Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Here Are 3 Lessons in Digital Strategy from Top Marketing Leaders

Let’s be clear: developing a full-scale digital strategy can be a massive undertaking. It can be tough to get everyone on board and figure out the best digital strategy tools for your brand, especially if you’re a larger team. Here’s some of the most common missteps that can happen when an organization is trying to change up their digital strategy and what leaders in digital marketing have to say about moving forward with change. Keep these tips in your back pocket for when your organization is thinking about putting marketing dollars into that brand-new tech that probably doesn’t *actually* align with your brand (Google Glass, anyone?)

A Lack of Planning

So, you want to bring your brand into the 21st century. Great! That requires a massive amount of planning. Start by logging all the digital products that you currently have in the works, like corporate social media accounts, Alexa Skills, video production, podcasts, etc. Track the numbers on each of these and create a report that reflects your best performing digital products. Check through your data and see what your consumers are mostly interacting with. Are they mostly on Facebook and an older audience? Try SMS messaging, which normally sees a 98 percent open rate! Do you have a mostly younger audience on Twitter, that loves to watch videos? Creating a new YouTube channel where you create long-form video content that’s helpful and relevant to your buyers may be the perfect fit for a younger audience.

And remember, just because the newest, hottest technology is getting all the headlines, consumer adoption is much slower than we believe. In 2013, only 17 percent of Americans had ever listened to a podcast, as compared to today’s number of 51 percent having listened to at least one podcast episode. It took consumers more than SIX years to see value from podcasting. Plan, research, and focus on educating and inspiring your consumers. And you don’t have to just take it from us. Take it from Rob Martens, IoT Futurist at Allegion, who wrapped up this point perfectly: Don’t be smitten with technology for technology’s sake. It is just a tool. And what’s important is how you implement the tool.”

Calm down that excitement and step back from chasing that shiny new tech, before figuring out if it’s aligned with your vision and your customers and how you could use it to hit business goals. 

Internal Hesitation 

When making major changes, siloed transformation can always happen within organizations. Blocked off team members or business groups can slow down a digital strategy shift and leads to other major issues: a lack of buy-in from other departments, not casting a wide enough information net when discussing what changes will be made and why, as well as projects getting stuck in the pipeline. To combat internal resistance and prevent siloing during a strategy update, prepare yourself with an internal brand campaign based around your ideas on what the digital transformation looks like and explicitly state what you require from others. Lilian Tomovich, Head of Marketing and Customer Experience had some great thoughts on how she did this. She said, 

“I wanted to make sure that we didn’t just launch this sexy, cool purpose-driven brand campaign. That I want to make sure  that all 83,000 employees really understood their role in delivering this brand promise. So, we set about building the brand and aligning the brand with the culture. My Chief Human Resources Officer actually became my closest ally in this journey. We literally redid every aspect of our business to align with the brand, everything from recruiting to how we trained people to how we communicated with them.”

Make your purpose clear to the rest of your team and be transparent and upfront about changes that need to happen. In this survey, 86 percent of employees said that project failure was due to lack of collaboration— work with others to ensure that your team’s business goals are met.

Outside of the Box Thinking

It’s easy to do things the way they’ve always been done. Thinking differently about business systems, on the other hand, takes a little (okay, a lot) more effort and plenty of organization. Dan Laughlin, Senior Director of User Experience at IBM, shared that his team was able to mitigate an issue where their teams weren’t aligned on new client UX requests by bringing IT into customer meetings. With the IT teams present, design and development were able to work together on issues with the consumer’s experience that may have taken months to resolve, if it was backlogged into an IT support ticket system. This advice shows that it pays off to not be afraid to step outside of the box with your digital strategy shift.    

Take it from these pros— digital strategy transformation can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but it pays off when your consumers are connecting with your brand through innovative technology. And let us know if you’ll be using these tips to get your team started with a digital shift!