Getting Digital Right Impacts Business Performance

Starting with gaining a company-wide understanding of how the entire business benefits from digital.

Last year, a McKinsey report outlined how digital transformation drives business value by enhancing connectivity, automating manual tasks, helping improve decision making, and supporting product / service innovation.

The increased involvement of C-level executives# in both supporting and sponsoring digital business initiatives underscores the importance of getting it right to corporate performance.

Having a digital vision and executive sponsorship are a good starting point;  organizational alignment, followed closely by business processes and actual implementation are critical to making it work.

With more than 1,000 selections just for marketing — HR has its share, and so do Finance, Legal, etc.# — technology choices can be daunting, yet not as vital to business success as the willingness and the ability to make coherent choices and coordinate all actions in support.

Digital transformation is important when it answers two key questions#, says Greg Verdino: How will digital allow us to

  1. create more value for our customers?
  2. capture more value for our company?

In other words, do enhanced connectivity, the automation of manual tasks, the ability to improve decision making and product / service innovation contribute to making the lives of your customers better? Do they help the business become more efficient and more effective at uncovering opportunity and creating advantage?

Efficiency and optimization need to drive value both for customers, users, audiences, and for the organizations that offer them to work sustainably.

The choices are not always obvious, nor easy to make, especially in an environment that is constantly changing at accelerated speed.

Where marketing, technology, and media meet

Or perhaps I should say clash. This is the path to getting and keeping attention. Media companies are not the only ones facing competition from the social network as it increasingly controls how millions of people get and read their news#.


Facebook is also the main source of referral traffic for marketers and site owners. Collectively, the 8 largest sources of social referrals drove 29.49% of overall traffic sites received last month compared to 16.44% during the same time last year.

In Q3, Facebook drove 4x more traffic than Pinterest, says Shareaholic in the most recent edition of its 2014 social trends report#. (Sources data comes from a network of opt-in websites that utilize its content marketing and publishing tools.)

The social network's share of traffic has exploded in the last year due to creating a two-fold situation: 1) to businesses, Facebook is a gold mine of audience data and content distribution; 2) to users, it is a highly personalized window into the things/topics/news they care about.

Both/and — customers and business, audiences/readers and media companies, organic and paid.

Audiences as organizing principle

The nature of social networks has changed a great deal since the very first brands and businesses ventured on them and reaped the benefits of trying new things, paying in people's time, dedication, and consistency where now businesses often need to add promotion as well.

It was the same with early webs sites — the same conversations about why businesses should be online at first, then finding a way to develop a presence that created value both for the company and its prospective customers, then the ongoing efforts to make sites work harder on behalf of the business.

Whether they are seeking to get the word out on a new product or gain brand awareness to earn preference, brands cannot ignore the power of social referrals anymore.

In fact, beyond pure on page optimization and structural fixes to align a site content and organization with the expectations created in search, even much of SEO now consists of leveraging social networks for distribution and mentions on blogs/publishers' sites for domain authority development.

It is a complex web we produce experiences for, and while much of what happens beyond our domains is outside our direct control we can influence it by creating coherent experiences through coordinated action.

This means orchestrating the sum of all branded actions and offers to deliver experiences and value that are greater than their parts whether on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat of whatever the network, so that the business and brand itself is the preference and destination and not the one specific network where it happens to be posting.

For example, blogs continue to be an underutilized tool to connect content and commerce.

What is the greatest experience of all?

That of making someone's lives easier, of helping people become better at something, or to have richer experiences. To deliver something meaningful, businesses need to both learn more about their audiences, and do more of the things they believe in to attract the audiences they intend to serve.

Both/and — existing and new audiences; the direct and indirect benefits of helping current customers and attracting potential new ones. 

PS: if you buy into the convergence thing on your own blog, I strongly recommend using WordPress — 23% of the Web# — and seriously addressing mobile from search to experiences.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.