Jan 7, 2014

bwired Digital Strategy for 2014

It’s that time of the year again, for over 7 years we have been casting a view over the New Year to see what awaits us as digital professionals. 2013 saw considerable growth in devices, new social media platforms and lots of new buzz words for marketers to digest.

This year we have made some changes, Instead of looking at 2014 from a single view, we have divided them into three areas.

Digital strategy for Business – Focus on the business changes Digital is driving

Digital strategy for Engagement – Focus on the customer

Finally Digital strategy for Systems – Looks at the changing system landscape

bwired Digital Strategy for Business 

2014 promises to continue at the same manic pace, the key from our experience is not to jump on everything new as in most cases they come as quickly as they vanish. Below we have considered some of the predictions we feel will impact our customers.

1.      Authenticity the Key - It seems that we now live in a world where finding out anything you wish about another person or company is just a click away. Review sites as an example having harnessed the power of the customer to provide insights into businesses. No longer can you hide behind the walls of your organisation and produce content to “tell the world” who you are.

Our View: Being Authentic in 2014 requires you, your staff, your suppliers and your customers to be advocates of your business. Staying true to your vision and delivering that vision every day will distinguish great companies. Standout companies maintain their authenticity across all aspects of their business.

In practice, we have developed our vision and values and live them in our everyday work. We use traction for our planning and strategy development.

2.      Collaboration and sharing - Collaboration tools have been around for a number of years. It still surprises me how few companies take advantages of collaboration given the changes in the workforce and globalisation.

Our View: In 2014 companies will find better ways to work together, learn from each other and share knowhow. Intranets will move from being content stores to being tools for organisational knowhow. Collaboration tools will play a key part of changing the way we work and share information.

In Practice: bwired delivers its projects in a collaborative manner, sharing information between developers, clients and suppliers. Our projects ecosystem supports interaction, feedback and learning. Many of our ideas come from our community. 

3.      Digital ecosystem - When we think about how the digital world has evolved in just the last five years, it’s impossible to now look at your digital platform as a single asset. Today’s digital world has many moving parts, each contributing in some way to the business strategy. These parts include devices, channels, communities, segments, authorities and websites to name a few. Investment in digital becomes increasingly difficult without an ecosystem to help drive ROI.

Our View:  Developing and understanding your Digital ecosystem will be the basis of all Digital activities. The ecosystem will need to work synergistically with each of the parts to drive the results you’re looking to achieve. The Ecosystem will need to capture meaningful data, allow you to make meaningful decisions that drive your strategy.

In practice: Developing a Digital Ecosystem requires the planning to make sure all the parts have been considered. Once created it is refinement based on real-time data. As a simple example, a typical EDM campaign now can be personalised, the message testing in real-time for effectiveness, the EDM is  tested across all the devices, will have linkages to social channels that can then drive traffic to an outcome at a website. 

Digital strategy for Engagement

4. Single view of the customer finally a reality, Immergence of the CXO -  For well over 20 years I have heard the notion of the single view of the customer. Banks were in the forefront developing risk profiles of their customers and predictive models based on your life stage. Such systems have historically very difficult to maintain because of all the various information stores required to deliver a true single view of your customer.

Prediction: Chief experience office (CXO) will emerge as a hybrid of CIO and CMO. Delivering a 1 to 1 customer experience will require focus across many parts of a business. Tools will allow business to create tailored experiences for customers.

In Practice: We see that companies continue to have conflict between IT, Marketing and the Business. Offshore divisions drive the agenda at a global level, failing to consider the local customer needs.

5. Content is still king - Google's Hummingbird changes are only the start of the search changes coming in 2014. Producing content that interests your target market has always been an imperative. Marketers today have to consider the readers and what they want, delivering content for search ranking alone will result in failure. This doesn’t mean that producing masses of content is the answer.

Our View: Delivering quality content through the right channels will generate search traffic from the target community and improved search rankings.

In practice: Recent customer campaign for Dennis family homes created integrated TV, Radio, Press and Social that was supported with a campaign site allowing customers to experience their dream home. The outcome for the client was targeted leads for their sales team.

6. Social media the channel rather than the destination - Many people place a lot of emphasis on Social media, I find myself at odds with this strategy, how many time do you find yourself wondering “why do I care” when people post images of their food or personal activities. I understand value that Social media platforms offer for great sources of targeted communities. Engaging with social media communities requires a value exchange. If you offer little value then you can expect a limited return from social media.

Prediction: Companies will continue to develop communities on social media platforms.  A shift to value exchange will occur on owned assets. Social platforms will be a channel for communities and form part of a holistic ecosystem.

In practice: We have many case studies of clients developing communities on social media platforms, those that have succeeded have clear strategies, offer their community engaging information and push to drive value exchange on owned assets.

7. Harnessing analytics for decision making - Last year saw an explosion of analytics providers all working on ways to turn increasing amounts of data into actionable information. Re-targeting systems use the data to provide in context advertising.

Prediction: Expect better ways to understand your customer. Big data as a buzz word will finally deliver insights for companies to learn. 

In practice: Companies like call dynamics and Hubspot today are offering many different ways to understand the visitor and their behaviour. Offering tools to help with decisions and to manage clients more effectively.

8. Multi-channel strategies – One of the biggest learnings for us in 2013 was the development of our own process to deliver value for digital campaigns. Quarterly campaigns are a thing of the past. Developing agile strategies that are refined as the analytics is understood seems the way of the future.

Prediction: Companies will develop multiple Campaigns that are short sharp, delivered across a number of channels with predetermined analytics to help in the decision making.

In practice: We have found that a level of trust and learning is required to understand the business to ensure you can provide insights and be able to be flexible with the recommendations.

Digital strategy for Systems

9. Internet of things evolves - Watches and eyewear were the thing of 2013, the New Year will bring a host of new devices all connecting and sharing all types of information. Although there are many benefits to be able to seamlessly connect to personal information the privacy and security people I’m sure are watching.

Our View: We find new ways to capture lots of personal information we never considered in the past. Privacy advocates will surely want to find ways to “unplug”.

In practice: Although many of us have invested in the new wave of fitness devices and have seen the impacts of products like “google glass”, we are only at the start of this revolution. 2014 will be the year for new things.

10. Integration of disparate systems - Many customers we find have multiple systems to drive their digital ecosystem. Information is hard to find, administration is cumbersome. Standardising and consolidating systems deliver productivity benefits and a clearer site to the customer.

Prediction: Companies will find ways to consolidate their online systems to deliver productivity gains and improved visibility.

In practice: At bwired we have managed to develop a range of Ecosystems, customers like Rubicor have managed to consolidate over 30 disparate systems into a single platform that not only delivers their digital strategy but helps improve productivity for the 20+ businesses.

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