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Digital Transformation Tips in the Digital Age by  Michael Gale

  • Digital transformation was invested in for about $1.7 trillion last year.
  • Email: It just can’t be used as a carpet bombing mechanism anymore. It’s about content and sequencing.
  • And I think the key for entrepreneurs is don’t lose focus on that startup mentality
  • How do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opport
  • Dig deep and live the promise, live the story you’re telling
  • unities now, change its processes, and actually make digital an engine for growth in our organization?
  • Meet the customer where the customer is, and I believe that any business should always meet the customer at the moment where the customer is.
  • People say, track your customer’s journey. And we believe that’s false. There is no one journey, there are millions of moments.

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How do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opportunities now, change its processes, and actually make digital an engine for growth in our organization?

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Doug Morneau: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today you’re in for a real treat. I got Michael Gale joining me today in the studio, and we’re going to talk about a bunch of things and mainly transforming your organization’s DNA to thrive in the digital age. He is one of the authors of an international best selling book called The Digital Helix. And he’s had a lot of experience and a lot of success in this space. He founded the Strategic Oxygen in 2001, which is widely seen as one of the technology industry’s primary data toolsets for marketers, used by over 20 brands and used to model over $4 billion in marketing and sales investment. So if you’re making decisions on how to invest your company’s money or your money in sales and marketing, I would strongly suggest you take out your notepad, sit down, pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee, and listen in. So I’d like to welcome Michael to the studio today.

Michael Gale: Good day. It’s fun to be here. I’m looking forward to this chat. It should be really intriguing.

Doug Morneau: Well, I’m super excited because you operate in the space that I get up and I’m so excited every day to tune into and see what’s happening, so is there anything in addition to my short introduction that you’d like to share with our audience before we get going today?

Michael Gale: Yeah, just one thing is that the book is really a vessel for both research on the DNA of success, but also we interview 30, 35 remarkable digital transformation experts in really big companies, everything from Hallmark, MasterCard, even government agencies. So I think there’s a lot of their insight, and the sweat and tears they’ve gone through. We can talk about today. And I think about half of those people we talk to were marketing leaders in organizations trying to transform digitally away from the old funnel binary model. So as much talking about their experiences, and I think the data that we’ve got could be really cool.

Doug Morneau: Well, just to give our listeners some perspective, how large is this industry in terms of the budget for digital transformation?

Michael Gale: Well, hopefully, people have been into Italy, because it’s bigger than the Italian GDP. It’s about $1.7 trillion, was invested in digital transformation last year. That is basically the size of the sort of between the 7th and 10th largest economies in the world. So it is effectively the largest non-government based pool of spending as a category anywhere in the world.

Doug Morneau: So can you give us a 30,000-foot view of what do you mean by digital transformation, just so we’re all on the same page?

Michael Gale:  Yeah. So digital transformation is the sort of re-vectoring of a business towards being based on stuff like AI, automation, social media, digital platforms, and away from more traditional ways of thinking about running a business. What the intent of digital transformation is, is that the technologies you buy into or that you have become the epicenter or core of how you do business. So at the most marginal ends is the website you have. At the deepest ends, it’s what you automate, what you use AI for. And only about, that work we just finished last week with Forbes, only about 6.2% of major US corporations actually see themselves as being deeply committed to delivering on that promise. So there’s a huge amount of money being spent and time being invested that’s still in that early exploration end. But $1.7 trillion, as I said, is about the size of the Italian economy. It’s enormous.

Doug Morneau: That’s a crazy number. So that should be some motivation for those of our listeners that are in the digital space that they can be sure that their place of employment or their job or their company, whatever they’re working at in this space, will continue to thrive for years to come.

Michael Gale: Yeah, I’ll give you a great fact. One of the questions we asked was, “Why are you frightened of FANG? You know, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google. What do you think they do that damages the industry?” Well, a lot of people aren’t necessarily negative about them, but they said the one thing that really gets us is that they get to hire, they get to keep the best people with digital knowledge and skillsets. So at the end of the day, I think that the natural world is magnetizing towards this digital core. It’s whether or not a company can sell services around that or actually from a sales and particularly marketing perspective if you are your resume and your functions can really look more than just being digitally wrapped. It’s going to be really key part of the resume and career building over the next 10 years. You can’t pay lip service to this anymore. You’re going to have to accumulate the skills and expertise and projects that really make you stand out from the crowd.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, it’s an exciting time to be in this space for sure. I mean I was just down at an email conference in Las Vegas, and they started talking about AI and the role that it’s starting to play in what people might consider an older technology and that some people have said, “Well, email’s dead. It doesn’t work anymore.”

Michael Gale:                    That’s so untrue. It really does. It’s just … It’s all about content. We’ll talk about this in a minute, but it’s all content. You just can’t use it like mass bombing process. It has to be correctly sequenced in the right moment. In fact, it’s an incredibly valuable tool. It just can’t be used as a carpet bombing mechanism anymore.

Doug Morneau:                           Well, I should have contacted you before I released my book. My book just became a best seller on email marketing, so that would have been a great quote because not everybody feels that way. Obvious, we think there’s still room in the industry for this as one of the many tactics that we use so.

Michael Gale:                    It would be like losing a leg. If you don’t have an email marketing process going forward, you basically cut off one of your limbs. It’s crazy.

Doug Morneau:                Okay. Well, I’m on the same page as you, so let’s not spend any time talking about what I’m excited about. Why do we talk about what you’re excited about and talk about digital transformation, and what’s happening with companies and how they are going to leverage what’s happening in today’s marketplace?

Michael Gale: Yeah, so I think that there’s maybe a 30-second answer to this that could be really useful as a sort of start off point. We spent about four years on this book, a lot of research, about a million dollars worth and a lot of interviews with leaders. And there are two or three things that really resonated. No matter how much you believe you’re committed to the idea of digital transformation, it’s really where the rubber hits the road. And what we realized, there were like three legs in this process. One leg was, Do you actually understand what’s happening in the real world? Do you get these big drivers that are everything from a shift in demographics to the fact you can now get instant on businesses? If you understood those drivers, you start moving up the success curve very quickly.

If you also understood how to manage your internal challenges, and this is particularly true, I think, in corporate sales and marketing, where many of the internal clients still think in a binary way, you’re going to get there. And we realize the most successful organizations, the sort of 16% that got great returns, were totally optimistic about the world, adopted these seven digital DNA pieces. We may not get to talk them, but they were behavioral in investment traits that really indicated success.

But if you get the drivers, you understand your internal challenges, and you got to use these helix components, I’ll probably give out copies of the book, people really were extraordinarily successful at extracting value in this. And I think the key for entrepreneurs is don’t lose focus on that startup mentality because the most successful organizations, corporate organizations, sales, marketing, ops, that adopted a startup like a mentality were like eight times more successful at what they did. With organizations that kept trying to do the same old corporate thing, and expect digital startup results. So there’s something incredibly wonderful about digital startups, and they should not abandon who they are because corporations are desperate to grab those skills and attitudes and implant them in their own cultures.

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How do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opportunities now, change its processes, and actually make digital an engine for growth in our organization?

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Doug Morneau:                           Yeah, isn’t it funny how as an entrepreneur when you start a business … I can’t speak for yourself. I speak of myself where I looked to the bigger companies and say, “I want to be like that,” and when the big companies are looking at what we can do and how nimble and quick you can make decisions and get access to budgets and technology to implement, they’re going, “I don’t want to do what you guys are doing.”

Michael Gale:                    Oh yeah, and they’re desperate, so we may have [inaudible 00:08:13] being large. They are desperate to get the startup mentality because no matter how optimistic they are, they’re like 86% of leaders just told us they’re not optimistic about digital transformation. Going from a sort of emotional optimism to practical capability requires the startup mentality. It’s one of the key DNA traits. It’s the difference between humans and chimpanzees is one or two elements. That startup mentality is one of those key missing ingredients between success and failure, so I think small startup businesses should absolutely rejoice in who they are because everybody wants to be like them right now.

Doug Morneau : So and speaking about a startup mentality, what do you say … What is a startup mentality?

Michael Gale: So if I look at the digital helix seven components there are four things that really matter, maybe five. One is, I think, leadership in a small startup. It’s about the capacity to explore, not just a setout course and leave it alone, but to really dig deep into daily details. And it’s naturally easier for a startup because you have a sort of admin level, but really sustaining that capacity to dig deep and live the promise, live the story you’re telling, the huge part of this journey.

I think the second thing that startups are really good at doing is they don’t look at established sources of information as being the only place to go, or established ideas. They’re able to mix and match ideas, sources of information, and perspective … We call it themes and streams … Much better than large organizations do that sort of rely on solid, unmoving dashboards. In fact, when we talked to USAA, really big corporation, they would abandon or change dashboards every few days if that’s what it took to be successful. And I think that’s a startup mentality.

I think the third thing is because you don’t have a lot of budgets in startups, marketing is treated as a set of moments, and I would really recommend people stop doing journey tracking because it’s too complicated. Find the moments where you could have differentiation, and startups do a good job of that because they don’t have enough budget to do everything, so they’re forced to focus.

Doug Morneau: Sure.

Michael Gale: I think the third thing is that startups are really good at thinking to the horizon, but not getting so locked into a plan. You know 16, 18, 20 months down the line, they’re going, “Well, we made this commitment. We have to go there.” That flexibility about the future is a really important part of success. In other words, they know there’s an evolving world, they’re too small. Big companies struggle at that. They behave like elephants, which is why digital startups, mice, tend to trip them up. Because digital startups are more mobile as the world is changing. They don’t have some huge, 40-year plan. They’re reacting within a tight cycle. I think the fifth thing that really mattered is that human beings in startups that work are all responsible to each other in real time. There isn’t this sense of this department, that department. They’re commonly focused on base problems together and sharing them across almost invisible barriers. So customer services, sales, marketing all work together fluidly partly because they’re in the same room or the same office, but also because they’re focused on this sort of customer portfolio of experiences, not just on how we’ve always done it. And that’s really where these large corporations … We just finished measuring this … absolutely struggle. They claim they’re doing bits of it, but when you test it and prove it, they’re not getting very good returns because they can’t change the way they work. They can’t change the way they think fast enough to react to the world around them.

Doug Morneau: I can’t imagine … I’ve worked with large companies from time to time doing consulting working for them and government organizations, and you’re right. There’s just such a process that’s set up there that’s so traditional you kind of have to go through those hoops. And I remember at the end of one consulting gig, I said, “I don’t understand how anyone gets anything done. We’re always in meetings, project meetings. There needs to be some time when we can actually do the work that we’re planning.”

Michael Gale: To some extent, planning is an ongoing process for us. It’s intricate. One of the things we have seen with is, is the eventual answer we got. So certain companies or the leaders we spoke to of big places, about 30% with sales and marketing. Look, when you fail, what do you do?  Do you abandon, do you slow down, or do you just keep going? It’s amazing. The most digitally successful organizations will measure like 28 different metrics from brand culture to performance. We actually keep going. I mean, we really keep going. It’s obvious most say we abandon it, clearly they’re not successful.  But there’s something in the middle where people can make a decision to keep going sort of or keep going in a determined way. And it’s the keep going in a determined way that wins out, and I think too much time on planning and not enough time on intricate learning is what kills most of these large corporations. They’re trying to use old world tools to solve new world digital problems and it’s very difficult.

Doug Morneau:                I have to quote you on that. That’s great. That’s so true. I tell people the reason they hire me to help them with marketing is I know more things that won’t work than they do because I’ve tried them all.

Michael Gale: Well, that’s great, but that is like a Pachinko machine. We’ve got all this [inaudible 00:13:28]. It’s actually great knowledge. That’s AI. AI’s going to telling you the 28 things you really can’t do. That’s all right, and I think trying to use learning, as in we shouldn’t do this, we can’t do this, is the great way of learning versus we’ve each found the three things we need to do. I think you’ve got to look at learning as an accumulation of enormous understanding before we try and find the right direction versus hoping that learning finds the one direction we cannot ignore all other choices.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, it’s interesting because you think of traditional business, and I’ve seen lots of people writing marketing plans, and I look at the stuff they include in them, and I’m going to go to this, I’m going to join the Board of Trading and go to this meeting, go to that meeting. Not to say that they’re good or bad. I guess, it depends on who your client is, but I’m thinking of last week, the middle week, going to Crossfit class in the middle of the day, and looking who was there. There’s a venture capital guy there. There’s a digital guy who exited from this company, thinking, “Hey, I made better connections in an hour in the gym sweating beside somebody. Then I would have done sitting at a traditional business meeting as my boss would have told me to do with 50 people having the same rubber chicken dinner.”

Michael Gale: Right. Let me extend to that beyond the rubber chicken dinner because I’m a vegan, is that I actually think that what you’ve just said is about moments. You’ve recognized moments where you can connect better with people that matter than taking traditional maps and saying how I can work the map better, and I think great digital marketing and sales is about rethinking the problem, not trying to incrementalize the solution.

Doug Morneau: Yep, there you go. Very cool. So looking at people who say, “Hey, this sounds interesting. This sounds good.” What are the biggest mistakes that people or organizations make when they’re saying, “Okay. Fine, I’ve heard what Michael said, mentioned moving forward, so now I want to transform my company.”

Michael Gale: So probably two things … If this was the conversation that drove you to action, you’re probably far too late. By saying you’re overweight and you’re wearing 50-inch waistband pants you like, “Yeah, you should have known that when you were at 40.” But I think the reality is only when we just finish measuring this week about 2.25% of these major corporations didn’t get it. I think the question probably when put in slightly different ways, “We’re trying this. We’re doing some stuff, but …” because that isn’t it enough. And I think it’s how do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opportunities now, change its processes, and actual make digital an engine for growth on our organization? I think answering those three questions is the key one because if it’s just “I want to transform”, I think that’s one, the last of that purpose, and I think you’ve also got to say, “Look we got to do it, and then you wait.”

You can’t do old things and expect new results. And probably about 70% of major corporations are in that position they’re trying to get past, “We want to do this” to “Do we use a new methodology to do it, or do we just try and do the old one slightly better.” A lot of these large consulting firms honestly … I’ll give an example. We asked large consulting firms how digitally transformed they were. Probably good questions because if you want to get a firm to help you transform, they should be pretty transformed. Am I right?

Doug Morneau: Yeah, you’d think so.

Michael Gale: You’d think so, right. Less than 20% of all major US consulting firms perceive themselves, just perceive themselves, as having reached mature levels of digital transformation themselves. That’s less than one in five. So if you want to get a consulting firm to help you transform, the first question you should ask them is, “How transformed are you?” Four out of five which is big. We’re giving them more scales. If you look at agencies, so we’re asking to really big firms like Publicis and WPP. Is less than 15% were highly digitally transformed. That means like one in seven agencies or six in seven firms that are claiming they can give you great digital marketing. Have actually lived and breathe this stuff and a capable of doing it.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. And I’m not totally surprised. I mean, I have a saying that I use when I’m looking at stuff and that never hires anyone to do what you want to do, unless they have done what you’re going to do or they’re willing to pay the price you’re willing to pay. So whatever area of your life that is … so with you if you’re a vegan, and you want to learn how to eat a vegan diet and be healthy, go find someone who’s doing it. Not someone who just wrote a book on that’s never lived that lifestyle.

Michael Gale: Yeah, I passed a great metaphor is completely true. And I think that’s why when people say I want to transform, the first question, I should ask their partners, their suppliers is “how transformed are you?” If you’re going to go on this journey, and you can’t have your partners already on it. How can you ever be successful?

I mean, there’s a start, I can send you the infographic. We looked at it by industry, but it blew us away. We used a really complex model formation, which is like, do you believe you’re transformed? Are you getting the metrics? Do you talk about on a daily basis? So literally, if you’re PWC, and you were one of the six and seven that you were.

You may believe you’re highly transformed you may not be getting the metrics and you’re not talking about it then you’re walking the walk, yeah. And I think it’s really clear that a lot of suppliers could disappear very quickly unless they themselves go through a really rapid process of transformation.

Doug Morneau: That’s interesting. And I think that some of the companies must be thinking transformation, even some of the bigger public company especially brick and mortar thinking, we have to transform or we’re going to disappear.

Michael Gale: Right but it’s almost so late, retail is a terrible example because it’s so easy to pick on.

Doug Morneau: Okay. Sorry to give you an easy question.

Michael Gale: It is because of the basic thinkers … no, because it’s so unfair because I love shopping, right? It’s very interesting. So look at Nordstrom we live in Seattle, Nordstrom is probably one of the pinnacle retailers in the country. And the whole issue is Nordstrom experiences incredibly unique, well if you go to Nordstrom store and they can’t work out within three minutes if they don’t have an inventory, if I can get it to you tomorrow you’re going to leave. Secondly, if you go and look at Nordstrom.com, it’s one of the worst websites you’ll ever see. So how can you in a world where quality experience needs to be had at the moment at the end of the store or online work, they just didn’t get it. And I look at places like Zara, incredibly well on Spanish clothing company, and you look at some extent, H&M where they turn inventory very quickly, they understand that the customer needs an amazing experience at that moment. So if you can’t service it, immediately try and service it within 24 hours or 12 hours. And I think that in retail, in particular, has this incredible asset into engagement with the customer. But they’re lousy at understanding what it takes to win with engagement and they’re too focused on what can they sell you in the store right now, that’s just not the way people care anymore.

Doug Morneau: Well, I don’t know whether this is bordering on asking you for consulting feedback or not. But I’ll throw it out there. And then you feel free to reject it.

Michael Gale: Yeah, cool.

Doug Morneau:  I’ve heard a number of people in the last few weeks talking about, what are they going to do because they think that Amazon’s eating their lunch. So how do you compete with Amazon? So as the digital guru, what would … What’s your feedback for companies that are either entrepreneurs or existing businesses that are in that space and feel at Amazon is there?

Michael Gale: Right. So full disclosure, last year I did a huge amount of work with them. So I want to be careful because that would be inappropriate, but I will answer it. So I didn’t think Amazon is eating more business, I think Amazon decided what the customer experience needs to be. And I have a very strong set of rules, like 15 principles about how you work there. But there’s a very strong underline statement that matters, meet the customer where the customer is, and I believe that any business should always meet the customer at the moment where the customer is.

So let’s say, for example, LinkedIn, if you and I are doing stuff on this podcast,  then that’s something on LinkedIn. We need to be able to produce something that’s so interesting, a customer says I’d like to use that. Now is it turned into a set of documents, is it turned into sort of conversations, you know, is attached to a certain group. That’s about meeting the customer, where the customer is and traditionally in retail, we say, “No, I’m open between 9:00 and 5:00, my websites available 24 by 7, and I’m closed on Sundays. That’s not really where the customer is. They may be there sometimes. But if you don’t have the product available, if it’s difficult to pack to get to you or it takes an enormous amount of time. You are eroding the capacity to be where the customer wants to be. And what Amazon has done a great job of, is being where their customer is. I think if you ask yourself that permanent question, Where is our customer? Where can we be, I think most people would not argue that Amazon’s taking their business. They’re just not doing a very good job of defining themselves in a new digital landscape.

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How do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opportunities now, change its processes, and actually make digital an engine for growth in our organization?

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Doug Morneau: Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I don’t think that you know, Amazon’s predatorily they’re picking on businesses like you said, they’re just providing a better experience. And my experience, even as recent as last week, I had a tech issue. So I’m on a call with tech support. And they recognize that I’m a licensed owner of the technology that they provide. And they said, “Well, we really have a new generation that technology should get the new generation and I’m willing to offer you an on-call special price.” And so this was the first time I actually did an Amazon price chart while I was on the call, and they were clearly missing the mark, they were significantly more expensive, even at their preferred price, because I’m an existing customer that I can go buy exactly the same brand from Amazon and have it delivered in two days.

Michael Gale: Right, and that is to be the perfect example overall. Retail stores now, literally offering the life comparison. Now, there are … It kind challenges your delivery and Amazon’s having to deal with fake product. It’s a big problem. It’s actually a huge issue around clothing, for example, and some electronics pieces, particularly in industrial areas. But I think you have to have the proverbial kahunas to say, “Hey, look you want the Amazon comparison, I’ll give it to you. And if you fail, you’re going to fail. That’s life and your business model struggling, but you have to be prepared to meet people at that moment. And in fact, if you’re not prepared to meet them at that moment, but trying to disguise it. But Amazon’s one click away. So your company has to survive that click if it can’t survive that click, it won’t work.

Doug Morneau:  And then you look at the free tools that they give away as well. And now seeing that they’re getting into the different search and those additional features that the digital markers will use, and they’re saying they’re going to compete directly with Google Now.

Michael Gale: Well, I think it’s different in Google. In fact, there’s an interesting analogy I’ll give you, I think Google is a free-form learning environment that gets you to something. Amazon is a platform for experiencing purchasing and it’s a really subtle difference because Amazon doesn’t want to be a search engine, honestly, because it can’t read your reviews. But if you want to buy something or shop for it, and you want to get to a point, we’ve looked at some stuff, you’ve seen some reviews, you seem some cool pictures, why would you go to any other retail experience other than Amazon. And it’s literally down to things like sink plugs, unusual light bulbs, they are remarkable at it.

So for 75% of what you ever spend that side mortgage and food, most people don’t want to go to lots of places. I mean, they don’t want to do multiple infinite shopping. So I think what Google is and Amazon actually lift together is that one allows free-form learning. The other really actually allows free-form purchasing and the two are almost like a husband and wife team on the internet.

Doug Morneau: So is that what you mean when you say that digital goes beyond the customer experience?

Michael Gale: Well, I think again, it goes much deeper, it’s employee based, it is service orientated. It is product learning, the volume of product learning that is failed to get to a product is ridiculous. If you were to spend your whole time looking at product reviews on Amazon or Google, you learn more about a market sector than any research firm could ever tell you, literally. And I think the reality is that the whole digital experience has these untapped areas below the customer I [inaudible 00:25:20] tip. That could teach you things about new economics, new product delivery, design forms of dealing with employees and partners that are far beyond just the, I want to sell more stuff to customers. Might be if you’re marketing, and you were able to actually review your competitors marketing live, you can do that.

Doug Morneau: Sure, you can.

Michael Gale: We don’t need … right. But most people don’t spend enough time doing that they still look for ads if you pretended you’re a customer. And you went through this whole process and say, hey, I need to invent a product. Other than what I invent, it’s amazing, the free valid information out there you can take, same for employees. So I think the reality is, well, customers a good place to start, is that whole ecosystem that really has to be converted to be successful.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I’ve heard before the analogy or the suggestion to use Amazon for research. And I have done some of that. And the same goes for going into online forums and looking at competitors companies, or competitors products, or maybe your own product and see how people are talking about it. There’s so much information there, that you’re not going to get when you do a survey.

Michael Gale: Because it’s free, and it’s all about knitting it together. And one of the things we talked about and themes and streams, one of this digital DNA is, “Look, you’ve got to get used to new forms of data coming at you in different directions.” So traditionally we used to throw out fishing line into the river we knew would generate the right fish for us. Now, well, that line again to another river, or in fact, another type of species could come up for your information.

Having that flexibility is my purpose. How do I learn to get there is really vital, which is why I’m saying this whole mindset shift, you know, the exploring with structure is what running a business is about. This is just executing to a control plan is a tough shift for people to make, startups are amazing. And I think sales and marketing is the leading edge of how major corporations should be transforming because they’re at the customer range, they intersection of product service support. And if it works, you get a great return. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, you learn pretty fast, frankly, in a sales and marketing functions. I think that’s really where you should be trying to make the first transformational changes because you can change a culture, investment, and process much quicker than anywhere else in the corporation.

Doug Morneau: So there you go. That’s some low hanging fruit for you, for our listeners that are tuning in that sort of the sales and marketing process. And it’ll work back in your corporation from that point.

Michael Gale: Yeah, it’s a learning process. It doesn’t mean is perfect, but you learn from that DNA. What to do, what not to do, and what is still yet to be explored.

Doug Morneau: So in terms of advice that’s out in the industry, what’s the bad advice that you hear around. Again because I’m actually stealing this from Tim Ferriss book? Because watching you here, hey, what’s the best advice? Or what would you advise yourself to do 30 years ago?

Michael Gale: Yes, of course.

Doug Morneau: But it’s really nice to kind of get that, what’s the ugly one out there that is got people going down the wrong path?

Michael Gale: We could do false or true, do you want to give me a statement and I’ll tell you if we believe it’s also true, maybe that’s a better way of doing.

Doug Morneau: I don’t know if my brain is up to that today. So let me see, which was false or true.

Michael Gale: Well, let me try this, I am warming up to, again. So here’s a statement line is totally false. People say, track your customer’s journey. And we believe that’s false. There is no one journey, there are millions of moments. So what you need to do is stop doing journey tracking and find the moments, find the moments where you can meet the customer where they are, it’s not a journey, they may go to that moment, and they may go to somebody else. But if you’re at that moment, you have a chance to get back on them. So this journey tracking, we were part of building journey models is mathematically ridiculous, because you can’t track all the journeys that matter. But you can find the moments that you can be relevant to. So we say, “Stop journey tracking, start building moments.”

Doug Morneau:                           Okay. Fair enough, I guess, I don’t know. I got stuck with my own question I was asking you.

Michael Gale:                    No, no. I will try some more, I was just scribing down, let me try and … digital metrics are the same as before, just with a little adjustment. No, they’re not. So digital metrics for success, are 30% of what they were before. But 70% of them are really, really different. Tracking moments, not journeys, looking not so much how many clicks you get, but how many clicks, you know, when you go to and how many clicks and you can deliver some value to. So what I call moments and value is a really important metric before. The other thing we mentioned was abandonment. People say, well, I need 3% of people abandoned me. Yeah, but that gets to six, we worked out mathematically that doubling and abandonment is far more powerful, dangerous for you than a small drop off, and clicks and views. So there were different subtleties in this that need to be educated back, in our opinion, to the management team. So we’re not building these old world dashboards to try and solve newer problems.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, that’s interesting, because we just finished a setting some sessions talking about metrics, and what are the important metrics these days, and in online terms of … Oh, it was related to email terms of deliverability opens, clicks, click through subject lines, and all the different testing that we used to use. And trying to anticipate where it’s going to go from there. And what else can we learn from how our customers are engaging with us to continue to improve their experience.

Michael Gale: In fact the engagement metric, I think, as we know, from math is the most important. So understanding what engagement looks like is far more important than clicks, or views or comments, because it shows an intensity of action. And we always think about things as a funnel, you know, there’s a funnel with a proportionate trade-off. No, the new funnel looks more like a nuclear bomb mushroom, is that there’s a whole bunch of powerful energy, but cloud. And there’s a very small epicenter, and it’s understanding what happens in the epicenter is far more valuable than all the noise of the cloud around it.

Doug Morneau: What I find interesting is listening to people talk about their audience and how many people have in the list or how many people like their Facebook page or how many people follow them on Twitter. And we look to work with influencers to help our clients leverage their brand as well. But what I … the first thing I look at when someone says, “Hey, I’m an influencer and I want X number of dollars to partner with you.” Take a look at their engagement and say, “Oh, I’m glad that you’ve got three million people that are following you on Twitter. But it looks like your last tweet. Nobody liked it, shared it or commented. So in terms of engagement. There’s the metric there is zero.

Michael Gale: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny to me, because it’s still the volume game. I’ve got two million bees. Yeah, but you really want to care about the queen bee. And it’s somehow a [inaudible 00:31:48]. You know what I mean? I think to some extent, we’ve got to get past the noise to signal discussion. So we tend to say to clients, drop your metrics into noise and drop your metrics into a signal bucket. Some of the noise stuff is okay, but it’s the signals that you’re looking for. I think we still try and look at things as bonds.

Doug Morneau:                Yeah, that was, … I don’t know. I’m not going to say that it’s just a man thing. But often it’s a brain thinks all my database is this big, say, okay, fine. I’d rather have 10 people who buy everything I sell, than have 1000 people who open my email.

Michael Gale: Yeah, because of it just noise and you have to serve this noise. And I think that somebody that we’ve got to train our management outside sales and marketing to recognize noise versus signal. And that’s maybe the biggest thing I criticized most people in sales and marketing for doing is we’re not talking about noise metrics and signal metrics. And we’ve got to get to that model we’re trying to, you know, think of old world numbers is presenting the new universe is just not like that.

Doug Morneau: So what are you most excited about, in this next couple years, what do you see coming that just got you keep you awake at night?

Michael Gale: I think, in a great way, I’m really excited about how organizations can embrace a new way of thinking to put on top of the way they’ve been trying to act, 98% of organizations are just under are aggressively digitally transforming somewhere, the just the vast majority of organizations get it wrong. So I’d love to see the returns equal the intent because people change behavior. I think that really worries me is a continued attempt to substitute humans with AI. And we don’t think about what AI needs to deliver to make humans more productive. And I do think we’ve got this tendency to go student body left, student body, right. And the power of AI and the power of automation is it should free up humans to do incredibly complicated things that are really valuable, particularly in sales and marketing. So I think our over-reliance on technology, solving everything without going through the struggle of defining it’s a concern. But I think the real interesting upside to me is it for all the promise of digital transformation, people are starting to see certain organizations, USAA, Hallmark, others we interview get really good at it, they could end up being a shining example of a wonderful future. And I think that is really exciting. So that millennials or people in their 30s and 40s or startups could really be part of a revolution, in a business model. It just, we can’t get to the new world, trying to do old things, thinking we’re going to get different results.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, and I see the often people will use digital marketing specifically as either procrastination or a way of dealing with their fear of rejection or having a sales conversation with a client. And obviously, I believe, that’s the wrong approach. I do business with people I like and I talk to, not people who send me automated Facebook bought messages. That’s not a relationship. That’s automation. That’s a computer.

Michael Gale: Yeah, and I think the reality is, we’ve got to train noise to signal and I think if we’re going to get advantages from this transformative world, part of it is to ignore the noise and to really understand what the signal is, right? From a consulting standpoint, from the work you do. That may be the big philosophical shift we’re seeing now, which is don’t worry about what the stuff is, but work out what the stuff is that really matters, because getting stuff data is not difficult, getting the right information in the right way at the right time is the big problem.

Doug Morneau: Fair enough. So there you go, listeners, there are some keys and maybe some tips and hope this didn’t catch you off guard but just a push to move your organization digital. And make sure that whoever you’re going to consider to join you in that journey that as Michael shared if you ask them how they made out in their digital transformation. So I want to thank you so much, Michael, for sharing with us today, sharing with our audience.

Michael Gale: I mean fun, I hope the conversation is useful and maybe sparks two or three different things.

Doug Morneau: You’ve raised a lot of questions in my mind, my head swimming a bit after this conversation. So it’s a lot for me to reflect on. Now, where’s the best place for people to reach out and learn more about you and your company and what you guys are doing?

Michael Gale: Well LinkedIn is great just because we publish stuff every week, you get to see that living repository of ideas without having to talk to us. If people would like to come to us and we’re happy to give them a free digital copy of the book. We have a couple of hundred copies left. Come to Michael@inc I-N-C.digital, happy to give them a digital copy. And obviously the inc.digital website is there, but most of what we like to do is sharing content, sharing ideas and hopefully helping people spark themselves to think and act differently, to get success and thrive transforming digitally.

Doug Morneau: That sounds really cool. I’m super excited. I love this space. I like the fact that you can buy back some of your time and you need to think more than just business function, but how you operate moving forward, so that’s really cool.

Michael Gale: Great well anything you or the readers … listeners rather one, don’t ever take the Hangout, it was a really great conversation, so thanks for your time today.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, really appreciate it. So thanks again listeners for tuning in. We’ve had Michael Gale joining us from the Digital Helix. I’m going to make sure I get a copy of the book and will read it with my pen and the highlighter in hand. And learn how I can continue to improve myself and make sure that we share this message with our reader. So will transcribe all these notes I’ll make sure that Michael’s information for his website. His book and his LinkedIn are there I’ve just connected with them a LinkedIn so there you go. So for those of you who aren’t on LinkedIn and don’t think that LinkedIn works. I would suggest it’s probably been one of the best networking tools that I’ve used to grow my business and to connect with people. So until next episode, hope you have an awesome week and enjoy your digital transformation to more success.

Michael Gale: Great, well have a great weekend and keep going, because we love what you guys do. So thank you.

Doug Morneau: Thanks, Michael.

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How do we build a sustainable, adaptive environment that can grab opportunities now, change its processes, and actually make digital an engine for growth in our organization?

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"Innovation isn't just thinking outside the box; it's about setting the box on fire and building something extraordinary from the ashes."

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