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Roadmap for effective digital transformation: FIPP D2C Summit

As part of the on-demand videos at the forthcoming FIPP D2C Summit, James Hewes from FIPP and Carola York, VP of Publishing at Jellyfish, discuss what’s needed if a publisher is looking to embark on a digital marketing transformation project. 

As a preview of what’s in store at the Summit, the full video from this session can be viewed towards the end of this article, and for those who are time-poor, there’s a brief summary below. To attend the full D2C Summit (online from 15-17 and 21-24 June), register at

James Hewes: When it comes to direct-to-consumer revenue strategies around digital subscriptions, what is it that publishers should be looking to achieve?

Carola York: The best subscription marketing teams use data for end-to-end measurement and messaging. They build an in-depth understanding of the entire customer journey. They know how and where to focus customer engagement efforts. And they apply the latest in automation technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. But getting the right technology in place can be confusing, and then properly wiring it together can be a real struggle. And most subscription marketers are not technical gurus, or mathematicians, or data scientists so need some support. 

JH: Jellyfish has built a framework and roadmap to help companies with their digital marketing transformation. What are the major components?

CY: Jellyfish’s Digital Maturity Framework looks at four key areas: people and culture, data and automation, technology and creative.  A workshop assesses where an organisation is now, as well as an understanding of the appetite and readiness for digital transformation. From that, a benchmark is created, followed by a prioritised roadmap of actions specifically tailored for the business.

In the workshop, a series of questions get asked. For example, when discussing people and culture, it finds out if there are separate “social” or “brand building” teams and budgets versus “performance” teams and budgets, and if there is a willingness to break down those silos to work better or differently. And are they ready to move from the safety of extensive planning to a more messy world of constant experimentation and measurement? 

When it comes to looking at data, effective digital marketing involves having data and insights at your fingertips to inform or inspire agile decision-making. It’s crucial that all stakeholders, including marketing and editorial, are prepared to embrace what the data is telling them and use those insights to build reader engagement and revenues.

As digital maturity ultimately requires technology platforms to be integrated, there’s also a review of what technology is currently in place. For example — across email, CRM, CMS, paywalls, ad tech, analytics, Cloud, etc., and how it currently links now, and what else is needed to make it work more effectively together. 

The fourth and final component is creative, one that doesn’t always get mentioned in the context of digital transformation. But when creative, media and audience are properly integrated, Google stats show a 150% improvement in performance can be delivered. Creative should be as adaptable as data, people and tech. The most agile, data-driven media plan is nothing if the content it serves up is a poor fit to the context or customer it is being served to.

JH: Clearly, everyone will be at different stages in the development of their digital marketing. How would you characterise the key phases?

CY: The Boston Consulting Group and Google developed a digital marketing maturity framework, and Jellyfish’s framework is built off that, using the same four maturity levels of Nascent, Emerging, Connected and Multi-Moment.

  • Nascent. These publishers are likely to have their marketing managed by siloed teams, for example — a separate subscriptions and separate brand team. If there is agency support, it’s probably operating at arm’s length and used for one or maybe two channels in isolation. Measurement is probably on a campaign-by-campaign basis. And there’s likely to be little cross-channel attribution.
  • Emerging. In these organisations, there’s likely to be more use of first-party data, targeting audiences based on their awareness or purchase intent. There will be greater testing happening, but it’s still likely to be on a channel-by-channel basis. And they’ll mainly use last-click attribution. If they use an agency, there’s likely to be a more integrated approach than at the Nascent level.
  • Connected. This is the level that many of the more sophisticated publishers are now at. They have all their data integrated and it’s being activated across multiple digital channels. They use automated dynamic creative across many channels, but not necessarily all. And they’ll be using multiple measurements, including non-last-click attribution.
  • Multi-Moment. Very few publishers or even leading brands are at this level. Those who reach this have a holistic customer view with fully linked online and offline data. They use personalised creative, coordinated and sequenced across channels, which is automated and delivered ‘in-flight’, determined by business outcome or lifetime value KPIs.

JH: How can a company move itself along the digital marketing path?

CY: As part of Jellyfish’s Digital Marketing Framework, an initial benchmark score is created, which identifies which maturity level the organisation is currently at. Then as work progresses through the roadmap, the scores get updated to track progress up the maturity path.

For global businesses, it is often useful to benchmark each region or country as they are likely to be at different maturity levels. This allows each to have their own roadmap so maturity levels can be built up consistently across the whole global operation.

JH: So to conclude, what are the key steps in successfully executing this kind of digital transformation?

CY: Digital marketing transformation needs a clear starting place and roadmap while also combining people and culture, data and automation, technology and creative. The right way forward will vary for each publisher, but it’s a willingness to be nimble and adaptive that underpins true digital transformation.

Jellyfish, part of the Fimalac Group, is a global partner in digital marketing and transformation to some of the world’s leading publishers, including Hearst Magazines UK, TIME, FT Specialist and Arena Holdings, as well as brands such as Samsung, Uber, Spotify & eBay.

Jellyfish represents a new kind of digital business, where agency services are combined with consultancy, training, and cutting-edge technologies to deliver the best possible outcomes for clients. Employing over 2000 people across 40 offices globally, and with further expansion on the horizon, Jellyfish aims to be the first-choice global partner for any brand’s digital requirements.