Why Digital is not a Strategy

Hopefully I don’t offend or ostracize too many people with this one, but here goes…

  1. Digital is a channel – a way of getting your goods or services in the hands of your consumers, but it’s role is to support your business in achieving its marketing, customer and service strategies, not the other way around.
  2. The only constant is change – without a clear understanding of the value you provide to your customers i.e why they buy from you – your investment in digital will probably be too little too late too lacklustre. Once you’ve decided on a technology or technique to try, something new would have come along.
  3. What exactly is “digital”? “We have to go digital”, “You have to go digital”, are we talking about online advertising, online service, online sales? Refer to point #2.
  4. If you only have a nail, the solution is always a hammer.

I was asked to create a digital strategy by the executive team of a B2B services company.

Instead of randomly applying digital technology to the different parts of the business;

  • “Let’s try chatbots”
  • “Let’s build a self-service website”
  • “Let’s sell online”
  • “Let’s run a digital campaign”
  • “Marketing automation sounds like a great idea”

we used existing data from around the business, and qualitative and quantitative data from customers to understand exactly what type of experience customers wanted from the company.

We could then map out the road to delivering on the ultimate customer experience, which included measurable, meaningful quick wins and key technology investments.

We uncovered several quick wins we wouldn’t considered without looking at this through the customer lens first.

The critical one was a need for end user education.

We found that our key contacts were frustrated with the number of times they were having to become involved in ticket processing on behalf of their end users.

We found the cause of this to be end user education and awareness of the services we provided.

Employee turn over at long standing client sites meant that new starters didn’t know how to use the service, and in some cases, didn’t even know that the services existed to be used.

This meant that instead of following the process to get help, they would short circuit the system, and shoulder tap the key site contact, leading to their frustration with needing to be involved in BAU.

In response to these findings, we designed an end user education program that included digital delivery of communications, but also included an actual human being member of our staff regularly traveling to each of the top customer sites, to provide a face to our company and a helping hand to train new, or refresh the memories of old, staff members.

The measurable benefits of this included more satisfied end users (measured through NPS), and in turn better relationships with the business key contact – who were now able to focus on higher value work.

Happy business decision makers increased client retention, and helped drive new business referrals (and we all know that this is the main driver of new business in B2B services).

So what does your customers really want from you?

Find this out and you’ll be on the road to formulating a business strategy supported by digital (among other things).