Saturday 10 December 2016

Bridging the Digital Divide



Credit: FreeFoto.com

Digital is revolutionising the way we do almost everything in life these days, so it’s no surprise that it’s having such a huge impact on the way we do business – and it’s not just the way we operate – it’s how we engage at each and every interaction long the way. Business as we once knew it has changed irrevocably since the advent of web 2.0, and there’s no going back.

Organisations need to evolve and adapt with this change, and start integrating digital into every aspect of the business. It all starts with recognising how each department can leverage the shift towards digital to its best ability; and encouraging ongoing involvement and integration.

For example…

Marketing - The current split between “traditional” and digital marketing is disappearing, and soon businesses will no longer think of online and offline marketing channels as separate. Marketers are integrating promotional offers via the website and in store, and breaking away from traditional paid media towards online advertising via communities, networks, forums and blogs.

Sales – The internet has revolutionised the shopping experience, providing the ability to purchase at any time, from any location; and the ability to perform detailed comparisons in-store while searching an increasing number of ratings and reviews online. Sales staff are mimicking this behaviour, keeping the conversation going online by encouraging picture uploads of proud purchases accompanied by brief reviews in exchange for merchandise, and posting regular updates on what is happening at ground level.

Customer service – The rise of social media is playing an important part in the evolution of customer service; and companies now have entire teams listening and responding to customers in real-time, when and where the conversation is occurring. Virtual help desks are rising in popularity, and organisations are using their target audience’s medium of choice, including Skype, Facebook and Twitter. By creating an online destination for these conversations to take place, organisations are creating new brand ambassadors, who are providing third party expertise and offering feedback for future strategy and innovation.

Human Resources – Social media is also playing a key role in the recruitment process. Websites such as LinkedIn are becoming increasingly popular for job placement, and the expectation is that officers will be using new media to source new recruits. Applicants are expected to be involved online, and selection criteria often includes a digital footprint analysis.

PR and Communications – Organisations look to PR and communications to establish key influencers and develop the messaging required to reach these groups in a relevant and timely manner. As a result, content management, conversation monitoring and crisis management have slowly crept online, adapting with changing media consumption and generation habits.

Businesses need to adopt a synergistic approach to digital, instead of working across silos. The possibilities are endless, and if we want to truly unleash and leverage digital’s awesome power, we need to break down barriers, and enable employees and representatives to act as advocates for our brands at every opportunity.

How have you successfully integrated digital in your business? What progress has this allowed you to make? We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…

Catherine Miller