Three important elements decision makers get wrong when trying to implement a digital strategy

May 21, 2019

Failing in digital strategy does not always mean failing to take it seriously, there are a few key roadblocks that most businesses come up against:

1  Culture

Many leaders feel that their motivation is enough to steer the ship in favour of digital marketing strategy. However, the reality is that just because a business owner or manager has attended a social media course, doesn't mean that their sales and admin team are going to be jumping for joy at having to embrace social media as part of their job role.

It's common that people fear change and worry that with digital comes a threat of job losses. Unless the team are on board and part of the planning, it's likely these statements will echo throughout the business: 

  • I'm not paid to do that
  • It's not in my job description
  • I don't want a social media account
  • I don't have time
  • I don't understand the benefits

Lack of understanding is the number one killer of company-wide support for digital.

Recently, I worked with a client whose sales team thought that investing in digital meant e-commerce and thus their sales jobs were in jeopardy. I have also been in a room where at the very moment the management team were getting excited and on-board with the thought of running a paid social media campaign, the Managing Director got up and stated: "I'll leave you guys to deal with this social media thingy (their exact words were too harsh for this forum) I don't have the patience for it."

What message does it send when different levels of the business aren't supporting the goals and tactics of the other? For digital efforts to succeed, everyone needs to be on board. It has to be in the culture. This means business leaders not only getting on board themselves but making efforts to educate and elevate others in the business to do the same. 

2  ICT

Whether it is failing to have the e-commerce site integrated with the stock system, or a sales team with a goal to demo a new piece of software to every prospect while not being supplied with an iPad, ICT can be an organisations Achilles Heel.

A few years back I started working with a retailer selling Men and Women's bags. They had a cracking brand, a great product and were competitively priced, but they had appalling reviews and the majority of online enquiries were complaints. It didn't take long to find out why. Of every 10 bags ordered and paid for only 5 were actually delivered! They didn't have enough stock to meet demand, and rather than being up front, they tried to offer alternatives; different styles or colours.

Their challenge was that the shops were all selling the same stock, but there was no communication between online and offline sales.

Small ICT issues can be just as detrimental, such as when a staff member needs to upload/download large files for clients but they have crap broadband speeds. This also applies for staff using portable WiFi devices and also to businesses that introduce working from home to improve motivation and morale but failed to think about homeworkers connectivity speeds.

ICT is the backbone of any good digital strategy, leverage ICT well and your business can thrive, miss links and everything can fall apart.

3  Budget

Nothing is going to be taken seriously within a business if there is no budget allocated toward it. If you don't pay your salespeople, you won't make sales. The same applies to digital. If you don't invest in your digital strategy, it will not work for you.

Often businesses will state that because they aren't investing enough in digital, it's not part of the forecast budget, therefore it tends to get lost by the wayside, or because the business isn't backing it enough, they haven't pushed the case to Head Office for budget approval.

Sadly, this is linked to the lack of understanding around the benefits of digital. Getting businesses to invest the recommended 10 per cent of turnover into marketing is hard enough, let alone to invest in digital. Yet, digital is the one area of marketing that is completely trackable and can deliver serious ROI to the business - something the Finance Director would care about if they were better informed by the business.

Investing in the budget for social media, training and website improvements can go a long way in saving the business money, boosting sales, improving efficiency and boosting brand credibility. Get the culture, ICT and budget right, and you've got the recipe to excel in implementing you're digital strategy.

To learn more about what your business is getting wrong, and how you can make the necessary shifts to get it right, come along to BIO2019, where I am giving a no holds barred talk about what your business needs to succeed in digital.

© Ellard Outloud 2019