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Why Marketing Transformation Initiatives Fail

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Why Marketing Transformation Initiatives Fail and the Seven Hallmarks of Transformation Success Colby Renton Fazio Senior Marketing Strategist In July of 1881, President James Garfield was shot as he walked through a Washington D.C. train station. The Civil War veteran was well liked by the citizens of the country he had led for just four months prior to this inevitably fatal incident. His devote constituents followed his health obsessively after the assassination attempt, hoping for salvation. Newspapers shared details about the innovative young inventor named Alexander Graham Bell who deployed a newly-constructed metal detector to aid in the search for the bullet. They marveled at the ingenuity of Naval Engineers who attempted to comfort the president in the blistering heat of summer with another first: a rudimentary air conditioning system. They revered the dedication of the president's doctor and found hope in his reports of the president's improving condition. Nonetheless, Garfield died in mid-September, and the country mourned bitterly. Why the history lesson in a paper about modern marketing business transformations? Garfield's death was less the result of the bullet that punctured his abdomen, and more a failure of the conditions under which he was treated. It's a good analogy for what many marketers face today, as they watch their own seemingly robust initiatives wither away. Marketing executives invest in a new kind of technology, often considered to be a silver bullet. However, similar to Garfield's myopic doctors, Marketing teams miss the big picture. They focus only on the bullet (marketing automation in this case) producing minimal, if any results that impact the business… let alone revenue. Before we consider the failures that parallel the death of a president– and the death of the digital marketing shift– let's consider why this shift is happening today.

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