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07/12/2011 Use Your Digital Strategy to Differentiate


If you’re in business of any kind, you have some idea of who your competition is. Whether you’re overly conscious of it or not, what you do in your business and marketing helps people choose you over someone else. Your marketing needs to show how you’re different, better or more appropriate to someone making a choice. The same applies to your digital strategy.

Rather than simply doing what everyone else does, how are you using your digital channels to differentiate who and what you are? 

Sneakers

For many, a digital strategy means deciding to have a blog, or putting up a Facebook page with the goal of gaining X number of followers. Most of the time, companies’ and organizations’ strategies comes down to copying: If some else has one, we better have one too so we don’t look bad.

So up goes the blog with an editorial calendar, and up goes the Facebook page with the goal of aggregating as many people as possible.

But if everyone else is doing this, how does this differentiate you? Answer: It doesn’t.

One of the problems we see in the digital space is too much focus on channels and aggregate numbers and too little focus on the customer, the person on the other side of that screen. That’s too bad, because there are huge opportunities for businesses that can shift their focus and strategy there.

Try this example: When was the last time you or a friend of yours spontaneously started talking about a blog post from a company you do business with? When was the last time you started a conversation at a party about the Facebook contest you entered at one of the brand pages you followed?

If you’re like most people, the answer is never.

On the other hand, you know when your digital strategy is working when people publicly praise the personal service they received on Twitter, or when they marvel at how you gave them critical information on Facebook they couldn’t have received elsewhere, or when they brag about how your mobile app or site helped them shop for a better product or deal.

Things like this don’t happen overnight. They’re a result of strategy decisions that focus on providing great service to customers through digital channels and tools. They take work. They require that parts of your real business integrate digitally. It’s harder than creating a corporate blog with an editorial calendar. 

In the end, though, this is what differentiates you from your competition. Your digital strategy should be less about the where and less about the aggregate numbers and more about enabling your business through digital and social channels. It should focus on your customers and not your internal process.

If you can’t do that, the question for your business is: why bother?

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