There has been a long-standing debate about whether there is such a thing as a digital strategy. Some claim that there clearly is, and some claim that there really is no way to create a digital strategy, it’s simply the world that has become very digital. Either way, it seems that an organization’s strategy must also have a digital implementation. While most companies have a growth strategy for the coming years – it is not certain that their digital work aligns with the super strategy, and it is not certain to what extent there is a compass that guides the action plan.
Emphasizing immediate needs comes at the expense of longer-term planning and strategy. Although speed is important – and we saw during the Corona the importance of responding to changing conditions and customer behavior – the fastest response can never advance the organization over time.
plug holes or build a building
When you look at the annual plan of organizations regarding the digital worlds, many times it is evident that they did not really look ahead enough, and certainly did not think enough about the customers and what they would like to receive from the organization or the brand. In every annual plan there are digital projects, some of which are an improvement of the existing one, and some of which are the development of new operations and assets. The question is whether all the projects fall into some sort of single filter that defines which project is correct and should be carried out, and which one is better to give up. When we sit down to create a digital strategy, we are actually looking at which projects will help us differentiate ourselves from our competitors and even give us a relative advantage.
You can continue to fix the existing and meet the internal needs of the organization that someone asked for, but you can also think in more innovative ways. An organization that wants to be a leader in its field must innovate, and to be innovative – one must first try.
The strategy plan should start from the digital vision, from there to differentiation, to new initiatives and the required resources. A building has to be built from the foundations, and if we don’t do it methodically – then we’re just trying to plug holes in the bucket.
Drive success in the midst of a storm
The year 2023 brings new business goals and digital initiatives. However, the economic uncertainty cannot be ignored: rising inflation, rising interest rates and a high demand for talent – all of these leave brands in uncertainty. They are not sure what to expect and how to best prepare for the coming year.
Customer loyalty over customer acquisition
Due to increasing financial pressure, many consumers are reevaluating where they spend their money. Consumers are looking for products that offer better value for money, preferably from brands that provide a better user experience. Businesses must pay attention to the needs of customers – keeping them happy creates loyalty, which can support the company precisely in times of convergence.
Brands must ensure that customer experience is their top priority, as many businesses have realized that once-loyal customers will be forced to switch to alternatives, either due to financial constraints or because their needs have changed.
Marketers can try to leverage new approaches to customer loyalty, such as personalization and user-generated content, to keep customers engaged.
As the barriers to entry decrease, the market becomes more competitive and consumers seek a more personal relationship with their preferred brands. Once companies optimize their CX and offer incentives, marketers can build and strengthen their relationships with consumers.
Sustainability is crucial
Consumers are increasingly putting sustainability first, and are becoming more environmentally conscious. In 2023, brands will begin to see consumers switch to other products or services, ones that have raised a conscience. In studies conducted around the world, most consumers state that there is a high chance that they will be loyal to a brand if they share the same values with it; Most consumers, especially the younger ones, refer to sustainability when purchasing products or services.
However, many brands are known to create an unreliable narrative and lead customers to believe that they are more environmentally friendly than they really are. Companies must ensure that their communications are as transparent as possible about sustainability, and that promises are ethical and authentic. Companies that externalize values and lead agendas are innovative companies, therefore the connection between conscience and digital is inseparable.
Patience and creativity have become a rare commodity
It seems that there are many companies that have become more efficient than they were before, but at the cost of time or freedom to be creative and design unforgettable experiences. In both media and customer experience, organizations need enough time to stop chasing their tails and find some focus.
Marketers need to take more care in providing a seamless experience to customers. The term digital fatigue was invented following the corona virus, and due to overuse of digital assets with a failed and troublesome user experience. This year, it looks like there will be a lot of profit challenges, but it would be foolish to cut investment in customer experience because of it. There are many other expenses that have a low ROI than a simple, fun and effective customer experience. Therefore, you should carefully consider from which part of the pie you cut – because an incorrect cut may lead to the transfer of customers to a competitor who continued to invest in the right places.
Yael Kander is the director of BDO Digital