We often work with clients that have varying degrees and varieties of a “digital strategy:” something that sort of sets the direction on what, why, and how they are becoming or improving their digital footprint. Sometimes it’s just an idea in someone’s head. Other times it’s the product of painstaking research and planning that thought of everything (or, at least, everything that they thought was everything.)
Obviously, our work fits into a digital strategy – regardless of what form it’s taken – so we like to understand it to make sure we’re on the same page. Do you have a digital strategy? What’s in it? Where does it fit into the rest of the business? How is it going? If a train left Peoria and headed west at 50 miles per hour… We’re exploring and listening to see where our clients can improve and where we can help. We love a good digital strategy, but we love a great strategy even more!
Sometimes these meetings are quick. Sometimes it’s a just a phone call or maybe an elevator ride. If we were left with only three questions – just three areas of a digital strategy that we really want to know about – what would we look for?
1. Are You Using Data-driven Insights?
As you build and evolve your strategy, you need to understand your customer and their unique needs and desires. Customer insights are vital to a strong strategy, and great companies apply that knowledge strategically – and routinely – to a very deliberate design approach.
By gathering customer insights through both qualitative research and quantitative data, you can understand your needs and establish goals as a means of creating new and better experiences. It is critical to talk with your most valued customers to understand their expectations and how you measure up today. But science also tells us that what people do speaks much more loudly than what they say, and data-driven insight are vital to putting the puzzle together. Sales data, search terms, mobile behavior, buying patterns, and other sources of data intelligence accomplish this for strategists.
Journey mapping is a fairly mature research tool, but despite the fact that mapping is a proven best practice, many companies are missing a huge opportunity to improve CX by completing this work. In a recent study, only 54% of survey respondents confirmed that they have completely mapped out or are in the process of mapping out the customer journey, within the last year.
2. Is Your Organization Aligned?
To execute a successful strategy, the entire business – from vendors and partners, to manufacturing, supply chain, and customer service – must be aligned around providing an exceptional customer experience. This means the CEO through front-line employees, are united as one under this shared goal, to imagine and enact the vision.
In our CX IQ benchmarking studies, we find alignment to be a critical success factor in successful digital strategies. To make it work, there must be consensus on:
- A customer-first mentality
- The intentions of the brand
- Providing and enabling the experience and interactions along the journey
- Delivering consistent, frictionless service
- Meeting internal customer needs
- A shared vision, strategy, and tactics
Your digital strategy can be the playbook and the fight song for the organization.
3. Do You Think Big?
Think big. Start small. Act fast. You may be fighting a corporate culture of five-year plans and large death march projects and big investments. But to be competitive and innovative, you need to be flexible and adaptable.
First, think about the big picture. Have a vision and know your goals. Think about your customers and your competitors. Imagine the future and share it. Then, resist the temptation to solve all of your problems at once. Instead, select a small, manageable goal. Prove out your ideas and live to do it again. Finally, just get started. Fail fast. Test and learn early and continuously. Tie those insights back to what you actually just and get it into the marketplace.
The digital landscape is getting bigger every day, and there is a lot to consider. So much to consider, that you’ll never be able to fit it all into your budget, much less your career. This is why great strategies – not just digital strategies – build on frameworks that help you select which ideas will get you to next level, hold off competition, and entice new customers.
To learn more about how to develop a great digital strategy, download our guide.