Nasser Ahmed, Google Digital Academy head of emerging markets, describes the programme as a partnership between a ‘one Google team’ and clients, which enables business growth through providing customised digital marketing advice, including digital marketing fundamentals, best practices and a customised roadmap. 

Aiming to work towards full digital marketing maturity, Google’s Digital Marketing Transformation programme takes clients through a six-step process. This starts with an assessment done by advertisers on their level of digital marketing maturity using the Digital Maturity Benchmark developed by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The Digital Maturity Benchmark provides insights on how advertisers are positioned in comparison to best-in-class marketers.

A BCG-Google study, conducted with 40 experts and over 200 brands across more than eight industries around the world, identifies four stages of Digital Marketing Maturity: Nascent, emerging, connect and multi-moment. 

The study found that 2% of brands deliver multi-moment experiences where customer journeys are improved towards business outcomes. Eight percent are nascent — the lower end of maturity — where execution is campaign-based and brands use external data and direct buys.

Eighty-nine percent of brands sit in the middle — emerging and connected — and begin to manage data, automate media buying and messaging and optimise in single and multiple channels.

Jan Gildemeister, MD and partner at BCG South Africa, says that increasing digital marketing maturity is a journey that is best achieved when technical and organisational capabilities go hand in hand to help brands iteratively take their next steps. 

"To respond to consumer expectations and competition, brands must make hard changes to realise the full potential of data-driven marketing. Transformation is a necessity and can be aided by applying advanced technologies in conjunction with smart human assistance," says Gildemeister. 

"Technology can empower brands to become more helpful by letting them be there for their users, with useful answers provided timely and seamlessly," adds Jenny Thompson, EMEA Go To Market, Google.

"For instance, by transforming themselves, organisations have the ability to apply the most advanced machine learning-based technology to their campaigns, reducing their cost per acquisition by up to 40% and boosting return on ad spend by up to 30%. But the pay-off is worth it — best-in-class advertisers benefit from 30% more impact for the same spend," Thompson says. 

Google also announced that the Google Digital Academy Labs are designed to help organisations skill up to effectively address their transformation challenges.

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