Digital marketing statistics show which trends companies and organizations cannot miss out on in this day and age. Firms who haven’t gone digital already should all be headed toward one direction: digital transformation. However, too many brands eagerly jump onto the digital marketing bandwagon only to find out midway that they are not adequately prepared for going digital.
For instance, many companies have no digital foundations to build on – not even a website or social media profiles. Without these simple starting blocks in place, the result is usually the quick exhaustion of an entire marketing budget.
This is called the digital trap. The digital trap has many forms, and companies need to recognize them before they escalate minor problems into something more damaging. Below are three questions to answer before undertaking a digital transformation.
1) How effective is your firm in managing energy – its own and that of your staff?
During the first few discussions of your new digital plans, you should notice how high the levels of enthusiasm are amongst your staff. This is the level of energy you need to maintain.
However, for most members of staff, the more they realize the amount of work required to be done and the challenges they will experience along the way, their more their energy levels die down. Digital Transformation takes time, and when days start to stretch into weeks, and weeks into months, your staff may succumb to the mundane reality of the planning stage. The excitement around going digital wears off and only those people whose job is to work on digital projects are left behind.
Going digital is a journey that not all people in your company will continue to feel enthusiastic about. This is because, for them, it is just another round of work. In onboarding your staff to this digital journey, it is crucial to guide and manage their expectations as well as their performance. Both of these factors will have a major impact on the energy level of your staff.
It must be clear to anyone involved in the digital project what their role and responsibilities are, and how their contribution will lead to the company’s success. More importantly, your staff must know that going digital is an ongoing process.
Keep energy high by setting short-term goals and milestones. Celebrate small wins along the way, and you’ll see your staff focussed for much longer.
2) Do your firm and staff have an unceasing sense of “why”?
When the project head or team leader says, “We are going to start digital planning next Monday” asking ‘why?’ is the initial reaction of most people. Why now? Why this? Just ‘why?’. This is in fact, the right question to ask.
The problem is not people asking ‘why?’ in the first place, the problem is how long they keep asking ‘why?’ for. If the reasons behind your digital transformation are explained to your staff clearly and properly, the numbers of ‘whys’ should be minimized over time. Yearning for answers, clarifications, and explanations will never stop altogether, but if they don’t die down after a while then you’re doing something wrong. More questions will always be asked as the digital journey progresses, so always be ready with (good) answers.
This is how a strong digital foundation is built internally – with the people and the processes at the core of the discussion. Your firm should approach the transformation as an ongoing conversation. The ‘whys’ must not be stopped; instead, they should be encouraged because they can pave the way to success, deliverable by deliverable.
The same goes for the completion of each milestone. Whenever you do something major – such as launching your website, optimizing your social pages, revamping use of the intranet etc, there should always be more ‘whys’. You should try and answer them, and use these questions to identify and fix problems. If you handle this process properly, there will be less confused ‘whys’ and more helpful ‘whys’ in the long run.
3) How are you planning on bringing your whole staff with you on this journey?
Your brand is likely going digital to catch up with a gap that your competition has created. Your rivals are working on social media and search engine optimization, and so should you, or you risk getting left behind. The main gap that your firm should mind in the first place is the bottom-line. However, other gaps must be addressed when pursuing digital transformation. Are your staff more excited about this change or are they becoming disengaged? Are your disengaged employees asking more questions than those who feel enthusiastic about the digital journey?
Fatigue can happen whether or not your firm decides to go digital. If your firm ignores the mood of its staff it becomes difficult to reengage them later. If you burn out your employees who are good at execution, you may end up with a room full of ideas but no-one able to make them happen. Minding this skill gap and striking a balance is critical. Don’t go too fast, or expect unrealistic results.
Also, don’t forget those who don’t want to go digital. No firm can be transformation-happy when there are team members who are feeling left behind by the whole process. Digital transformations can be draining – physically, mentally, and socially. People can get anxious too, as their relevance to the company may feel in a risky position once digital is in its full implementation. Bottom-line, you need to know if your people are ready to commit to your vision for your digitally transformed company.
Come up with a plan for those who aren’t – maybe more training, or finding new roles within the company for them as appropriate. Do not ignore your staff who aren’t on board. When going digital, the basic premise is that you need to strategize accordingly. If it means asking (and answering) more ‘why’ questions than strictly necessary to avoid the digital trap, then so be it.