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What is a digital strategy?
The digital strategy is defined as a company's strategic plan that focuses on the application of digital technologies. It's part of the overall business strategy. The aim is to increase the company's success through the use of digital technologies and to develop new business opportunities.
As a company, it is not enough to simply acquire new digital technologies and thus react to digitization. An integration of all existing digital technologies should be structured and planned using a digital strategy. This can be used to develop a long-term plan and ensure that the company remains competitive. Digital technologies should be aligned with business goals and support success and can be used in different areas of the company, such as marketing or sales.
In order to develop a digital strategy, certain points should be considered. The digital strategy will therefore become more and more important in the future, as most companies integrate digital technologies into their business models. These are listed in more detail below, along with the goals and benefits of a digital strategy.
Goals and benefits of a digital strategy
Developing a digital strategy initially requires courage and perseverance, as digital technologies are constantly being developed. Employees in management positions in the individual corporate divisions should continuously monitor developments and assess whether the deployment would make sense. The digital strategy is then a common solution for all areas of the company to use digital technologies adequately and at the same time to consider the individual stakeholder interests.
Companies with a digital strategy ensure that they remain competitive and that business models are adapted to the dynamic market conditions and changing customer needs. The digital strategy is an essential part of the successful digital transformation of modern companies. On the marketing side, it also focuses on customer loyalty and the acquisition of new customers with the help of digital technologies. Companies can enter into customer dialogue more easily and respond specifically to needs.
A digital strategy should address the following areas in the company and work out how digital technologies can be used effectively:
Organization of internal processes
Communication with customers, measures for customer loyalty
Digital expansion of existing products
Focus on new, digital business ideas
Develop a digital vision
Working out a digital strategy does not work ad hoc. Companies should force the necessary considerations and steps in order to work out a digital strategy and establish it in the long term. The mere acquisition of new technologies does not result in a successful digital strategy. It is much more important as a company to define a clear vision for the next few years. This provides orientation in the change phase and supports employees in making decisions.
In order to develop the digital vision, certain key questions should be dealt with and concrete milestones should be set:
What makes the company unique? What is the company's unique selling proposition?
What is the core competence?
Which digital technologies can underline this?
What are potentials that can be used and developed?
What are the possible obstacles ? How can they be eliminated?
Anchoring digitization in investment policy and adapting the working environment
Change processes, especially with regard to new digital technologies, cost money. Companies should therefore consider budget increases for new digital technologies in their investment planning. It may also be that the budget has to be restructured in favor of the digital strategy.
Restructuring in terms of working methods and communication within a company can be carried out using digital technologies. Cloud solutions support this without the technical infrastructure having to be completely set up. Since work processes are also becoming more and more mobile and teams can work virtually, companies should enable
In addition to technical innovations, it is important to establish a culture of innovation and continuously train employees so that the implementation of a digital strategy can be made possible. The digital world of work is fast moving and new qualifications are constantly required. Companies should offer further training in various digital areas. In the best case, the newly acquired knowledge is applied and deepened directly in concrete, practical projects.
In order to establish a high willingness to change in the company and among employees, the need for change for the future of the company should be communicated and emphasized. This promotes employee acceptance and commitment.
Define a clear strategic orientation
After a digital vision is developed, the digital strategy serves as an accurate plan of how goals can be achieved. Digital technologies are an integral part of this. For a more sophisticated organization, it makes sense to define also medium-term strategic roadmap.
Intermediate steps and stages are specified on this in order to achieve the set goal in the long term. It is important that all employees are involved from the start and that it becomes clear what the shared vision and digital strategy is. The future changes should be understandable and comprehensible where the company ensures with clear communication that employees pursue the strategy ambitiously and can achieve the goals together.
The following questions are helpful for strategic orientation:
Will sales be generated with the same product / service in the future?
Does the business model have to be adjusted? How can it be changed?
Do the employees fit the strategy? How does dynamism come into the company?
How do the IT and the infrastructure have to be adapted? What does the company have to invest in?
Target group analysis and choice of platform
When developing a digital strategy, it is important to think about the target audience and consider where and how long they will be online. Most people do not spend their online time on countless different platforms, but only use a few points of contact, especially on social media. By recognizing the pattern of the target group, the company can be present where the target group is most. A focus on the target group increases the range and impact in the long term. An analysis of online user behavior within the target group can also be helpful in aligning the digital strategy with the corresponding target group.
Online users can be roughly divided into four groups: Leader, Observer, Connector or Functional. The approach should be designed differently depending on the type.
Leaders are very active online, especially on social media, and have great digital influence.
Functionals are the opposite of that: They don't show a lot of commitment online and their influence is also low.
Connector & Observer
The two mixed groups Connector and Observer have the characteristics of leaders and functional and tend to go in one or the other direction.
In addition to segmenting the target group based on user behavior, it can help to find out which devices are being used when and how. In this way, companies know how to use certain channels in order to optimally reach the target group.
Generate high quality content and use brand ambassadors
Once the company has decided how and where to address the target audience, decisions need to be made about what content to use. All types of information and communication should be relevant. Companies achieve this by delivering content that the target audience is looking for. The customer journey should be considered depending on the product or service and communication should be placed and designed accordingly.
Before the content is prepared, the motives of the target group should be anchored in the digital strategy in order to optimally reach the target group digitally. The motives can be very different. Sometimes online users are only looking for short answers to certain questions, while others want to educate themselves, discover cheap offers or exclusive products. Companies must recognize the needs of the target group and respond to them in terms of content at various online touchpoints.
In order to reach as large a part of the target group as possible with special content, companies can also focus on digital brand ambassadors and define this in their digital strategy. Brand ambassadors are very active on social media, sharing, liking and commenting on content. They recommend content or the brand itself. In order to attract these people to the company even more, content that is specifically relevant for this group of people can be distributed so that they can spread it further.
Companies that want to continue to be successful in the future should take the time to work out a digital strategy. The central question could be: "How can the company improve certain working conditions with the help of information and technologies so that certain processes can be automated or the performance of employees increases, thereby increasing the company's success?" This creates a guide on how digital technologies can be used.
In the best case, a digital strategy ensures through clear orientation to increase business success in the long term and to survive in times of digital disruptions. In this way, the companies that make the digital transformation will be successful for themselves instead of just looking at them from the outside.
If you need help with your Digital Strategy, learn more here.