How to Win Your EDO’s Digital Transformation

Not sure what digital even means?  You’re not alone.  Many CEOs don’t but, engage professional digital consultants to guide their strategic plan and process.

“Business as Usual” is dead.

Integrated digital marketing, analysis, technology and communication channels have irreversibly disrupted businesses and industries across the board, offering seismic leaps in productivity, actionable insights, customer engagement, and prospects, for you…and your competitors.

Business leaders and executives recognize this dramatic change and the need for an integrated digital upgrade, but most are not clear on what is needed or how to implement the digital transformation necessary to compete or, for some, even survive.

Among many EDO leaders, “digital” is a seldom used and often misunderstood term, much less often a strategic initiative.  You’re not alone. Research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found there is no consensus among most business executives about what digital means.  Data from the July 2017 MIT Sloan Management Review: Achieving Digital Maturity: “Adapting Your Company to a Changing World” in collaboration with Deloitte Digital identified:

Top 3 Digital Business Mistakes Made by Managers/Leaders

  1. Lack of understanding of digital trends and impact to the company
  2. Lack of strategic direction
  3. Resistance to change

The same survey identified “improve digital strategy and innovation” as the top change companies need to make to advance their digital maturity.

One thing IS clear, digital technology alone is not the solution, it is just one tool.

What is Digital Transformation?

To provide a solid definition, we turn to eMarketer, a market research company that provides insights and trends related to digital marketing, media, and commerce.  Founded in 1996 and located in New York, NY, eMarketer clients include two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies.

eMarketer defines digital transformation as:  the process by which business leaders harness the capabilities and advances of emerging technologies to digitally reinvent their company’s operations, products, marketing, culture and goals for future growth. Technology is the means to transformation, not an end in itself. Instead, the focus should be on setting a clear goal for the future, then setting a strategy based on that vision.

How is ED Digital Transformation Accomplished?

Senior leadership must be the internal sponsor for change and the transformative vision must be communicated throughout all levels of the organization.

Multiple factors contribute to success or failure of a digital transformation, including company culture, multi-department Econ Dev August 2017collaboration, staffing and training, clear goal consensus, data analytics, marketing strategy, and consistent end-consumer experiences across multiple platforms.  However, experts agree that if organizations don’t transform, there is an increased risk that they will be disrupted by a competitor that gets to market first.

Transformation to Integrated Digital Maturity is increasingly important.  Digital Maturity (the ability to utilize digital marketing capabilities to fuel a company’s operations, products, marketing, culture and goals for future growth) is what helped create billionaires out of start-up companies; the creation and execution of entirely new business models. Digital Maturity empowers small enterprises to be able to run circles around legacy brands in the marketplace.

For EDOs, nurturing a strong integrated digital marketing environment and the workforce is a magnet for attracting companies to your area.  Recognizing the huge potential in developing your young, naturally tech-savvy workforce and graduates in an entrepreneurial environment pays big dividends, attracting capital investors and large company sponsors.

This vision begins with your EDO’s digital leadership; understanding and implementing the many strategic benefits integrated digital marketing delivers.

In today’s world, advocating and supporting Digital Maturity IS Economic Development.

Key benefits and advantages to EDO Directors

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased engagement with prospects, partners, customers, and sponsors
  • Increased prospect satisfaction
  • Improved competitor monitoring, analysis, and counter-measures
  • Vastly improved integrated marketing
  • Increased lead generation
  • Improved conversion to prospects
  • Improved ability to attract talent and businesses.
  • Improved reporting of Key Performance Indicators and value to stakeholders.

Digital transformation is not fast or easy.  But, the good news is you don’t have to do this alone.  Qualified business and digital consultants with decades of experience are available to educate and guide you through understanding the opportunities and challenges across your organization, clarifying your goals, assessing your current and future needs, developing the guiding strategy, implementing the plan, and tracking measurable results.  The work can be done collaboratively and in phases.  Additional strategic consultation is key for integrated marketing communications, lead generation, co-op programs, and more.

To find out more about how digital transformation can improve your mission and stave off disruptive competition, contact at for a complimentary initial consultation. We’re subject matter experts in digital strategy, and easy to talk to.

USDM is a leader in digital consulting, strategy, and integrated marketing for tourism, economic development, and destination marketing and provides research, insights, recommendations and professional services that can transform any organization to the “new normal” for business.

Many EDO engagements begin with USDM’s Digital Gap Analysis® and follow with our Digital Strategy Playbook®.


Public and private sector brands trust USDM Digital® to provide current and future insights, develop digital strategy for business, execute digital marketing and advertising, improve customer engagement, and deliver performance that measurably IMPACTS their business.  Visit us at 


You might also like More from author

Comments are closed.