In the last 3 Sheep Executive Digital Briefing we highlighted how around around 14% of UK businesses are still not using digital technologies, according to the Martha Lane Fox chaired Digital Charity, Go ON UK. This lack of engagement is consequently losing the UK economy about £63 billion in revenue. The big issue is that this problem could be about to get worse.
The UK Government has focused it’s efforts on getting companies online and using Internet services. The challenge for that 14% of businesses and the many more that have not evolved their Internet presence, is that the Digital Economy is moving on at such a pace that catching up is only going to get harder.
A few years ago a business wanting to get involved in the Digital Economy only really needed to be concerned with 2 things:
1. Their Website.
2. Email contact.
That was pretty much it.
The world has changed. Now a business wanting to use Digital seriously must think about the following:
1. Their Website.
2. Email contact.
3. Their Blog.
4. Social Media and Networking.
5. Digital Video.
6. Apps on mobile and tablets.
7. Internet connected TV.
8. The Internet of Things (this is where everything is in some way connected to the Internet e.g. health monitors, cars, fridges etc.).
9. and more..
Add to the growing list the complexities managing a marketing strategy where increasingly interactions take place in real-time and on a global scale. The Digital Economy has implications for marketing budgets, human resources, workplace security and reputation management etc.
So if you are not online then do not delay, because it is only going to get harder. And if you are online but do not have a strategy in place, then get one. To get the most from Digital it is vital to have an effective plan!
A huge challenge I frequently come across is that for many businesses (both large and small), their digital presence is unplanned and out of control. Their website may have had a bit of a design budget but it will often lack a true sense of purpose. There may have been a half heartened attempt at Digital Video Marketing a few years ago but that has become a barely used YouTube or Vimeo Channel. The organisation’s Social Media will often be in a worse state. There will be a multitude of accounts, some official, many not, with no clear sense of control. If a team member leaves then often the login details are gone with them. So suddenly a company’s Twitter or Facebook account becomes inaccessible.
I have seen businesses go bust because they lost control of their Digital Infrastructure.
So what can you do?
You can start today:
1. Audit what you have; send out a company wide email memo asking everyone to declare what Social Media they are using in the companies name.
Assess the returns. Anything that has become business critical, ensure your business has control of the username and password.
Make sure that you understand the implications of which 3rd party service agreements you are using. For example, fairly liberal image rights are assigned to the hosting company of image sharing sites. Don’t forget to reviews these regularly, because the T&Cs do change frequently, as the fans of Instagram found out last year.
2. Decide what is business critical and understand the risks. Many businesses have come to rely on Twitter for quick broadcasts for example. But who has control of your company’s Twitter account? What happens if they leave suddenly?
Also do not forget about your website, who owns the Domain name, where it is hosted, what happens if it fails? Whatever isn’t critical should be classed as experimental and treated as such, making sure that its failings cannot contaminate more mainstream activities.
3. Create a Digital Business and Marketing Strategy. This should be an Executive Level document. The Digital Business and Marketing Strategy should look at how your business is going to use Digital and in which areas.
For example you may adopt an Instant Message service such as Apple’s iMessage, or Whatsapp or Blackberry’s BBM for internal messages or you may decide to record Internal Training sessions in Digital Video and put them on the business’ intranet for future access. Or you may decide to use Digital Video to market and connect with your end customers in new ways.
The key element here is to be in control of your Digital Assets. Whether you just have a Facebook Page or a simple website, through to running multi-channel campaigns through apps, TV and the Internet, it is vital that you understand the tools at your disposal, from a business perspective.
For those businesses that want to develop their strategy further, then 3 Sheep runs an Executive Digital Strategy Workshop that runs over either a half or full day, dependent on requirements. The Workshops are exclusive to the attending business and entirely confidential so that there is freedom to build an effective strategy. They can be on your site or at locations in London or Manchester. Enquire.