It’s Digital Transformation Time Again...

...and the Backstreet Boys are showing digital-minded CMOs how to get down in 2019

As the new year sets in, and jingling bells give way to juggling bills, marketers are digesting the last sips of egg nog, bracing for the next polar vortex, and implementing their plans for the last 11 months of 2019.

Our marketing organization is doing the same, albeit while listening to the new Backstreet Boys album, DNA. (Yes, that boy band and that new album.) In outlining the marketing strategy for RubyApps, we’ve scoured the internet for industry publications, insights blogs, and influencer opinions for the newest trends in marketing with the hope that we’re OK, and that our plans align with where our clients and prospects want to go.

After all, we don’t want to be all alone in December, pining for The Way It Was and wondering, “Is It Just Me?”

Of the sources we examined,’s 5 biggest marketing trends for 2019 got our attention. It’s no surprise that “data”—collecting it, processing it, and harnessing it—is expected to be the fulcrum of nearly everything from increasing personalization over a longer customer nurture and engagement cycle to using it in more creative ways to enhance the customer experience.

This is something that we’re Passionate about at RubyApps (and it should get other software providers with open APIs excited,) because integration—connecting disparate software sub-systems together to function as one cohesive system—is requisite for making data truly actionable. For instance, if you’re able to segment audiences geographically or by their interests, you can more quickly and easily serve up relevant content and tailor a bespoke customer experience. Integrated technology systems make this possible, and this puts RubyApps clients ahead of the curve.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is also forecast to be important (for B2B marketers). To this, we say, “Duh.” Given the role of data, Chances were high that ABM would be a trend in 2019. For a targeted, one-to-one ABM approach to be effective, though, data-driven insights are necessary. Let’s say you’re a beverage distributor and you’re now able to provide market access to a limited edition of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2009. This offering may only resonate with retail outlets specializing in French wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, blends, big wines, or even more niche categories, i.e., wines with particular notes of tobacco, fresh flowers, currants, or otherwise. Further, it could even exclusively be west coast-based in-house sommeliers or beverage directors—and perhaps Nobody Else values this information—and therefore you wouldn’t want to notify all of your contacts that you have this vintage. Without data, and integrated systems to surface these insights, such a personalized version of marketing would be painstakingly slow and mostly manually-operated.

Are you following? Good, let’s open that bottle of 2009 and let it Breathe.

This year, we should expect a slimming down of the marketing technology stack—the proverbial getting of back-end systems into “swimsuit shape.” This form of digital transformation, of getting leaner and more efficient, usually means adopting an agile mindset and requires that marketing leaders have technical expertise (or honed perspectives on the marketing technology stack).

But, what if you’re a CMO and you’ve never been involved in any kind of digital transformation? Is that even possible? Hasn’t “digital transformation” been the buzzword of the past nigh 20 years? And hasn’t everyone already “transformed?”

To answer this question, we conducted a brief, non-scientific, back-of-the-cocktail-napkin-type study on LinkedIn to gage (a) whether most CMOs have previously led digital transformations and (b) whether they highlighted this expertise in their profiles, particularly if their employers aren’t traditionally “digital-first.” We examined the LinkedIn profiles of 50 random New York City Area-based CMOs, all with the title of “Chief Marketing Officer.” These CMOs ran the gamut of age, sex, and industry. We looked at whether they included anything “Digital” under Skills & Endorsements, or whether they mentioned “Digital Transformation” (or similar) in any of the editable work experience description fields.

Here’s how our findings netted out:









Digital-First Organization



Digital Skills



Mentions of “Digital Transformation”



We then looked at various combinations for correlations between type of business (e.g., B2B or B2C) and prevalence of digital skills in CMOs. While the majority indicated some form of digital capability, with many explicitly mentioning digital transformation, the data doesn’t strongly indicate that business type, focus, or culture—as represented via New York City Area-based CMO profiles on LinkedIn—predicts a chief marketer’s experience and role in the evolution of the marketing technology stack. (The only conclusion that we can actually make from our “study” is that everybody handles his or her LinkedIn profile differently.)

That’s also why we take the time to educate prospects and clients on the strengths of multi-functional, interoperable platforms like RubyApps; because we never know how much prior exposure our counterparts have with systems integration. It’s also why we build RubyApps to be performance-optimized “out-of-the-box” and ready to connect to other systems.

What are the takeaways?

First, 2019 should usher in a continued emphasis on data. Those organizations that can generate the smartest insights the fastest will be first positioned to act and react according to their customers needs and wants. Second, companies that can scale 1:1 relationships with their customers will be more successful than those communicating monolithic statements to their audiences. Finally, digital transformation—like the Backstreet Boys—never went away; it’s just evolved to be leaner and more agile, and marketing leaders need be prepared to lead more nimble, technical teams forward.

Oh, and P.S. Backstreet didn’t pay us to promote them. We’re just jazzed they’re still here and Larger than Life.