Digital strategy is one of those slightly odd things by me. A strange start indeed to a blog about the same, published by a business that helps clients with just that - digital strategy.
The thing with digital strategy is somehow it suggests that it lives separately to any of the other strategies that might exist within an organisation, IT, marketing, business, growth. Digital is an integral part of all of these functions, provoking more customer centric thinking and behaviour, driving efficiencies, enabling collaboration and so on. So, if digital is intertwined across the way we work and engage with people both internally and externally its my view that actually digital strategy is red threaded and integral to the totality of the business and its success.
With this in mind here’s my top 5 considerations for weaving digital throughout an organisation and thinking strategically about its role and the gain that it presents.
Who is using all this stuff? We recognise that the experience of brand and business is one that is multichannel and can cover a multitude of touch-points, from pieces of traditional mail through to website, social and content plus so many more. By understanding how people traverse the means that we talk to our customer not only via digital but also traditionally, what we say and where is then informed by their journey, and goes towards developing relevance and trust in helping them migrate to a mutually beneficial outcome. We can only successfully do this by understanding needs states, appealing with value and ultimately recognising that everyone is different and there's a decent likelihood that no journey is the same. (tricky!)
What is a mutually beneficial connection? One where both the business and the customer gains. Make someone laugh, deliver them something that they want on time whilst meeting their expectations, share with them something new or help them learn. These are all worthy pursuits and connecting need with what we do we can drive shared value exchange. People connect with people; therefore it's a more human connection that might well drive the type of exchange that gets further away from simply the transaction and closer to meaning.
All this technology is there to help us work better and more efficiently. Its a mistake to think that just because we have things in place that enable us to do things that people will.
And therefore we need to find ways to leverage our IT to earn changes in behaviour. Rewarding the change is the trick, if people feel that the learning curve is easy and the benefit is achievable and real then the changes to behaviour that digital platforms can engender both happen and stick.
Yet it’s all very well to be contemporary and slick with everything digital. Lots of connection, exchange and ultimately conversation does not a sale or for that matter a business make. Given the rich data set behind digital platforms and channels, also ensure to measure the means to be able to report their gain in terms of business results, in tune with wider business planning and objectives.
To summarise, business strategy that lives on paper ring bound and thud factor ready somewhat misses the objective. Because digital is constantly changing, build digital strategies that are woven throughout business vision and direction; build behaviours that incrementally drive momentum rather than activities that start and stop. Be agile and learn to keep learning.
Now we’re talking digital strategy.
Ben Hart is a strategist and thought-leader with a track record of success in growing digital businesses and helping brands and organisations realise the potential available to them in a world increasingly full of change.