Whether you have formalized a digital strategy or not, I believe every company has a strategy. In today’s business world, most businesses use technology to engage with customers. To a greater or lessor extend. How you approach using digital in your business is your strategy, even if it is a poor one.
Digital is not just the prevue of businesses that have core business online, though those are the ones that come to mind when we think of a digital strategy. Retail. Banking. The gig economy apps.
As well, my non-technical hairdresser sends me a text message to remind me of my appointment. The local funeral parlour has an online memorial page service. Even my doctor’s office has a way for me to book appointments online and send me things like lab work requisition. None of these would be considered digital businesses, yet they use digital tools.
There are several symptoms that might highlight your digital strategy needs improvement. If you notice any of these, they indicate you need to take a deeper look at your approach.
Your digital strategy lacks clear direction and stated objectives
Out digital efforts lack of a clear direction or focus. If a company hasn’t set out what it wants to achieve by its digital initiatives, then it can seem rudderless. And make ad hoc or random changes. Setting objectives for the use of digital, can help us create a clear roadmap of initiatives to achieve them.
Objectives might be things such as customer experience goals, revenue targets, and operational efficiencies so name a few. Businesses sometimes either lack definite targets, or they are trying to do too many things. And don’t have a clear alignment on how planned initiatives for change can help them to achieve them.
Poor performance of your efforts on digital channels
A similar or different take on this, is when the company has clear objectives of what it wants to achieve as business goals, but they are not seeing the desired results form the digital channels they are using.
They might be experiencing little or no traffic to a website or have low conversion rates. Email campaigns may be missing targets. Or they have low engagement on social media.
Aligning the digital strategy to the business goals that you want to achieve, can help to use these channels in a more effective way. Efforts can be optimized and aligned to what the business wants to do.
Difficulty keeping up with the pace of change
If a business is struggling to keep up with the pace of digital change, and unable to adapt to new technologies and trends may signal a weakness in their strategy to execute change.
Often the need to change comes from external sources such as customers or competitors. When a business has an understood framework to evaluate, prioritize and execute on digital changes, then it is easier to respond when it arises.
Otherwise, the company can make reactive changes, sometimes resulting in waste of effort and resources. Instead a strong strategy fosters proactively make measured and deliberate moves that support the business.
Your digital strategy consists of disjointed or siloed efforts
If a company’s digital efforts are disconnected or isolated from each other, it may be a sign that a digital strategy is needed to help integrate and align its digital initiatives and ensure that they are working towards a common goal.
Without a strong strategy, different teams or business lines could use different tools. Or tools are implemented without consideration of how they fit together. Making for a patchwork level of quality and performance.
These signals can be present no matter what the digital maturity of the company.
A company’s digital maturity can be anywhere on a range from very simplistic to native. Like many a continuum, finding your sweet spot on it can be influenced by a myriad of business factors.
Customer wants and needs. Competitor actions. Technology changes. Potential impacts on costs and revenues. Return on digital investment.
A strong digital strategy isn’t just about moving ourselves along the digital maturity continuum. Though that can be a beneficial side effect.
A strong digital strategy enables the business to find that sweet spot where business objectives align with the initiatives that support achieving them. No matter what those objectives are.