Are you a digital leader or a follower? Staying current with the trends is all well and good, but do you constantly want to be three steps behind industry leaders? The front of the pack creating those trends is where you want to be!
In 2017 we saw digital leadership from organisations like Mon Purse, TinyMe and HiSmikle. But who is going to step up to the challenge in 2019? Digital leadership is defined as the strategic use of a company’s digital assets to achieve business goals. You don’t need to be a multi-million dollar company or be listed on the stock exchange in order to be a digital innovator, you just see the opportunities for leadership and grab them by the….furthermore.
Digital leaders look at the technology we have today and see how it can be improved to better support the future of their business. It takes more than one innovative mind to set a business running, you need a whole team of well-oiled go-getters who won’t merely settle for what works for now, that instead wants to look at what will rocket them into the future.
Today you will learn what it takes to be a digital leader in 2019:
- ‘Humanising’ customer care
- Disruptive Innovation
- Stretching the Capabilities of Tech
- Devising a Plan for Innovation
Customer Care is Crucial
It’s been proven that digital-centric businesses have the lowest rates of customer approval, but this is something that a digital leader can change. Our dissatisfaction with online businesses often results from the fact we don’t feel like we are talking to real people. Your queries are answered by an automated robot, the checkout process is entirely human-free and when there’s no physical store you can feel quite distanced from the brand. But digital doesn’t need to be impersonal, and automation doesn’t need to be unfriendly. A digital leader is one that understands that despite technology and automation customers still crave personality and interactions with real people. Injecting personality into your digital brand should be a central focus of your team in 2019 and the best way to do this is? You guessed it! Good ol social media!
There’s moving with the trends and there’s taking the path less travelled. No doubt the trends are going in the right direction but real digital leadership needs someone who is willing to leave the pack behind to pursue alternative paths. A digital leader is someone who can stand up and say ‘This is working the way it is, but we can do better’, to fix something before it’s even broken. A disruptive brand understands consumer trends before they become trends and looks for the opportunities that aren’t even on their competitor’s radar. Disruptive innovation is all about thinking outside the box and exploring alternative markets, features or strategies for your business.
Example: When Netflix was first starting up instead of going after rival Block Buster’s audience they saw an opening to appeal to movie buffs who weren’t necessarily interested in new releases, but just wanted somewhere they could binge watch their favourite shows. Netflix offered a service that instead of paying per movie or show you paid a set monthly fee and could watch as much as your heart desired. While other businesses suffered from the rise of illegal streaming, Netflix saw an opportunity where their competitors only saw a problem.
Stretching the Capabilities of Tech
We all know how great tech is for your business, but are you using it to its full extent? A digital leader doesn’t merely look at what tech CAN do, they consider what tech COULD do. Tech should not merely support your organisation, it should enhance it. A digital leader will build their digital resource to support the customer journey at every stage, from acquiring new customers all the way to making the sale and so forth.
Example: Over the last couple years Dominos Pizza has been revolutionising the way we buy pizza using live order tracking, delivery GPS tracking, building your own pizza with Pizza Mogul and even being able to order a pizza by sending an emoji. Some may consider these options to be gimmicky and all for show. Yes, Domino’s didn’t need these options, but they do make the experience all that more interesting for the buyer and that’s what digital leadership is about.
A Plan for Innovation
Every business should have a plan. A plan for investment, for strategy, and for growth. But one people often forget about is a plan for innovation. A plan for innovation is a cleverly devised strategy for how your business will grow into the future of technology and business without being overcome or outdated by time.
[Tweet “A digital leader is a person that prepares for change before change threatens to encompass them.”]
Innovation shouldn’t be reserved for start-ups and entrepreneurs, it should be a driving force behind every stage of your business process. As we have saw a couple years ago with children’s retailer Pumpkin Patch who have had to close 27 stores nationwide businesses that fail to plan (lead with digital) really do plan to fail.
An innovation plan could include the following:
- A scheme to constantly up-skill employees overtime to improve employee retention and job satisfaction
- A predictive analysis of your business market and the technology that could be available to you in 20 years from now
- The allocation of funding and resources into emerging technology
Are you a digital leader? Or more importantly, do you have a team of digital leaders? If not maybe it’s time to stop following in the footsteps and start taking strides in your own direction.
Problem-solvers make great team members, but opportunists will be better in the long run. In 2019 MI Academy is opening up the Digital Sophomore Program to 21 new businesses. We will work with you/your team to ensure you are experts in the 7 key areas of marketing competency.