Unleashing the Power of Digital Marketing: The Digital Maturity Model Explained

The Digital Maturity Model

We’ve been talking about “digital maturity” at Seer a lot lately. In particular we’ve been really excited about adopting, and helping our clients adopt, the model that Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) created.

The Digital Maturity Model (DMM) is a framework used to understand how digitally mature an organization is today, and to help build a roadmap for the future. Google and Boston Consulting Group collaborated to build the model which consists of four stages, Nascent, Emerging, Connected, and Multi-Moment. Data supports that a focus on improving digital maturity improves efficiency and effectiveness of marketing.

In this post we’re going to dive into Seer’s take on the DMM. To gain a better understanding of the specifics our introduction here will quickly cover why it was created, why it’s useful and then jump into the DMM itself.

Why Adopt it?

Simply put, the intended purpose of the DMM was to be an evaluative and an aspirational tool. It’s meant to help you understand where you fall in terms of digital maturity today and where you could focus on in the future.

While the DMM is inherently focused on marketing, it has broad involvement from other parts of the organization like IT, creative, development, and security. This inherently means it aims to bring teams or agencies together to focus on tackling business challenges together. By doing this the business, as a whole, can better understand the technical debt it may carry, the implications of that debt, and what the roadmap forward looks like. All of this culminated in results like this:

"Companies that have achieved multi-moment maturity reported cost savings of up to 30% and revenue increases of as much as 20%."

- Boston Consulting Group

Understanding where you are today and where you could be headed is useful by itself, but the DMM presents another valuable resource; it facilitates an easily digestible and understandable story about your efforts or projects. If the organization adopts the DMM you can map your efforts or projects to the DMM. This would allow you to easily help others understand the output of your effort, get buy in, clearly define goals, and understand if you were successful or not. At Seer we find some of these steps can be seriously difficult to do so alignment around the DMM by itself could be a huge win in this regard.

Last but not least, you may be wondering how Google and BCG created this model. I know I was wondering this when first introduced, here is some of BCG’s explanation:

The study consisted of multiple qualitative and quantitative components: a series of workshops and interviews to define a framework for digital marketing maturity, “belief audits” with about 40 experts to test the framework and the enablers that support it, and surveys of senior marketers of more than 200 global brands in ten industries. We also conducted 16 tests with six large brands from four European markets to assess the value that companies realize by applying more-advanced technologies. We tested the impact of commonly available technology features that are important for technical maturity, such as advanced audience targeting, automated bidding and automated creative optimization, and data-driven attribution. To run these tests, BCG worked with agencies and advertisers to design, set up, and execute controlled experiments over a four- to six-week period, using a consistent method and measurement approach.

How Does it Work?

Now that we’ve quickly covered the reasoning behind the DMM and how it can be used at a high level, let’s cut to the chase - here it is at a high level (with a few additions from Seer*):

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*NOTE: The descriptions below each stage were created by Seer for additional context.

The DMM plots effectiveness vs. efficiency, which is pretty logical - the assumption is that as you move up stages, you gain efficiency and become more effective (a win/win). 

This visual can be used to plot where your organization’s maturity is within each area or to show a “surface reading”. In other words if you could plot your organization’s maturity very granuarly or a more broad aggregated position for your organization as a whole.

Different types of Digital Maturity Models:

There are various digital maturity models other then the one created by Google and BCG, and here are some of the most widely recognized ones:

The McKinsey Digital Quotient (DQ) Model

The McKinsey Digital Quotient (DQ) Model is a comprehensive digital maturity model that assesses an organization's digital readiness across five dimensions: strategy, capabilities, culture, organization, and digital maturity. This model is designed to help organizations determine their digital strengths and weaknesses, develop a digital strategy, and prioritize digital initiatives.

The Capgemini Digital Maturity Model

The Capgemini Digital Maturity Model is a framework that assesses an organization's digital maturity across six stages: Initiate, Experiment, Scale, Integrate, Transform, and Optimize. This model is designed to help organizations evaluate their digital maturity, develop a digital strategy, and track progress over time.

The Gartner Digital Business Maturity Model

The Gartner Digital Business Maturity Model assesses an organization's digital maturity across five stages: Stage 1 (Initiating), Stage 2 (Experimenting), Stage 3 (Scaling), Stage 4 (Transforming), and Stage 5 (Digital Leadership). This model is designed to help organizations assess their digital capabilities, develop a digital strategy, and align their business goals with digital initiatives.

The Digital Capability Framework by Deloitte

The Digital Capability Framework by Deloitte is a model that assesses an organization's digital maturity across four categories: Strategy, Customer, Operations, and Culture. This model is designed to help organizations evaluate their digital capabilities, identify gaps, and prioritize digital initiatives.

The Optimizely Digital Experience Maturity Model

The Optimizely Digital Experience Maturity Model is a framework that assesses an organization's digital maturity across five levels: Ad-hoc, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Leading. This model is designed to help organizations assess their digital experience capabilities, develop a digital strategy, and optimize digital experiences across channels and touchpoints.

Overall, digital maturity models help organizations assess their digital capabilities, identify gaps, and prioritize digital initiatives. Each model has its own unique approach and framework, and organizations should choose the model that aligns best with their goals and objectives.

Stages of Digital Maturity

  1. Nascent
  2. Emerging
  3. Connected
  4. Multi-Moment

Before we dive into each stage a little bit further it’s important to note there are many avenues beneath the surface of this model. BCG defines some of these as; data-driven targeting, automated activation, integrated tech, actionable measurement, attribution, strategic partnerships, specialist skills, and organizational collaboration.

Not all paths are linear or provide the same value to each organization. This means that your organization may be executing at a really high level in some areas, but have a lot of room for improvement in others. This also means you shouldn’t necessarily dive right into areas of improvement. You should consider business needs, objectives, stakeholders and then consider all paths at your disposal. Having considered all of these things together, you would then consider what provides the most value for your organization and plot out your plan of attack with a roadmap.

If this gets you excited but you don’t know where to start, Seer can help!

Stage 1: Nascent

The earliest stage is Nascent. As you probably already guessed we commonly see organizations that are just getting started in digital marketing live here, and we have some clients in this stage. Thus the biggest areas of focus within this stage are establishing trust in data and organizational collaboration. This stage is focused more on organizational items than it is on technical items.

Characterizing organizations within this stage we typically see lots of data silos or even non-collection of data, low collaboration amongst teams, and low or no trust in data quality. Executive buy in is important at all stages but is crucial at this stage to set up the organization for success beyond this stage i.e. current process and structure has worked to get them where they are today but will likely need to change to grow and succeed in 2020 and beyond!

To sum this up, to begin working towards the next stage, Emerging, secure executive buy in and focus on improving the quality of data (result = organizational trust in data) and breaking down organizational silos by making data available across teams.

Stage 2: Emerging

The stage following nascent is Emerging. We see a lot of our clients fall in this stage. The biggest areas of focus for organizations at this stage are on living into the data democracy that got started in nascent with alignment of KPIs and lexicons across business units, adopting a test-and-learn philosophy, and documenting organizational process. At this stage we start to see the scales tip from an organizational focus to technology.

We also typically see organizations realize the importance of sharing data across teams but are speaking different languages.

Thus aligning on lexicons or the language used and KPI definitions is critical at this stage. It’s also around this point that organizations start to have a need for documentation of process in order to scale, and typically see agencies brought on board. Lastly, adopting a philosophy of test-and-learn allows the business to try new things and both fail and succeed at them. There’s an emphasis on the and-learn part of test-and-learn. Learning and communicating this knowledge is the critical element here.

To summarize, Emerging organizations working towards Connected, will need to focus on speaking the same language across the organization, documenting process to enable scale and trying and learning from new approaches and technology.

Stage 3: Connected

Following the Emerging stage is Connected. Similar to Emerging we see a good amount of our clients fall within this stage. This is where the business really starts to fire on all cylinders as data is not only being shared across teams it’s being used effectively across teams to produce better results tied back to revenue, sales proxies, or the holy grail, profit.

Thus the areas of focus within this stage are integration of platforms with a emphasis on activation across them, tying online to offline data and vice versa, and deeper cross functional teams and agencies. This is also typically where technology becomes a larger focus than organizational items and considerations for cloud solutions begin.

At the core of this stage is Connecting (get it?) efforts back to revenue. This often means integration between platforms and data sets.

The integration of platforms allows for both activation that was previously not available and a deeper understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

For instance, integrating Google Analytics 360 with Salesforce Sales Cloud means that you can now segment and advertise to users that have reached a certain stage within your sales cycle as well as see which Ads campaigns closed or touched the most or highest valued deals. Doing this, and the organizational steps from Nascent and Emerging, empowers internal teams to work deeply and collaboratively as well as bring in agencies and outside teams if needed.

To recap, Connected organizations working towards Multi-Moment, will have conquered tying online and offline data and attributing marketing efforts back to actual profit, revenue or another sales proxy. Technology really starts to become a focus with integration of platforms being critical and activation being the goal. Partners and teams become highly cross functional due to trust in the data, everyone speaking the same language, and everyone working towards the same established goals.

Stage 4: Multi-Moment

The last stage, the golden castle on a hill, is Multi-Moment. It’s pretty rare for organizations to be in this stage although Seer does work with a few.

At this stage of maturity, organizations make every touchpoint count delivering dynamic experiences both in-ads and on-site, custom attribution models are used to understand marketing efforts, and the cloud is delivering all of this at breakneck speeds.

If you’ve made it to this stage, congratulations that’s a huge accomplishment. At this point your focus will be on incremental efficiencies with emphasis on both technology and organizational efforts. At the center of this stage of maturity is a single holistic view of the customer including online and offline data tied back to sales accessible to all teams and efforts that need it.

This enables cross-channel optimization at an extreme - high which means you can deliver personalized ad content across ad networks that intersect with dynamic email drip campaigns all tied back to revenue. At this stage most businesses are actively using and applying machine learning to their digital marketing efforts. This may mean things like running clustering models in the cloud based off of two years of web analytics and offline sales data leading to cohorts that can be used for efforts mentioned earlier.

The biggest thing to keep in mind here is, similar to Connected, activation and using the shiny new tools or models to improve business decision making or the bottom line.

What's the benefit of achieving higher levels of digital maturity?

Achieving higher levels of digital maturity offers several benefits for organizations. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Improved Efficiency: With greater digital maturity, businesses can streamline their processes, automate workflows, and reduce manual errors. This can result in significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.

  2. Enhanced Customer Experience: Digital maturity can help businesses better understand their customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors, leading to more personalized experiences. This can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  3. Increased Agility: Digital maturity allows organizations to respond quickly to market changes and customer demands. This can help them stay ahead of the competition and seize new opportunities.

  4. Better Decision-Making: With access to real-time data and analytics, organizations can make more informed decisions. This can help them identify areas for improvement and optimize their operations.

  5. Cost Savings: Digital maturity can help businesses reduce costs by automating processes, improving resource utilization, and reducing waste.

Overall, achieving higher levels of digital maturity can help organizations become more competitive, agile, and customer-centric, leading to better business outcomes.

What are the metrics used to measure and assess digital maturity?

There are several metrics used to measure and assess digital maturity, and these can vary depending on the specific model or framework being used. Some common metrics include:

  1. Digital strategy: This involves measuring the organization's level of planning and investment in digital initiatives, as well as the alignment of these initiatives with overall business strategy.

  2. Digital culture: This metric assesses the organization's willingness and ability to embrace digital transformation, as well as the level of employee engagement and buy-in.

  3. Digital capabilities: This metric looks at the organization's technical capabilities and infrastructure, including things like cloud adoption, data analytics, and mobile optimization.

  4. Digital customer experience: This involves measuring the organization's ability to deliver a seamless and personalized customer experience across multiple channels and touchpoints.

  5. Digital innovation: This metric assesses the organization's ability to identify and implement new digital technologies and approaches, as well as its track record in developing and launching innovative products and services.

  6. Digital governance: This involves assessing the organization's policies and processes around digital initiatives, including things like risk management, compliance, and cybersecurity.

These metrics can be used to create a comprehensive digital maturity assessment that can help organizations identify strengths and weaknesses in their digital strategy and capabilities, and develop a roadmap for ongoing improvement.

What's Next?

We’ve found the DMM helpful in understanding both where our clients are at in terms of their maturity and where they could or should go in the future. Depending on where your organization falls your needs and focus will vary greatly.

We’ve used this framework to build roadmaps tied to tangible outcomes. This has helped increase buy in and move organizations to be more integrated. 

If this sounds exciting to you, we’d love to work with you regardless of where you fall in terms of digital maturity we’re here to partner with your team to get you to the next level!

Contact us below if you and your company are ready to have a conversation:


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James Corr
James Corr
Assoc. Director, Digital Measurement Solutions