Home Business Insights & Advice Strategic planning: overcoming challenges and realising its potential

Strategic planning: overcoming challenges and realising its potential

9th Oct 19 11:02 am

Technology has the power to revolutionise businesses. It also has the power to scare them. You might be looking to develop a new digital platform or refresh one you already have. You know success will bring brilliant benefits. But there are multiple hurdles to overcome along the way – from budgetary concerns to technical challenges. The potential problems are understandably daunting but take the right approach and the results will more than make up for the initial effort required.

The Great Enabler

We live in an increasingly algorithmic society, one in which technology is acting as an enabler for both brands and consumers. The two groups are being brought closer together, but at the same time consumers are now driving the brand agenda in a way that simply wasn’t the case previously.

Over the last 15 years the rapid development of technology has changed everything. A wide range of fundamental shifts – from decreasing costs to multi-purpose devices – has transformed the way people engage with technology, whether B2B or B2C. Mass adoption, channel choice and the like has left consumers expecting 24/7 access to brands, on their terms.

As consumer expectations have skyrocketed so has the importance of UX. Digital-tech first strategies must start from a UX perspective. If the design is wrong or it’s hard to use, consumers simply won’t engage. Technology that solves the customer journey, utilising UX to ensure it is a frictionless process, is the recipe for success. Tech for tech’s sake is the number one peril to avoid.

Tech isn’t the real challenge here

The real challenge is loyalty. The days when brands could reasonably assume a certain level of customer loyalty are in the main long gone. Maintaining those all-important customer relationships requires a whole new level of effort on the part of brands. Value, relevance, incentives and adaptive services must all form a part of this.

Data is the solution. Truly knowing your consumers. Knowing everything from how frequently they want to hear from you to the level of personalisation they’ll find appealing, rather than intrusive. Only then can you understand, plan, predict and deliver relevant offers and services in the correct channel.

Clear steps to success

It’s natural to fear the complexity of change. But there are clear steps you can take in order to overcome these barriers, whether you’re tackling siloed digital strategies for mobile, legacy infrastructure frustrations or something else entirely. First up, unpack your tech stack, look at each component and see where the airgaps are. Solving them will allow you to remove costs and increase both conversion efficiency yield.

Next map out the journey you want to go on and the roadmap you need to get there. No need to feel overwhelmed at this point, it’s always better to phase transformation and it’s normally possible to start off by adapting existing elements rather than doing anything too drastic too soon. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. You’ll need to establish a 100-day plan, but get the initial transformation underway first, at a pace that works for you.

Speaking of longer-term goals, internal alignment is important. Conflicting KPIs between different departments are your enemy. When you consider how common this is, it’s no wonder sales, marketing and IT teams are often at odds. Everyone needs to align direction.

Prioritising goals

When deciding where to start it’s all too easy to get distracted by the hype. AI? Blockchain? Voice? When it comes to tech there is a lot to be excited about. But before you go too far down the innovation rabbit hole, stop and ask if the tech or platform you’re considering will have UX at its heart. For it to be successful it must be something that consumers can’t live without.

To help make this possible, start by defining your business challenges, then build a business case. Match emerging tech solutions to your requirements, then run pilots to enable a test and learn approach. This is the best way to ensure innovative products reach that all-important mainstream adoption phase as quickly as possible.

Listen to your customers, take a holistic view and ensure you’re using tech to solve real-world problems. Then you can evolve and adapt in the right way, using technology to add value to your business and its customers.

This post has been written by Dominic Murray, Digital Director at Initials a brand development agency in London.

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