While most marketers are aware of digital transformation, but when it comes to adapting to it, a surprisingly small group of them actually have a plan in place.

During ClickZ Live New York last month, digital transformation was the unofficial theme. Between the increasing fusion of digital and traditional marketing, and more and more industries being disrupted, how could it not have been the unofficial theme?

It also seems to be the emerging theme of Shift San Francisco, the stateside introduction to our newest event series – we’ll see you there, right? – that will take place right before Labor Day. Since much of our events are shaped by the sentiments of our readers and subscribers, ClickZ Intelligence decided to do a survey as August 29 gets closer.

About 90 percent of our 400 respondents are at least vaguely aware of “digital transformation” as a concept, with about one-third considering themselves “very” or “extremely” familiar. Still, many marketers struggle with taking that awareness to the next level; only 42 percent have a formal digital transformation plan. 11 percent aren’t sure if they do.


“It is so difficult to ‘see’ what the disruptions might be when we are busy doing work every day. [We] need leadership in this area,” one respondent told us.

Another added that digital transformation is difficult because it never really ends.

“We pioneered a large scale digital transformation – a huge undertaking – a few years ago and are reaping the benefits today, especially in mobile/user experience. But you have to keep up because it’s old once you hit ‘day two,'” they said.

Unsurprisingly, the newest businesses struggle the most with digital transformation. Of the respondents working at a company less than five years old, only 20 percent have a plan in place.


But it’s not actually the oldest companies dealing with digital transformation the best. (Read more...) percent of seven-year-old businesses have a formal digital transformation plan, compared with 40 percent of companies older than 10.

One respondent said their organization “would take a lot of convincing,” having been in business for 172 years and presumably being very set in its ways.

Others excelling at digital transformation include smaller (70 percent of companies with fewer than 100 employees have a plan in place; only 17 percent of those from 5000-member organizations do) and more lucrative (69 percent of those with more than $100 million revenue have a plan) companies.

Among industries, financial services (56 percent) and healthcare (53 percent) are particularly in tune with digital transformation. But no industry is more on top of it than media and publishing (75 percent), which makes sense, given that 94 percent of the respondents from that sectors claim their industry has already been disrupted.


Across the board, a little more than 20 percent of respondents (and 33 percent from the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries) consider their industry previously-disrupted, while 16 percent are “very concerned” about that. The largest group of respondents – a little more than 30 percent – classify themselves as a bit worried, but not losing sleep over it. Interestingly, the next-largest group is “not worried at all,” even though disruption can happen to anyone. Especially if they don’t make any f**king sense.

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