In an effort to define what digital maturity is, we will primarily look at the concept through the lens of a client marketing organization structure and culture. Although many of the points made in the post will also apply to a service based agency environment. As you’ll note in this post, there are a few high level themes that help to define digital maturity from the perspective of what not to do.
Not Category Complacency
In order to evaluate our clients’ competitive advantage in the digital space, it is assumed we explore how their direct category competitors are presenting themselves online and in native applications. The challenge with this approach is that your customers are exposed to a variety of digital experiences on the web and in mobile that are more often than not outside the category you compete in. The result of ALL your customer’s web experiences is that they now have developed a broader, deeper and in more and more cases, a higher expectation of performance, service and value of your digital offering.
Others Doing It Well
Look beyond your category to evaluate the level of digital maturity you need to match against your key customers (personas) in the context of their everyday digital life experiences. Learn best practices for specific user experiences that other business simply do better than you (i.e. Netflix’s account management tool, Amazon’s one click checkout, Uber’s tracking and digital payment system).
Not Because You Can
In the digital space, platforms, tools and systems are newly developed on what seems a daily basis. There’s an app for everything on every platform. And every client marketing organization desires a presence across all major (and sometimes obscure) social media platforms. Just because we can build it, or buy it, does not require us to use it. Advanced organizations understand that strategically choosing the right platforms and systems that match up against your customer/user needs and the business objectives at hand is a more effective approach. Being a digitally mature organization means using data to help guide certain decisions – specifically, using web analytics to understand audience behavior across the platforms under consideration and avoid risky marketing and customer development investments.
Resource The Right Staff
Whether working with an external digital agency partner (and why wouldn’t you), or developing projects solely in-house, it’s critical to have the right resource level and talent mix. As with almost all digital platforms and experiences, not planning beyond launch is a major oversight. What you plan, design and build will live organically along with all the other business units throughout the organization’s lifespan. Long gone are the days of assigning a “webmaster” to manage the company website. We’re also well beyond hiring that 20-something “social media guru/ninja” to manage your organization’s numerous social media platforms – getting this right is a company wide, collective effort, starting with the C-Suite.
The Digital Collective
It’s time to think about an integrated team-based approach to digital within your organization. Although you may still have one person who provides oversight to all of the digital touch points within the organization (i.e. Chief Digital Officer), the cross department support staff play an important role ensuring that digital isn’t simply a department, but rather an embedded business improvement philosophy and practice across the organization. Digital is no longer just a marketing or IT concern. Smart organizations are building digital into all aspects of their business and that takes buy in from all departments.
Open The Digital Kimono
While we’re on the topic of choosing the right digital staffing approach for your organization, it’s also important to openly interact with your digital agency vendors as partners. We’re in the business of seeking opportunities and solving problems on your behalf – and smart ideas often don’t fall out of a project brief defining a known business challenge or opportunity. Encourage your agency partner to think beyond the project ahead. The best agencies are keen to gain a broad understanding of your business, so that they’re better able provide insight and strategic counsel in how digital may play a role in improving the customer experience, drive unseen revenues or simply create operational efficiencies. This is Post 2 of 6 in our Digital Maturity series, as we look to provide insight into an organization's ability to leverage digital to drive business strategy. If your company is beginning to explore the digital roadmap ahead, reach out to us to see how we can help.