatically improve the customer experience,” Williamson said. “We’ve made our marketing spending more efficient and effective and increased sales. We’ve also been able to attract new talent and set ourselves up for future growth.”
The presentation was held during Digital Summit: Kansas City. The two-day digital marketing conference took place at the Overland Park Convention Center.
Here are six tips that Williamson recommends to firms starting a digital transformation.
Make digital a top priority
Williamson said to stay ahead of the curve, digital transformation must be a top priority for the entire team. Shared responsibility and goals will help the firm move toward digital in a cohesive way, he said.
“Digital first needs to be part of company culture and included in everyday communication,” Williamson. “Every employee, even in our retail stores, have to have a digital transformation goal.”
Be “consumer obsessed”
In an ever-changing digital economy, firms need to recognize the needs of consumers change too, Williamson said.
“You need to understand customers deeply, what they want and what motivates them,” Williamson said. “You need to meet their expectations or someone else will.”
Hallmark realized in 2015 that customer expectations have changed dramatically, which led them to upgrade their online marketplace.
“Consumers expect to be able to shop whenever and however they want,” Williamson said. “If you don’t list it online, they assume you don’t carry it at all. … They also expect rich product descriptions, images and videos, user-generated product reviews and user recommendations.”
Be willing to fail
Try new things and take risks in a digital world, Williamson said. It’s the only way to be truly responsive to your market.
“Fail quickly and fail small,” Williamson said. “Start with a pilot. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you need to start small and scale appropriately, learning how to be adaptive.”
He added that these risks allow the Hallmark team to regularly analyze what’s working and what needs to be changed.
Maximize your strengths
Williamson said that firms should focus on their strengths as a way to mitigate weaknesses.
“You can’t let anything hold you back,” Williamson said. “For digital transformation, you’re going to have to find ways to work around your weaknesses.”
Collaboration outside your bubble
Hallmark frequently works with and meets with Silicon Valley tech companies, Williamson said.
“You need to stay aware of what’s happening outside you,” Williamson said. “We meet with several companies and then share what we’re learning and what we’re trying with them.”
Never stop transforming
Lastly, Williamson said to never stop transforming. Although Hallmark may have updated their online commerce website, this does not mean that the firm is done digitizing, he said.
“The second you stop transforming is the second somebody will be waiting at your heels,” Williamson said. “Our vision is to create an emotionally-connected world, making a genuine difference in every life every day. Our digital transformation will enable us to continue to pursue this vision in the future.”