The Grayling Pulse Autumn 2012 report has found a stunning 22% of global companies on average don’t have a digital strategy. In Europe and North America, about 78% of organisations have a strategy, but in the Asia Pacific region only about 62% have a strategy.
Australia in isolation is not reported on but within the context of this global report, considering digital is in everyone’s life, it is a shocking business statistic.
The issue isn’t so much “no” digital strategy. The issue is that the “digital strategy” tends to be a maligned set of digital marketing tactics that sit with the wrong people in the wrong part of the organisation.
The standard marketing response is to throw comments about, such as, “digital, social media …it’s just another channel” as they rush about setting up Facebook and Twitter, chuck out a few banner ads linked to a micro-site and woo hoo, we have our digital strategy.
None of this cuts mustard; it is lazy and ill-informed. Organisations and their brands must fully wake up to the digital transition in a more strategic and analytic way. The digital channel has caused so much corporate disruption because the power has shifted to the individual from the corporation. No individual is going to hand it back.
This means digital strategy is about running a social business that has digital capabilities, not a set of disparate marketing tactics. It is essential unless a brand wants to give more of their dollars away trying to entice the advertising-averse consumer.
A digital strategy has to have component parts, all which integrate and work in harmony within the business strategy and structure. All this has to be done before we get to channel plans and marketing. The social aspect of the digital economy has shone a spotlight on the inside of every aspect of business and the “siloed” organisation in structure and implementation is obsolete.
A digital strategy requires a social business mindset and willingness to embrace digital transformation across the business. This means digital marketing becomes a component part of the strategy, but is not the whole.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.