If there’s one thing to know about marketing in 2018, it’s that digital is changing so fast that only those most open to innovation will succeed. In the current market, only about 8% of business strategies are still economically viable if existing business plans are retained. So how do you embrace digital transformation to avoid being one of the other 92% of companies that might fall behind...or worse, another Toys R Us? The first step in digitizing your strategy is to examine the weaknesses in your organization's existing strategy to identify where you need to change. A few weeks ago, we explored 6 digital strategy pitfalls to avoid to help you understand why so many digital strategies fail. This week, however, we'll take a look at the next step in the equation with five tips for digitizing your strategy. be ready for change True transformational leaders are rethinking their business models and capitalizing on digital disruption. Arguably the most important aspect of strategic digitalization is an openness to changing the way it has traditionally been handled. In a market that is growing so fast, change is inevitable. It's important to stay adaptable and embrace opportunities when they arise. But the best way to stay ahead of the digital marketplace is to be five steps ahead. For example, agricultural equipment maker John Deere appears to be the least likely company to digitize. However, in helping customers "farm better," John Deere has integrated digital strategies into farming equipment that hasn't changed in generations. Little did Kenny Chesney know that his tractor was about to get very sexy.
John Deere tractors and other agricultural equipment are now equipped with sensors that allow farmers to monitor soil conditions and automatically respond to changes. They've even developed weather-synchronized sprinklers to water crops when needed, rather than on a prescribed schedule. John Deere CEO Samuel R. Allen said recently that their goal is to develop agricultural equipment to the point of being fully automated, "enabling farmers to monitor, manage and measure the status of virtually any plant in the field." You can look at the digitization of your strategy from the same lens that John Deere uses to examine his products and update them for the new digital environment. Only by being willing to fully examine the "why" of your business can you fully differentiate yourself in the marketplace and implement digital strategies and offerings like never before. Innovation requires taking a step back and repositioning your brand to meet the changing needs of your industry mailing list and make them heroes. Ditch the annual cycle While it has worked in the past, annual business cycles are not the way to go in 2018 and beyond. The digital world is expanding too fast for traditional cycles to keep up. Those who evaluate and implement change every year will be falling behind faster than ever. Digital doesn't wait until the end of the year to make changes, and neither should you. BMW is a case in point, freeing itself from the annual cycle. They continue to improve throughout the year, and their strategies help them learn at a faster pace and apply faster than the traditional annual style.
They also said they were "more focused than ever" on the needs of their customers. The best digital strategies break away from common tactics and present themselves in a whole new way, all the way down to the company's timeline. Expanding beyond "web analytics" Digitization has brought a plethora of ways to measure progress, so how do you know which ones to use? Optimizing your digital strategy means not only updating your products, but also how you measure consumer interactions and conversations, just like Vineyard Vines provides a highly personalized experience to their customer base. Determining the number of clicks on a blog post or the bounce rate of a web page might seem helpful, but these web analytics are no longer the best way to measure engagement. Digital marketing analytics is a more holistic way of measuring data. Instead of measuring static one-dimensional data, they measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy both on and off your website - extending to social media and other places to explore. It also means you can determine the true ROI of your marketing efforts and identify gaps to adjust your strategy accordingly. Optimize User Experience (UX) If you want people to engage with your content, you need to optimize and customize it for specific users. An optimized user experience (UX) is designed with your unique audience in mind, which in turn means understanding what your users want and need. Adobe recommends asking the following three questions to identify elements that might prevent users from completing the action you want them to take: Is the content truly relevant to the user? Didn't your user complete the payment?
Are your users not hitting the call to action? Answers to all of these questions begin with understanding your users, which in turn means articulating your story. You have to know the "why" behind what you're offering, why your users want to buy it and how it affects their lives. Optimizing the user experience can mean anything from making sure your landing pages are intuitive to making sure your content is developed with mobile users in mind. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and ask yourself how you can make it easier for them to interact with your brand while guiding them through Customer BuyWay. Make decisions based on data, not intuition Yes, marketing involves a lot of qualitative stuff, like creative strategy and out-of-the-box thinking. However, that doesn't mean that the work you do isn't equally grounded in research and a solid foundation of marketing performance statistics. The digital world also brings new opportunities to measure and record data, thereby fostering new venues for success. According to Harvard Business Review, the most successful companies with digital marketing strategies are those that generate "actionable" data by testing different methods, not just passive data that is recorded and ignored. Decisions backed by test data, whether it’s a specific type of content or a targeted CTA, are guaranteed to be more successful. Digitizing your strategy doesn't necessarily mean changing your organization's story, just the way you execute it. Successful digital strategies will evolve to serve customers as they find new, more advanced ways to solve problems that were previously unattainable. All of these tips for digitizing your strategy stem from the idea that your approach should change with (not against) the digital environment. For a deeper understanding of how to transform your strategy, articulate your story, or implement digital practices into your systems, you can read more in my book Marketing, Disruption .