Forming your digital strategy means placing digital at the very core of your business. The way you do things; a digital working method. The way you talk about the things you do; digital communication. And the way you deliver; digital products.
This doesn’t mean the end of analogue, of real life client relationships and physical meetings, nor does it mean getting impersonal. It just means working smarter, reaching further and offering more. Better.
The best way to go about creating a digital strategy is to head into the engine room of your business: Your strategic platform. What are the essential elements that carry your business? How do they look? Feel? Interact? And how do you express them – both internally in your company and externally towards your customers?
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to look at the digital side of things. If you can’t answer them, it’s time to take a step back and do a complete due diligence on your business foundation or, if you’re convinced the engine room is complete and running smoothly, create the strategic platform from scratch.
When you’ve established your answers, next step is to look at your business now versus where you want to be. You have a primarily analogue business with a few exceptions: A website, a social media profile or two, IT systems to run admin, email and perhaps an intranet for your employees. Or you have that plus a few digital products; you’ve created an app, your employees use Podio for project work and CRM and all in all, you think you’re pretty well under way. So why a strategy?
The answer in both cases is the same: because adding elements is not a strategy. You need to go down to the roots of your business and look up, think how you thought when you stood there last, laying the first bricks of the walls of the company: “Which products would make sense for your customers today?”
Do you know what your customers’ day look like? Say you’re trying to sell them… vegetables. You can’t very well product develop on digital vegetables, so what are you going to do? Well. When do people think about vegetables?
- When they’re hungry (lunch time, dinner time, never after-drinks time)
- When they’re waiting for the morning bus (“Darn! Must do the shopping tonight. We need… Ehr.”)
- When they have a bad conscience about Chicken McNuggets
- When they are going grocery shopping
- When they’re staring at the meat counter, totally blank on sides and garnish
- When they need to impress their girlfriends
- When autumn falls and it’s time for soup
You get it. There are lots of thoughts about vegetables! At all times of the day. So where could you as a vegetable company meet them in all these situations other than with billboards at the bus stop and POS material in the supermarket?
- Meal planning and idea app with a sharable shopping list function for when they’re hungry, grocery shopping, staring at the meat counter, wanting soup, have forgotten the shopping list, etc.
- Social media engagement; being present and desirable in their social feeds when they take breaks and think about food. Providing help or offers on location media catching them near sandwich shops, supermarkets but also public transport hubs during rush hour.
- A video blog with instructional recipes that your customers can watch on their iPad or computers while cooking, and subscribe to as a podcast.
- In-store ingredients matching device. Lamb goes with aubergine and tomatoes. Or roast potatoes and garlic. Chicken is great with avocado. White fish and fennel are best friends.
Perhaps you don’t sell vegetables at all. Perhaps you sell a service. You sell advisory services. You have a whole fleet of consultants and they all drive around the country to meet your clients and talk a lot. They also write a lot of emails. And milage log books. Then you could:
- Convert a large part of your fleet’s meeting schedule to video conferencing, saving time, money and man hours and teaching your clients something new and time-saving.
- Create digital hand books, guides and wikis on your expertise and sell them online. A new product.
- Add real-time consultancy options with a live chat line.
- Hold webinars to create leads and a sense of accessibility.
Just to mention a few things. But doesn’t that mean revising the entire business? I mean, pulling your fleet off the highway, that’s a major step! Yes, it is. And yes, it does. If you do revise your entire business, you’re doing it right. If you’re just adding bricks on top of your roof, you’re in for a shock during the next storm.
How to create a digital strategy:
- Self check. Is your company ready for the digital age? Check the engine room.
- Identity. Define who you (the brand) are via your strategic platform, so you can translate that persona into digital products, channels and work methods.
- Analysis. Know who your customers are, how they act, where and why.
- Connect your brand into that behaviour and those needs;
- what are the touch points?
- which digital channels have access there?
- what needs can you fulfil with a digital product or support product?
- are you digitally set up to do this?
- which systems do you need in place to do it? Work methods and tools.
- Create the internal digital set up that will make your vision happen.
- Connect the dots. Plug in. Go.
Ok, that was a bit over-simplified. As said, if you want to do it properly, it’s no small effort.
We can help you develop your digital strategy, and we can teach you how to implement and execute it – or do it for you. Put the best digital systems and tools in place for your employees and teach them how to use them. Develop digital media channels and products, tailored to fit your segment exactly and create the work flow and strategy that will have them take effect. And we can even connect the dots of the efforts you’ve made already to the base of your company – and add the missing dots in. It’s all just a matter of when you’re ready to add more power.
Consider it a pit stop. En route to making your business the Formula 1 version of what you do now. More power, smoother ride. If you know how.