Written by Opeseyi Joel - Nigeria
|The Wired World: A graphic representation of the Internet|
In today's ever varying marketplace, one wonders: How do we manage oneself in the digital age? Most businesses believe that they have a digital presence but it is not sufficient for them to just have a website and a few social channels. To have an overall digital marketing presence, one must stand against the competition, and more significantly, drive more clientele to their business.
The first place to initiate is to think about what is already in the digital domain about you, review it and then take manage of how your 'brand' is being accessible to anybody (a prospect or present manager, potential client or even member of the press) who may wish to give you an opportunity.
Would they want to know more about you or form an instant judgement of your 'brand' based on images, remarks, you make on social media pages for example?
The preponderance of digital and media sense business people do have some component of social media existence. They manage perceptions and their individual and business brand image by putting their best genuine selves on the noticeable digital shelf. They almost always have deliberately thought about how they exhibit their personality.They do so by unscrambling their business social media from personal.
Through the supremacy of the Internet, companies are now capable to tap into a networked financial system where they can connect with a multiplicity of businesses, clientele, technology and a distribution system of information that supersedes the antiquated ways of oldmedia. The World Wide Web and Internet have revolutionized what a corporation must do to be successful in the digital age, but managing begins by understanding what it takes to adapt to the changing landscape of the market and which technologies are needed to help businesses evolve.
Understanding increased hacking With today's market, businesses need to tap into discovering new,creative ways to grow their digital presence. Increased hacking requires the ability to be analytical and drive results based on media, customer engagement and data.
However, one must also be able to think outside of the box and create strategies that no one has thought of before. Once this balance is reached, through trial and error,businesses will be able to reach more clientele through more engaged efforts to construct social traction and online exposure. Though this is a case-by-case basis, through research, analytics and creativity, a business can even potentially catch a wave of viral marketing by trying out dissimilar policies that put across the significance of their goods, products, or services that wow their clientele so they want to share the experience with their connections.
Discovery through relevancy
As multimedia has become saturated with advertisements, information gets lost in the shuffle as customers are bombarded with material that they do not relate to. Businesses need to realize that instead of pushing irrelevant information into the face of consumers, they need to target their audience and create content that brings them value. By Creating a strategy built around the interest of their targeted audience, businesses open up the opportunity for wider content distribution. The more valuable the content, the more likely readers will share with their networks which in turn brings in more traction and traffic.
Data covers many unique and valuable touch points of the Internet,from telling a business how well their social media posts are doing to giving information on a company's online conversation. Through Meaningful analytics, businesses learn what they need to do to improve their online visibility and drive traffic towards their brand -whether it's adding more media or simply engaging with their customers on Twitter and Facebook. These insights allow companies to measure their web metrics and discover data trends that will eventually predict online behavior.
The Internet is a blank canvas with endless possibilities for businesses to not only grow, but to also succeed online. Through more targeted marketing, growth hacking, and real-time analytics, companies are able to learn more about their customers to build more meaningful connections that foster brand loyalty and retention. So having a digital presence means more than just maintaining your website, it's about Internet optimization and customer engagement strategies driven by data. To succeed in the digital economy of the 21st century businesses must understand how and why they need to utilize all the tools available online to capture online traffic and grow their business.
Social media is just another tool that you can use to authentically build and project your Personal Brand. It is a conduit to share your vigor with others who can link you to opportunities, and even be your best business 'paparazzi' if you think of it that way. Wouldn't you rather manage your own placement and identity in the digital space?
Are there any comments, opinions or images on the social media space relating to you, that present your weaknesses rather than your strengths?
Start by making a mental shift around how you view social media. It is a tool, like any other, to connect you to the people and things that can help bring you closer to a specific business goal. By having a strategy, then focusing on how to package your strengths, go ahead and share in these communities what opportunities you wish for, you will be truly surprised at the offers of assistance you receive.
Positioning oneself and your 'brand' of skill, expertise or gift must be approached in the most selective of social media forums. Whetherit's about promoting yourself (leave that to Facebook, aboutme.com) or sharing business topics and making connections (LinkedIn) or simply building a support and personal 'library' (Twitter) build your brand in the right social media. Just ensure you separate your social media into 'personal' and 'business must as you would in your office.
When we talk about business credibility, it's usual for someone to start with a quick search on the Internet to review 'you, from this they will inevitably form a judgement before they likely have met you face to face. Consciously make an effort in your social media channels to benchmark yourself at the 'top' of your digital wish list.
Manage perceptions of your business brand. Put your best CV to the test and start thinking like the best publicist for your own authentic brand.
Managing the strategic challenges: Big decisions Rethinking strategy in the face of these forces involves difficult decisions and tradeoffs.
Decision 1: Lead your customers or follow them?
Incumbents too have opportunities for launching disruptive strategies. One European Real-estate brokerage group, with a large, exclusively controlled share of the listings market, decided to act before digital rivals moved into its space. It set up a web-based platform open to all brokers (many of them competitors) and has now become the leading national marketplace, with a growing share. In other situations, the right decision may be to forego digital moves-particularly in industries with high barriers to entry, regulatory complexities, and patents that protect profit streams. Between these extremes lies the all-too-common reality that digital efforts risk cannibalizing products and services and could erode margins. Yet inaction is equally risky.
In-house data on existing buyers can help incumbents with large customer bases develop insights (for example, in pricing and channel management) that are keener than those of small attackers. Brand Advantages too can help traditional players outflank digital newbies.
Decision 2: Cooperate or compete with new attackers?
A large incumbent in an industry that's undergoing digital disruption can feel like a whale attacked by piranhas. While in the past, there may have been one or two new entrants entering your space, there maybe dozens now-each causing pain, with none individually fatal. PayPal,for example, is taking slices of payment businesses, and Amazon is eating into small-business lending. Companies can neutralize attacks by rapidly building copycat propositions or even acquiring attackers.
However, it's not feasible to defend all fronts simultaneously, so cooperation with some attackers can make more sense than competing.Santander, for instance, recently went into partnership with start-up Funding Circle. The bank recognized that a segment of its customers wanted access to peer-to-peer lending and in effect acknowledged that it would be costly to build a world- class offering from scratch.
A group of UK banks formed a consortium to build a mobile-payment utility (Paym) to defend against technology companies entering their markets. British high-end grocer Waitrose collaborated with start-up Ocado to establish a digital channel and home distribution before eventually creating its own digital offering.
Digital technologies themselves are opening pathways to collaborative forms of innovation. Capital One launched Capital One Labs, opening its software interfaces to multiple third parties, which can defend a range of spaces along their value chains by accessing Capital One's Risk- and credit-assessment capabilities without expending their own capital.
Decision 3: Diversify or double down on digital initiatives?
As digital opportunities and challenges proliferate, deciding where to place new bets is a growing headache for leaders. Diversification Reduces risks so many companies are tempted to let a thousand flowers bloom. But often these small initiatives, however innovative, don't get enough funding to endure or are easily replicated by competitors.
One answer is to think like a private-equity fund, seeding multiple initiatives but being disciplined enough to kill off those that don't quickly gain momentum and to bankroll those with genuinely disruptive potential. Since 2010, Merck's Global Health Innovation Fund, with$500 million under management, has invested in more than 20 startups with positions in health informatics, personalized medicine, and other areas-and it continues to search for new prospects. Other companies,such as BMW and Deutsche Telekom, have set up units to finance digital start-ups.
The alternative is to double down in one area, which may be the right strategy in industries with massive value at stake. European bank refocused its digital investments on 12 customer decision journeys, such as buying a house, that account for less than 5 percent of its processes but nearly half of its cost base. A leading global pharmaceutical company has made significant investments in digital initiatives, pooling data with health insurers to improve rates of adherence to drug regimes. It is also using data to identify the right patients for clinical trials and thus to develop drugs more quickly, while investing in programs that encourage patients to use monitors and wearable devices to track treatment outcomes. Nordstrom Has invested heavily to give its customers multi channel experiences.
It focused initially on developing first-class shipping and inventory-management facilities and then extended its investments to mobile-shopping apps, kiosks, and capabilities for managing customer relationships across channels.
Decision 4: Keep digital businesses separate or integrate them with current non-digital ones
Integrating digital operations directly into physical businesses can create additional value-for example, by providing multichannel capabilities for customers or by helping companies shared infrastructure, such as supply-chain networks. However, it can be hard to attract and retain digital talent in a traditional culture, and turf wars between the leaders of the digital and the main business are commonplace.
Moreover, different businesses may have clashing views on, say, how to design and implement a multichannel strategy. One Global bank addressed such tensions by creating a group wide center of excellence populated by digital specialists who advise business units and help them build tools. The digital teams will be integrated with the units eventually, but not until the teams reach critical mass and notch a number of successes.
The UK department-store chain John Lewis bought additional digital capabilities with its acquisition of the UK division of Buy.com, in 2001, ultimately combining it with the core business. Wal-Mart Stores Established its digital business away from corporate headquarters to allow a new culture and new skills to grow. Hybrid approaches involving both stand-alone and well-integrated digital organizations are possible, of course, for companies with diverse business portfolios.
Decision 5: Delegate or own the digital agenda?
Advancing the digital agenda takes lots of senior-management time and attention. Customer behavior and competitive situations are evolving quickly, and an effective digital strategy calls for extensive cross-functional orchestration that may require CEO involvement. One Global company, for example, attempted to digitize its processes to compete with a new entrant. The R&D function responsible for product design had little knowledge of how to create offerings that could be distributed effectively over digital channels. Meanwhile, a business unit under pricing pressure was leaning heavily on functional specialists for an outsize investment to redesign the back office.
Eventually, the CEO stepped in and ordered a new approach, which organized the digitization effort around the decision journeys of clients. Faced with the need to sort through functional and regional issues related to digitization, some companies are creating a new role: chief digital officer (or the equivalent), a common way to introduce outside talent with a digital mind-set to provide a focus for the digital agenda. Walgreens, a well- performing US pharmacy and retail chain, hired its president of digital and chief marketing officer (who reports directly to the CEO) from a top technology company six years ago. Her efforts have included leading the acquisition of drugstore.com, which still operates as a pure play. Theacquisition upped Walgreens' skill set, and drugstore.com increasinglyshares its digital infrastructure with the company's existing site:walgreens.com. Relying on chief digital officers to drive the digital agenda carries some risk of balkanization. Some of them, lacking a CEO's strategic breadth and depth, may sacrifice the big picture for a narrower focus-say, on marketing or social media. Others may serve as divisional heads, taking full P&L responsibility for businesses that have embarked on robust digital strategies but lacking the influence or authority to get support for execution from the functional units.
Alternatively, CEOs can choose to "own" and direct the digital agenda personally, top down. That may be necessary if digitization is atop-three agenda item for a company or group, if digital businesses need substantial resources from the organization as a whole, or in pursuing new digital priorities requires navigating political minefields in business units or functions. Regardless of the organizational or leadership model a CEO and board choose, It's Important to keep in mind that digitization is a moving target. The Emergent nature of digital forces means that harnessing them is a journey, not a destination-a relentless leadership experience and a rare opportunity to reposition companies for a new era of competition and growth.