Just in case you didn’t get the memo (because we were still sending “memos” when this was news) there’s a digital revolution going on. “Pathetic!” You are thinking. “Everyone knows about digital”, but you’d be wrong, or so it seems, because I meet businesses every day that just don’t seem to get it! I might even mean you, because there are a load of folks out there who talk a lot about digitisation, but still don’t really understand what it means.

So, just for the record, digital is changing everything. Yes, I mean EVERYTHING and if that’s news to you then there’s a good chance you’ll be one of the 70% of businesses that fold in the next very few years. That’s because those that will survive have already moved a long way down Transformation Road and most of those starting out now will fold trying to catch up.

At the current rate of change two billion new customers will have entered the world market in the period between 2010 and 2020. Good news? Yes, but only if yours is a business built on a digital model because pretty well all of these new customers will only be accessible to digital businesses. Now do I have your attention?

So, what are you doing about it? Is there anything you CAN do at this late stage? Well my mother used to say it’s never too late to change, so while you strap your skates on, listen up, because these are the first six questions you need to ask yourself to get an idea of where you stand.

1: Are you thinking Digital?

By this I mean do you come up with initiatives and then ask what role digital can play in this? If so the answer to question one has to be “No”. If you are digitally aligned your thinking will be driven by digital and you’ll be asking how you interpret this in a physical situation.

2: Is your organisation centred on a database?

A digital business is built on a database where everything about your product (Not just images, features and benefits, I mean everything, including customer feedback and third-party reviews) is kept and all your functions feed from.

3: Do you have a process in place to maintain this?

A database that isn’t up to date is a bit like a computer without software. There will be loads of processes involved in maintaining your database including those recording product and inventory changes, copy for ads and listings and product photography management. How are you going to keep all this up to date?

4: Are you listening to your customers?

People talk about your company, your brand and your products all day every day and if you are not in the loop you can bet you last pay cheque that your competitors are, so you’ll be left behind when they respond to your customers’ needs and entice them all way. You should be monitoring social media and engaging people on the forums where they are talking about you.

5: Are you truly omni-channel or just multi-channel?

Can people enter your business from any number of doors, physical and digital and have the same experience? Will their previous visits be taken into account and referenced when they arrive subsequently through a different door? Are you tailoring their experience based on their actions?

6: Are your employees in the loop?

Are your employees all involved in your intranet? Are you using digital as part of your internal marketing to constantly updating their understanding of your brand and making them aware of the changes they need to make in the way they do things in order to contribute fully to the delivery of your brand promise?

First published on LinkedIn July 2015

Phil Darby
August 2, 2018

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