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Is your business ahead of the digital curve?

By Gyles Marshall | Commercial director



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March 21, 2022 | 6 min read

If the past two years have shown us anything, it’s brands that were ahead of the curve reaped the rewards. Many executives are now aware of the benefits that digital strategies will bring to their business, but some were not prepared to react quick enough and were left exposed. Unfortunately, there are still some organizations who believe it’s something they could do, rather than must do. Gyles Marshall, commercial director at Rawnet, suggests some options.

Digital transformation in the majority of industries is a matter of survival. Yes, it’s daunting – it requires data-driven insights and a fearless open-minded approach, but above all, the buy-in from the top down to ensure a ‘digital strategy’ isn’t a siloed venture. Some organizations are still favoring their traditional marketing efforts, but with every year that passes, expectations grow and benchmarks shift. If a company isn’t pivoting their customer experience strategy (CX) as expectations evolve, customers will quickly begin to notice, if they haven’t already.

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Rawnet on how and why businesses can adopt a more holistic approach that favors customers.

Rawnet on how and why businesses can adopt a more holistic approach that favors customers

In fact, it was recently reported that 31% of businesses admitted to being slow when adopting digital strategies, which can significantly hold them back from achieving successful levels of growth. This research also discovered that despite the confessions of being slow adopters, 82% of executives claimed that it is important for them to keep up to date with the latest market trends. What’s even more alarming is this rapid shift to interacting with customers through digital channels means that the rates of adoption are now approximately four years ahead of where they were previously. This demonstrates that being ‘ahead of the curve’ isn’t just adapting quickly and creating an online subscription, implementing next-day delivery in e-commerce or implementing a chatbot in business-to-business (B2B). Yes, it would have been invaluable having these implemented pre-2020, but being ahead of the curve is more about the ongoing attitude and culture of an organization.

Taking the first steps to digital

This is a daunting process, understandably, but now is the time for companies to refocus their efforts to embrace digital as an integral role in their business strategy. In order to drive success, senior stakeholders need a comprehensive, digital approach that works for their business and customer needs. It’s important to note that it’s not just that you implement a digital strategy, it’s how you do it. Many believe that this begins with the customer, and I completely agree that this is the focus once you get going, but there is a fundamental step beforehand that’s critical – board-level buy-in.

Buy-in needs a solid business case. This process usually begins with some level of insight into the current inefficiencies that are costing the business, understanding the market and competition to effectively hold a mirror up and reveal where the gaps are, and also evaluating the opportunity cost of not moving ahead. This usually highlights the potential for new business, increased customer loyalty and average customer spend through better cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Even with a compelling business case, it also largely comes down to taking that leap of faith and giving the product, innovation, operations and marketing departments the autonomy to define the future. Nobody stays ahead of the curve by being like everyone else, so there is always going to be an element of risk, however this is just the classic risk/reward trade-off. From there, visualizing the endpoint and understanding why you need to adapt is key, followed by identifying how this will benefit the customer, their current pains and also the internal team’s challenges in day-to-day operations.

A winning digital strategy

There needs to be the agreement of fostering a culture of experimentation, agility and consistent analysis of customer motivations. It’s at the core of a business strategy and usually aims to do one of two things, but ideally both – save money through internal efficiencies or drive revenue. This then manifests as improved internal operations, better CX, more customer-centric thinking, new products and services with great user experience (UX) and overall digital presence. To be ahead of the curve, the ‘digital strategy’ needs to be a component within the business strategy. It’s only then it’s embraced by the entire C-suite, and the above mindset is layered throughout the business. Only then can the organization enjoy more revenue, efficient internal systems and an ever-improving CX.

Staying ahead of the curve

There is no one-size-fits-all approach as every organization will have different internal and external factors that come into play. However, ultimately it comes down to being pragmatic and open-minded. Not everything will work, but continuous improvement and progression are key – everything should be backed up with a commercially-viable rationale i.e. is this helping drive revenue or save money alongside improving the CX? Having an ever-evolving roadmap with the right scoring on the effort v return on investment probability is a great way to prioritize. However, the main thing is that there is no fixed ‘roadmap,’ as the world moves too fast for that.

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