Guiding principles for your Digital Strategy

Atmosphere

The impact of digital in our lives is already huge.

Think about how you interact with your peers, discover, shop, and even date! Change is the only constant while the rate of change will continue to accelerate. A CMO Survey indicates that “digital marketing spend is forecasted to increase to 35% of total budgets by 2016”. So it’s fair to state that having proper digital strategy planning in place is an imperative, so we take an in-depth look into guiding principles for your digital strategy.

The process of planning and executing a digital strategy is also evolving due to new methodologies, process, tools and KPIs. This means that digital strategy requires an even broader set of skills and is always a race against time. Despite this change, there are 3 principles that were true 10 years ago and will likely still be valid in 100 years;

1. A deep understanding of Consumer Behaviours

Business is ultimately about people. Never forget this.

To deeply understand consumer behaviours, one must adopt a real customer centric approach. That is literally put yourself in the mindset of your consumer. A CEI survey showed that “86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations”. Where are you falling short of your customer’s expectations?

Understanding consumer behaviours has now been enabled in new ways due to big data. Unleash the opportunities of big data (from your CRM program to social media monitoring) is critical. According to IBM, 61% of successful leaders balance the needs of consumers with those of retailers, compared to 36% of other companies. Listening and understanding of your potential users is not an option.

If understanding your customers if essential, taking action inspired by greater understanding is critical. According to Forrester Consulting, almost half of Marketing and Customer Insights decision makers with responsibility for digital marketing strategy and / or execution consider personalization extremely important..”

Finally, becoming essential for your main customers must be the Holy Grail; “On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.” That is why a deeper understanding of consumer needs and behaviours will help you to offer something essential, relevant to their journey and unavoidable in their own lives.

2. Leverage relevant market dynamics

Markets dynamics evolve very quickly. Think about how Blockbuster disappeared because of Netflix, Kodak and others… That is why it is critical today to have a strong understanding of not only what is happening in your market, but also beyond. Indeed there is no “market” in the people’s mind there is only product and services that solve their needs and your next competitors could come from a completely different industry...

To leverage relevant market dynamics, you need first to rethink your production and supplier chain. Indeed, according to research conducted by Accenture, “significant supply chain disruptions have been found to cut the share price of impacted companies by 7% on average”. What can you learn from others who have found new ways to optimize production and supplier chains as a response to their own battles with disruptors?

Challenge can appear every day and will come from so many different backgrounds. Understand that it is not only the unique value proposition behind your product / service that you need to be successful. The user experience contributes largely to the value proposition, ignore at your peril.. Netbiscuits found that 9 in 10 Mobile Web users left for a competitor’s site that offered a better experience. Customer loyalty? Convenience often equates to loyalty for today’s saturated audience.

Allow innovation to happen

This means that you have to embrace failure and develop a cell of innovation within your company. For instance, roughly half of Apple’s revenue is generated by products that are less than four years old. Walk in to a store to find a product that has been there for longer than two seasons and you will likely be heading to the accessory wall. Product life cycles are getting shorter; innovation is critical to stay relevant with the needs that come with constantly changing market dynamics. Innovation does not live in the minds of the superstar designers of these companies, it is part of the DNA. Accepting failure is part of that DNA. Consumers are incredibly reasonable with forgiving mistakes, provided that the upside is worth it.

Consider new stakeholders
And partners, as demonstrated in the partnership between Intel and Vice “The Creators Project”. Two powerful brands that at first may not appear to have much in common yet produced a strong partnership that has been very rewarding for both. Intel seduces a new target of creative millennials while Vice demonstrate the benefit of their technical leadership and develop their audience further away from the screen through live events. Allies in a highly competitive landscape can be a great support.

3. Make the organisational shifts needed

Company growth comes with increasing complexity within the company. That is why companies often need to be reorganized with a clear point of view on the objectives of the company, process and expected outcomes.

52% of C-suite executives think that organizational structure is not designed to take advantage of priorities according to Marketing Charts dot com. This issue can largely be related to legacy silo organisational structures. Contemporary business has evolved beyond silos. Unlocking the power of different teams working on the same project through a digitally enabled culture of communication is one of the ways in which we help businesses evolve, and can be the way to unlock greater efficiencies and accelerate growth. According to Accenture Interactive, 83% of IT executives feel a need to align and interact with marketing (up from 77% in 2012). That is why, businesses need to facilitate collaboration. Multiple perspectives can facilitate better decision making. What are you leaving on the table by not working across departments?

Leadership must adapt in order to find and retain digital native, millennial talent.

Indeed, BTM Corporation showed that “the Business Agility Leaders exhibited superior financial performance: 13% to 38% performance advantage in capital efficiency and value.” We have seen leaders (ranging from blue chip to start-up) benefit from proactively challenging the way that they approach their role. Adapt or die we would say.

Finally you have to share, and share often, organisational issues and the potential for growth within the company and explain them. Allowing your teams and your talent to share in the vision means increasing their understanding of the challenges. What does collaborative culture mean for your organisation? Are you ready to evolve beyond ‘I have an open door policy’?

To conclude

We could say that relevancy is the main challenge of any company. Businesses have to be relevant in the way they understand and engage their stakeholders. They also have to be relevant with the current market dynamics; the way to do that is to understand where the market is heading to and be genuinely ready to engage. Finally, the organisation needs to be relevant; needs to be a contemporary place for people to share ideas, to create, and to connect.
The vision is far simpler than it first appears, while getting there is far more complicated than it needs to be.

Atmosphere helps clients transform to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in a more digitally interconnected world. Get in touch to find out why we are your ideal partner for digital transformation and strategy consulting.

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