Regardless of the size or scope of your business, certain things are critical for business success. Things like a proven product innovation strategy and stellar customer service are requirements – not options – to out-sprint your competitors. But what about a digital Strategy?
However, because we live in an increasingly technological and disruptive world, I believe that developing and executing a comprehensive digital strategy is immensely important to the future of businesses and organizations. A well-constructed and executed digital strategy can help you find new customers, build your company’s brand equity, gain new market-share, increase your bottom line, etc.
So even though you have many tasks on your plate, we sincerely encourage you to devote time to your company’s digital strategy. It is an investment that is worth your time and energy. If you are here to design your Digital Transformation, read the “Digital Transformation Framework“.
Designing and Executing a Digital Strategy
A digital strategy, if you don’t already know, can be thought of as a plan that is designed to achieve business goals through digital initiatives. While this is perhaps a vague definition, the basic idea is that you are using digital technologies as a tool to accomplish your already-existing business objectives.
One common mistake that business leaders make is that they feel like digital strategy means adopting and incorporating the best, latest technologies into their businesses. They tend to think “we need an app,” for instance, rather than “will an app help us accomplish important goals within our organization?” This can lead to poor capital allocation, misaligned incentives, and discouraged employees, as their enthusiasm toward new initiatives wanes once they fail to see the expected results. By contrast, a well-designed digital strategy seamlessly blends new technologies into the current operations of the business. The technology helps, rather than hinders, all relevant stakeholders and helps the business deliver even more value to customers.
Because of this, it is critical to ask the right questions when designing your digital strategy. You and your colleagues want to think about your competitive position in the industry, your short and long-term goals, and the obstacles that may impede you from reaching those goals. With that baseline, you can start asking which new technologies can help you evade those obstacles and exceed your business objectives.
For instance, you may discover that your business is developing a new product that appeals to the Millennial or Gen Z groups. Because of this, you and your team may decide to explore a new digital marketing initiative that targets digital platforms (like Instagram or Snapchat) where these groups hang out. This is an extremely simple example, but it shows how you can use disruptive technologies – like social networks – to execute a traditional business objective.
When designing your digital strategy, it is also helpful to capitalize on the resources that you already have. Think about the assets you already have – whether they are stellar products, a well-respected brand name, or something else. With those assets, consider how you can use disruptive technologies – like the cloud, artificial intelligence, or the Internet of Things – to make them even better. Once again, the goal isn’t to use those technologies for their own sake. Rather, it is to use these disruptive technologies to accomplish an overarching business goal.
As for executing on the digital strategy, there are several things to keep in mind. First, ensure that you have obtained buy-in from relevant stakeholders. Without this buy-in, your digital strategy will be doomed from the start. Along with obtaining buy-in from your employees, constantly evaluate whether your digital strategy is providing value to customers. If it isn’t, you will need to embrace iteration. Stand in the shoes of your customers and think about how you can alter your digital strategy to best serve them. Finally, mind your budget. Implementing a digital strategy isn’t free, but you want to ensure that the benefits are worth the costs.
Supercharging Your Business
A digital strategy – properly designed and executed – can be an extremely valuable asset in helping you achieve your business goals. Before proceeding, however, make sure that you aren’t implementing a digital strategy just for the sake of implementing a digital strategy. Instead, make sure that you are using disruptive technologies to create even more value for your customers. By keeping these tips in mind and achieving sufficient buy-in from your colleagues, you can design and execute a your strategy that can supercharge your business.