Recently published, The MCA Year of Digital Compendium highlights the importance of management consulting to the Digital Revolution. A major influencer, the report is sent to FTSE 350, central and local government.

Our Managing Partner Richard Robinson was invited to share his thoughts based on Oystercatchers’ conversations with CEOs on how they are transforming their marketing through digital and new technologies as a driver to growth…

Around 2014, many firms were in an uncomfortable midpoint position on digital transformation. CEOs realised they had pre-digital legacy systems led by the same people who had put those systems in place.

As systems transformed, there’s been a tendency to create parallel systems that keep digital on the outside.

My take is that this approach will fail to deliver the necessary change and will simply serve to perpetuate the model where traditional business can be easily usurped and overtaken by new-wave companies with digital at their core.

Business needs to work out how to extract the parallel thinking and match new enterprises that have hired digital natives and embraced digital systems to create fresh ways of thinking.

Successful businesses have the innovation, intelligence and product to exceed customer. Uber, Air BnB and Netflix are strong examples with digital at their epicentre, and they have already won.

In my view, growth is about embracing and harnessing digital to liberate brands and businesses and create new orders of value for customers. Lego remain famous for making toy bricks. But their brand proposition has expanded to keep pace with their customers, young and old, and they now have a seamless product on and offline. They’ve created a Digital Lego space as much loved as the traditional offline brick and ultimately reinvented the Lego brand image. Now when we think of Lego, we think as much of brilliant animation, film, games or music as we do buckets of bricks.

Success comes from brave CEOs and CMOs who reinvent existing, legacy-driven, business models. Change has happened. Past tense. The first step as a CEO is to recognise that yesterday’s science fiction is today’s normalcy.

Some of this is about new modes of operating, like cognitive outsourcing and programmatic media sales to allow staff freedom to innovate.

The willingness to innovate across traditionally non-digital business sectors is uneven.

Fast moving consumer goods companies are at the sharp end, and have been for some time delivering real innovations. Yet much more could be done. Big banks for instance need think about what digitally savvy 10-15 year olds will want from them in a few years’ time. They won’t want change in their pockets, they’ll want to pay with a Smartphone – and niche players such as Osper are out-manoeuvring with a striking model that has eliminated pocket money as we know it. The response from kids: is they love it!

Some assignments we handle at Oystercatchers deal with new business phenomena, trends and customer needs. We’re increasingly seeing marketing overlapping with Big Data and businesses using data and information to build new orders of value. Procter & Gamble’s Golden Households, (an online community offering advice, tips and help) operates through a value-exchange that allows members to receive offers and coupons in return for greater loyalty and interaction.

The challenge we all face is finding and hiring the best talent with the right skills. Our ideal person is quasi-creative consultant, quasi-tech evangelist and quasi-strategic leader who can effortlessly speak the language of the Boardroom. Few people have this eclectic mix of skills and we have to work hard to proactively identify, select and hire the consultants of tomorrow today.