Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Shift to Digital

How do we get there from here?

Boston Consulting Group's 50th anniversary includes a survey on what troubles leaders the most.  (Can't find the source document, just the press release - so using the eMarketer blurb.) And for a 'consumer insights' professional it is good to see "Leveraging Customer Data" and "Digital Channels" in the top five, right behind "Open Innovation" and "Large-scale Transformation" and above "Distinctive Business Models."

There is nothing prescriptive about those items.  In the context of strategy development, they are broad constructs that shape or focus thinking - they are goals, not defined objectives or outcomes - those have to be company specific.

The eMarketer article highlights the challenges by industry and there are some differences.
  • Consumer and Retail companies are most interested in growth in their current markets whereas Industrial firms are looking for new markets.
  • Consumer and Retail firms also rank Leveraging Customer Data the highest.
  • Digital Channels shows a wide swing (Technology is highest, Energy and Environment is very low).   C&R is above average.
So, weaving things together one can start to imagine a program-level plan to "Shift to Digital" for consumer/retail firms that is constrained by competitive activity, lack of customer insights, and a marketing budget that includes both on and off line tactics.  

In my mind, such a plan would have three parallel objectives:
  1. Drive Growth: re-purpose marketing dollars to more productive programs.
  2. Build Brand/Category Leadership: Increase penetration, share of wallet and loyalty among key segments for key categories.
  3. Create Operational Savings: free resources from non-productive or sub-optimized activities (and not just marketing.)
Achieving these objectives based on what we know is hard enough, doing it while we are still learning what we don't know will prove to be interesting to say the least. 

So, this post is going to be the start of a series around the questions that need answers as firms make the shift.  It may even provide some ways to answer them along the way.

Stay tuned....and hope it helps.

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