Brands that were ahead of the curve reaped the rewards in the last two years. Many executives now recognize the value of digital strategies, but some were unprepared to respond quickly enough, leaving them exposed. Sadly, some organizations still believe they can do it rather than must.
In most industries, digital transformation is a matter of survival. Yes, it’s daunting – it requires data-driven insights and a fearless open-mindedness, but most importantly, top-down buy-in to avoid a siloed digital strategy. Some companies still prefer traditional marketing, but expectations rise and benchmarks shift. Customers will quickly notice if a company’s customer experience strategy (CX) isn’t evolving to meet changing expectations.
In fact, 31% of businesses admit to being slow to adopt digital strategies, which can significantly slow growth. Despite admitting to being slow adopters, 82 percent of executives said it is critical to keep up with market trends. Worse, this rapid shift to digital customer interaction means adoption rates are now approximately four years ahead of where they were previously. For example, implementing next-day delivery in e-commerce or a chatbot in business-to-business doesn’t make you ‘ahead of the curve’ (B2B). Yes, these could have been implemented before 2020, but being ahead of the curve is more about an organization’s attitude and culture.
- Getting started with digital
- Succeeding in digital
- Keeping up with trends
Getting started with digital
This is a daunting task, but now is the time for businesses to refocus their efforts on digital as part of their business strategy. Senior stakeholders need a holistic digital approach that meets their business and customer needs. It’s not just about implementing a digital strategy, but also about how you do it. Many believe it starts with the customer, but there is a crucial step before that – board buy-in.
There must be a business case. This usually starts with understanding current inefficiencies, understanding the market and competition to effectively hold a mirror up and reveal gaps, and evaluating the opportunity cost of not moving forward. In most cases, this means more potential for new customers, increased loyalty, and higher average spend. Even with a compelling business case, it comes down to trusting the product, innovation, operations, and marketing departments to shape the future. Nobody stays ahead of the curve by following the crowd, so there will always be some risk, but this is the classic risk/reward trade-off. Following that, determining how this will benefit the customer, their current pains, and the internal team’s day-to-day challenges is critical.
Succeeding in digital
The culture of experimentation, agility, and consistent analysis of customer motivations must be agreed upon. It’s at the heart of a company’s strategy, aiming to either save money or increase revenue. This improves internal operations, CX, customer-centric thinking, new products and services, and overall digital presence. To stay ahead of the curve, the business strategy must include a digital strategy. Then the entire C-suite embraces it, and the mindset is layered throughout the business. Then the company can enjoy increased revenue, improved internal systems, and a better CX.
Keeping up with trends
There is no one-size-fits-all solution because every organization has unique internal and external factors. In the end, it comes down to being pragmatic and flexible. Obviously, not everything will work, but progress and improvement are key – everything should have a commercial justification, e.g. is this helping drive revenue or save money while improving CX? Predicting the effort vs. return on investment probability is a great way to prioritize. The main point is that there is no ‘roadmap’ because the world moves too fast.