min read
October 21, 2015

5 Tips to Move from a Digital Opportunity to a Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy

Every business needs to make good use of digital opportunities, but finding the right ones can be tough when you don’t know where to look. With these five simple steps, though, identifying digital opportunities can get much easier.

Today’s consumers are constantly connected -- it’s rare that they’re not linked to the digital world in some way, if not downright unheard of. That means that digital represents a nearly constant stream of opportunities for businesses to reach customers.

When it comes to digital opportunities, though, there’s a difference between what your organization "could" do and what it "should" do. Could Coca Cola launch a Twitter campaign to combat internet negativity by turning text into images? Absolutely. Should they have tested the negativity of the internet? Absolutely not.

While the difference between unmissable opportunities and unacceptable risks can be subtle, these five tips can make identifying digital opportunities much easier, and help your business avoid PR nightmares along the way.

Audit and Assess

Before thinking about all that digital can do for your organization, first look within and evaluate what it’s already doing. Taking the time to identify your digital gaps will prevent you from leaving them unfilled when the time comes to actually implement your strategy. These gaps could range from operational and process deficiencies, to not following or employing digital best practices as efficiently as you could be.

Is your company looking to use digital strategies for customer engagement? Or is there a bigger need for digitizing processes internally? Which strategic elements are most lacking -- is it your platforms or features? The answers to those questions will help companies think critically about where their biggest needs are.

For a shipping firm, if warehouse workers are loading docks in the order that shipments arrive, storage space could end up being used inefficiently. A strong digital interface can help identify which materials are best stored where and more effectively utilize warehouse space. On the other hand, a health insurance company might have very strong backend digital tools, but their customer experience might be confusing and frustrating. Implementing a smart digital experience could mean the difference between holding onto great clients and losing them.

Look Around You

It isn't hard to see digital innovation in practice these days. Peer all the way up the digital maturity scale, and you’ll see companies such as Google and Apple setting stellar examples of what digital innovation can offer. Look a little deeper and find examples of companies that have undergone digital transformation internally, including Disney and Allstate Insurance.

In the arts, the saying goes, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” In business, merely copying a more innovative company’s work will only keep your company from falling behind. By seeing the potential of another industry’s digital innovation, though, a firm can pull itself ahead and become the leading innovator of its own sector. A good executive in the mining industry, for example, should ask how driverless trucks in Australian are used in iron ore mines to improve their margins.

Align Digital to Enterprise Objectives Early On

Every company has enterprise objectives or goals, and everything that the company invests its money and time in should theoretically support those enterprise level goals. Digital initiatives and opportunities are no different. Enterprise objectives should be the guideposts for what we want to achieve, and digital opportunities should be the ways that we want to achieve them.

Working top-down by first thinking about enterprise goals ensures that any digital opportunity you think of is in line with what your company would realistically support. If decreasing customer churn is the goal, digital initiatives should form around how best to improve customer experience. Perhaps releasing an app, like Allstate’s GoodRide, could aid in reducing customer turnover.

Prioritize: Quick Wins vs. Long Pulls

Coming up with the list of all the opportunities that are possible with a sound digital strategy is one thing -- figuring out how to act on those opportunities is quite another. Companies need to look at all the opportunities before them and understand both the business value and the complexity involved in implementing each of them. This way, they can identify which opportunities must be seized now and which ones can be started a year or two down the road.

While an entirely new website interface may be needed, a change like this can be a massive undertaking and require a huge investment of both resources and time. Simply tweaking certain landing pages can be a quick win that will ultimately help in the long pull of website overhaul.

Socialize Early and Often

For any company, there will be competing initiatives coming from all over the organization. In order to ensure that your digital opportunities come to life, it's important to find a champion for each of them, ensuring that they are clearly articulated and supported with the research that can convince leadership to bite. A good idea hardly ever takes off on its own -- finding the right stakeholder to put his or her weight behind your idea is key if you want to see it implemented.

Digital innovation and the strategies that support it make for a compelling story, and if told in new and inventive ways, the opportunities will inevitably sell themselves. If you’re trying to convince a CDO, CIO or CMO to take on digital opportunity, stow away the Powerpoint and deliver them a prototype app or clickable microsite for a more impactful story.

Centric Digital