06 May 2016

4 things that will get in the way of your digital strategy

Tags:Strategy, Digital

It is now commonly accepted that a digital-first, customer-centric strategy is essential to providing an excellent customer experience. However, in our recent Forrester Report, ‘Leading Digital Business Transformation’ (Apr-16), only 11% of companies regarded their digital strategy as excellent – for the other 89% something is clearly getting in the way.

Using data we have recently collected from a range of Marketers, we have identified some key blockers to forming and executing a great digital strategy.

1. Lack of Leadership & Communication

In our report with B2B Marketing, ‘Who owns the customer journey?’ (Apr-16), lack of leadership was identified as the biggest barrier to improving the customer experience. Even more shockingly, 41% reported that driving customer experience involves a constant battle with the c-suite!

Unless those high up prioritise and take charge of driving digital change – and in doing so communicate this effectively throughout the organisation – a strategy will eventually lose momentum. In short, the c-suite should be doing everything to establish a digital-first culture, rather than being the ones fighting it.

2. Not Understanding the 'Why'

When forming a digital-strategy, it is easy to fall into the trap of prioritising immediate business concerns over what should matter the most: the customer.

According to our Forrester report, the drivers for change in less mature businesses are profit as opposed to customer experience. Following this pattern will result in a strategy that aims to benefit the internal business as opposed to the customer – and there is nothing customer-centric about that.

If a clear vision is not established from the get-go, any subsequent investments will be misinformed. Only 35% of marketers report their tech investments being made strategically, this attitude being typical of organisations that view technology as the ultimate solution as opposed to the catalyst for change. Purchasing an expensive piece of technology without a clear view as to how exactly this will benefit the customer experience is a sure-fire way to stop your strategy in its tracks. In short, technology is only as good as the organisation and people using it.

3. Un-integrated Systems

This will mean different things for different organisations, but providing a seamless customer experience should be a priority for any digital strategy. Without the relevant technology, this seamless experience is simply not possible and as identified in ‘The State of Marketing Technology 2016’ survey (Mar-16), technology can only work seamlessly when integrated with the whole. With 81% of respondents rating their integration as basic or worse; this is clearly a struggle for many organisations.

Integrating your systems means integrating the various customer touch-points. If a sales rep is on top of importing and updating data in the CRM then that’s great, but if this does not feed into any other technology, then a fully personalised experience is not possible and their efforts are ultimately wasted.

4. Budget

Budget is a problem that every organisation can identify with. In our joint report with B2B Marketing, just under half of the CMOs reported needing to provide a clear ROI in order to acquire any budget, but without fully integrated systems, the insights are not always readily available to provide this.

If a digital-first culture is not pioneered by the c-suite, then investments required for an effective digital strategy will ultimately be pushed back.

It starts and ends with the customer (or at least it should)

Viewing these problems as unconnected is a problem in itself, with them all boiling down to the same thing: not putting the customer first. If the customer is not at the very centre of your organisation, let alone your digital strategy, then the journey to being digital-first will be rocky one.

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